1631 FIRST EDITION OF THE MOST POPULAR WOMEN'S COURTESY BOOK OF ITS TIME
BRATHWAITE, Richard. The English Gentlewoman, Drawne out to the Full Body: Expressing, What Habilliments doe Best Attire Her, What Ornaments doe Best Adorne Her, What Complements doe Best Accomplish Her. London: by B[ernard] Alsop and T[homas] Fawcett for Michael Sparke, 1631. Small quarto, early 20th-century full brown calf rebacked in calf-gilt, red morocco spine label, raised bands. $2800.
First edition, second issue, with the appendix present and mentioned in the table of contents, of the most popular women's courtesy book of its time, with the engraved title page by William Marshall illustrating the characteristics of the English Gentlewoman in ten compartments.
This companion work to Brathwaite's English Gentleman of 1630 discusses the appropriate education, vocation, recreation, acquaintance, and habits of a true gentlewoman. The 'courtesy book,' or book of manners, derived in no small part from Baldassarre Castiglione's Il Cortegiano (The Courtier) of 1528. The Courtier "had a great impact on the development of English drama and comedy, and in the 17th century two famous books on the gentleman appeared, that by Peacham intended for the Cavaliers and that by Brathwaite intended for the Puritans" (Printing and the Mind of Man 59). Without the rare folding leaf "Meaning of the Frontispice"; without last two leaves of the Appendix. Church 193. Grolier, Wither to Prior 68. STC 3565.5. Pforzheimer 78 (another issue). Lowndes, 258. Early owner ink signatures on title page, one dated 1666; early owner ink annotation on verso of frontispiece.
Frontispiece with two marginal paper repairs, one affecting maybe a quarter-inch of the upper edge of image. Occasional faint dampstain to lower edge of text. b A very good copy.