"ONE OF THE PRIME SOURCES OF SHAKESPEARE'S HISTORICAL PLAYS": 1809 FOLIO EDITION OF EDWARD HALL'S IMPORTANT 1548 HISTORY OF THE WARS OF THE ROSES
HALL, Edward. Hall's Chronicle; Containing the History of England, During the Reign of Henry the Fourth… to the End of the Reign of Henry the Eighth. London: J. Johnson; F.C. and J. Rivington; T. Payne, et al., 1809. Folio (10 by 12-1/2 inches), contemporary full brown gilt- and blind-ruled calf expertly rebacked with original spine neatly laid down, raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges. $2500.
Fine early 19th-century folio edition of this rare and influential history—originally published in 1548 as "The Union of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancaster & Yorke"—one of the most important sources for Shakespeare's history plays, in addition to containing "the first definite historical account of an English voyage to America" (Rosenbach). Handsomely bound.
Hall's famous chronicle begins with the accession of Henry IV in 1399 and ends with the death of Henry VIII in 1547, detailing the turbulent Wars of the Roses and the rise of the house of Tudor. "An eyewitness account of the court of Henry VIII, fresh, original, and wonderfully vivid… Hall's chronicle was banned in 1555 under Queen Mary and as a consequence became exceedingly rare. Nevertheless, it survived to become a source for Shakespeare in the historical dramas and a model for the later chronicles of Grafton, Holinshed, and Stow" (Kunitz and Haycraft, 244). In his 1938 catalogue, Rosenbach recognized the 1548 edition of Hall's Union as an important and early item of Americana, calling it "the second book printed in English and written by an Englishman referring to America—the first English historical work mentioning a voyage to America" (Rosenbach 19:309). With type-facsimile of 1548 title page. Lowndes, 984.
Only occasional marginal foxing, text clean; minor restoration to corners of contemporary calf. An expertly restored and quite handsome folio volume.