AA with Vase and Birds



VOL. VIII. Third Series.   OCTOBER, 1910.   NO. 32.



N the last issue of BACONIANA I stated that the earliest date at which I had been able to find the A A device used as a headpiece was in 1563, when it appeared over the dedication, Ioanni Soto Philippi Regis in "De Furtivis Literatum Notis Vulgo. De Ziferis." Ioan Baptista Porta Neapolitano Authore. Cum Privilegio Neapoli, Apud Ioa Mariam Scotum. [Above]
    When my books were being examined for that article by an expert wood engraver he insisted that the block there used in Naples in 1563 was the same as that printed from in London, in the appendix to Digge's "Stratioticos" in 1590, only it was newly engraved when used in London and had been much worn before being used in Naples. Obviously this was impossible, and apparently this was another instance of the unreliability of expert evidence.
    On the 11th of August I received a book catalogue in which the 1563 edition of "De Ziferis" was offered at 10s. 6d., and as it was a low price I sent for it. On comparing it with the copy I previously had it differed in type, illustrative designs, head and tail pieces, initial letters; in fact, in every detail, although on the titlepage the type had in one been chosen to represent that of the other. The same words appeared on each page, but in the first copy there was a key-word at the bottom of each page which was absent in the later one. Here was a remarkable position:-- Ioa. Maria Scotus had, in Naples in 1563, printed two editions of Baptista Porta's work on cyphers. For the illustration of each he had separate blocks printed; this meant that about fifty blocks relating only to the subject-matter of the book had been duplicated. What could be the explanation?

      There was another difference. The volume last purchased had a list of 14 errata, and underneath the sentence "Auctoritate, Licentia R. D. Aloysii Campagnae Episcopi Montis Pelusii ac Neapolitane Diocesis Vicarii."
    In what proved to be the false-dated copy these fourteen mistakes had all been corrected, but another list of errata is printed in it containing 86 errors, of which 70 appear to have been unnoticed in the true Naples edition.
    The initial blocks and tail pieces in the copy containing the A A headpiece seemed familiar to me, and after a careful search I found every one of them in books printed by Adam Islip after 1590. In fact, they may all be seen in the edition of Chaucer's works, 1598, and the translation by Loys le Roy, called Regius of "Aristotle's Politiques," published in the same year. It was evident, therefore, that on the title-page of the volume containing the A A design the date, the place of publication and the name of the publisher were incorrectly stated. The only explanation appeared to be that it was an English reprint, but that the fact that it was a reprint was not stated.
    The book had been re-published in 1591 by John Wolph in London, and I had the good fortune to secure a copy from the first bookseller to whom I applied.* {*footnote: The 1563 false-dated copy is annotated throughout in Francis Bacon's handwriting. As was his invariable custom he went through the errata, altered each one, and as he did so ticked off the schedule. When I opened the 1591 copy I was surprised to find there also Bacon's handwriting. Pages 221 to 224 have been misplaced, and at the bottom of page 220 is a note. "Vide sequentia in initio Libri post folium tertium." On the title-page, in feminine Italian band, are the initials C. K. and the signature C. Killigrew. This is the signature of Lady Killigrew, who was Catherine Cooke, the sister of Lady Anne Bacon, and therefore Francis Bacon's aunt. She married Sir Henry Killigrew for her first husband and after his death she became the wife of Sir Henry Nevill.}
      On comparison it appeared that the 1591 edition and the 1563 false-dated edition had been printed from the same type and blocks. There is only one difference. The 1591 edition contains a dedication headed "Illustri et Excelso viro Henrico Perceio Comiti Northumbriae, &c. Domini meo Colendissimo." This is on the page bearing the printer's signature, [dagger]2, and the following page. In the false-dated 1563 copy, for this is substituted the dedication which is identical with that in the other volume bearing date 1563, headed "Excellenti Viro Ioanni Soto Philippi Regis In hoc Regno A'Secretis Ioa. Maria Scotus." It is over this dedication that the A A headpiece appears.
    A further comparison establishes the fact beyond doubt that the 1591 dated edition was printed off before the false-dated 1563 edition.
    Here are the facts. In 1591 John Wolf re-published Baptista Porta's work on cyphers, published by Ioa Maria Scotus in Naples in 1563, but according to Spedding not en vente until 1568. This reprint was dedicated to Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. After the edition had been printed off, the title-page was altered to correspond with the 1563 publication, the dedication was taken out and a copy of the original dedication was substituted, and over this was placed the A A headpiece. Then an edition was struck off which until to-day has been sold and re-sold as the first edition of Baptista Porta's work. Who did this and why was it done?