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HOWELL, Laurence (1664?–1720)
ONE OF THE FINEST ENGRAVED BOOKS

HOWELL, Laurence (1664?–1720)

The orthodox communicant , by way of meditation on the order for the administration of the Lords-Supper, or Holy Communion; according to the liturgy of the Church of England

London: engraven and sold by J. Sturt in Golden Lion Court in Aldersgate Street, 1721
8vo, pp. iv, [6], v–ix, [1], 82. According to ESTC this is the most common binding order.
Condition: 172 x 102mm, a tall copy (CUL copy 165 x 102mm), 1 leaf pp. 73/4 browned.
Binding: Early nineteenth-century blue-black straight-grained morocco, triple gilt filet and blind roll-tooled borders to sides, gilt and blind tooling on spine, olive endleaves, gilt page edges. Lightly refurbished.
Provenance: No marks of provenance.
First edition, another issue (very rare) has the imprint ‘engraven by J. Sturt & sold by R. Ware at the Bible & Sun on Ludgate Hill, & J. Tinney at the Golden Lion in Fleet Street’ (see ESTC N474481).
Bibliography: ESTC T119687.
£1,200

This was Sturt’s second engraved liturgical book following his better known Book of Common Prayer of 1717. The text is annonymous but generally attributed to Laurence Howell; however it is Sturt who signs the dedication to Lady Henrietta Cavendish.
Sturt was apprenticed at the age of 17 to Robert White and he engraved a number of portrait frontispieces in the manner of his master. He engraved writing books for John Ayres, Thomas Watson, John Seddon and Eleazar Wiggan in the 1680’s and 90’s. Perhaps the prayer book too was intended as a copy-book and the subscribers include 3 writing masters, Robert More, Elias Pen and Ralph Snow.
Interestingly, other graphic artists and members of the printing trades are prominent in the subscribers list, including the letter founder Robert Andrews; the engravers Edward Hill, Andrew Motte and John Senex; the drawing masters Bernard Lens senior; the limners Bernard and Edward Lens; and the printers Benjamin Mott and Richard Nutt, and James Roberts. Among prominent book collectors we find Sir Hans Sloane and Lord Harley, as well as a separate subscription for Lady Harley. And members of Sturt’s family: Nathaniel, Jacob, Anne and Eliza.
Like the prayer book, each leaf, with the exception of the final leaf of subscribers, is made up of two leaves pasted back to back. Each page is printed from two separate plates, a border, which repeats, and an inner plate with an illustration at the top and the text below.
Keywords:     engraved book