John Gauden, Eikōn Basilikē: The Pourtraiture of His Sacred Maiesty in His Solitudes and Sufferings (1649)


Charles I was long since executed and his son Charles II dead of apoplexy when Anna Vyvyan signed a copy of the popular Eikon Basilike, with its iconic frontispiece of  a Christlike Charles I kneeling, looking toward the heavens, and gripping a crown of thorns. In fact, Queen Anne was probably already on the throne by the time Vyvyan wrote “Anna Vyvyan her Book 170[…?] & Hand & Pen” on one of the flyleaves. Vyvyan’s ownership of the book could be related to her family background; she was probably a member of the Royalist Vyvyan family of Trelowarren in Cornwall. The Vyvyans were such staunch supporters of the King that they were given a replica of the Anthony van Dyck portrait of Charles I on horseback, which still hangs in the family estate [1].


[1] Coate, M. “The Vyvyan Family of Trelowarren.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 32 (1950): 117. doi:10.2307/3678480.

Source: Book offered for sale by Rootenberg Rare Books, 5/31/19. Images used with permission.

Thomas Fuller, The Historie of the Holy Warre (1640)

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 12.30.13 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-30 at 12.30.23 PM

The History of the Holy War was, as the name suggests, a history of the crusades. Thomas Fuller, the author, was a historian and preacher, who became famous for authoring a number of works of history. Mary Stead was given this book, perhaps when she was young as appeared to have used the front page to practice her writing.

Source: Book sold on eBay by Wisdom Pedlars, 3/11/18. Reproduced with permission.


John Foxe, Book of Martyrs (1641)

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 12.27.59 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-30 at 12.25.25 PM

The famous Book of Martyrs by John Foxe was first published in 1563 and expanded multiple times, including after his death in 1632 and again 1641, of which this is the third volume. As is clear from the title page, there were multiple owners, making it difficult to establish when the female signature was inscribed. The handwriting could be seventeenth- or eighteenth-century. and the last name features such elaborate calligraphy that it is difficult to read. The conventional phrase “Her Book,” however is abundantly clear.

Source: Book sold on eBay by Wisdom Pedlars, @wisdompedlars, 3/25/18. Reproduced with permission.