U is for…


Title page of The psalter or psalms of David, after the translation of the great Bible, pointed as they are to be sung or said in churches (1692)


Cataloguing in the 21st century, with access to digital catalogues and images worldwide, allows us to search for and compare minute differences in variants, issues and editions. The original tally of 50 unique items in the Bolton Library has long been surpassed, and with c.5000 items still awaiting attention, the count is now just shy of 120 unique printed items. This figure does not include the manuscript material present in the collection, which is inherently unique.


Unlucky Cat

Image of the ‘unlucky cat’ from Quæstiones quatuor voluminum scripti Oxoniensis super sententias (1580)


In a collection which spans two millennia, the devices or marks selected and designed by members of the book trade across the centuries, to protect against forgery and piracy, are myriad indeed. We encountered the big cats of Paris in our blog, and today we meet their rather bedraggled cousin in Venice, the ‘unlucky cat’ of the house of Sessa, one of c.40 variations on a device used by the family over four generations, and possibly chosen as a symbol of watchfulness and keenness.