(DUGDALE, Sir William)


Published: Coventry :printed in Chiswick by C. Whittingham, College House; for Merridew and Son, Coventry; John Merridew, Warwick; and W. and T. Radclyffe, Birmingham

Date: 1821

Elephant 4to (36cm); (x), (64), 108 pp; Engraved portrait frontis. of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, “drawn and engraved by H. Meyer from an original painting by Garrard in the possession of the Marquis of Salisbury”, and 18 engraved plates (mainly views and seals); half-title, titlepage engraved with the bear and ragged staff motif long associated with Warwickshire; minor dust staining to the lower margin of the frontis, o/w contents very clean and fresh with original mid-brown endpapers; all edges gilt. Spectacularly bound in dark green morocco (by Dawson & Lewis, of Dean Street, Soho) with central armorial crests to the front and back boards surrounded by highly ornate gilt decoration of Tudor-style swags and waves framed by three gilt lines; the inner dentelles on both boards are simply breath-taking, comprising complex patterns of seemingly English floral designs along a strong folkloric theme featuring a Tudor rose in full bloom at each corner; equally ornate gilt spine with ten raised bands arranged in pairs. Despite some very minor chips and signs of sympathetic repairs, this is by any standard a remarkable binding very much in the style of mid-century middle England.

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester (1532–88) was an English nobleman and favourite of Elizabeth I from her first year on the throne until his death. Kenilworth Castle was founded in the early 1120s by Geoffrey de Clinton, Lord Chamberlain and treasurer to Henry I. The castle remained in royal hands until it was ceded to John Dudley in 1553. Dudley came to prominence under Henry VIII and became the leading political figure under Edward VI. Dudley began the process of modernising Kenilworth and before his execution in 1553 by Queen Mary for attempting to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne, Dudley had built the new stable block and widened the tiltyard to its current form. Kenilworth was restored to Dudley's son, Robert, Earl of Leicester, in 1563, four years after the succession of Elizabeth I. Leicester's lands in Warwickshire, reflective of his power and wealth in the county, depended ultimately on his remaining close to the queen.


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