Bookbinding was an artisanal process, and even the most skilfully bound books bear unique variations. This volume, donated to the College by a fellow of Queens’, Thomas Yale, illustrates the binder’s reluctance to waste work and materials after omitting a letter.
Glass was costly in the sixteenth century, but cow horn could be soaked in water, rolled into thin strips until translucent and used in place of glass in windowpanes. Here, a horn window of another kind contains a slip of vellum bearing Yale’s donor inscription, while the gold lettering names its prior owner, Simon Heynes, whose library Yale inherited upon marrying his widow.
[Detail of front binding]
Author: Saint Cyprian
Title: Opera sanctissimi martyris Caecilii Cypriani episcopi [The works of the holy martyr Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage] (Basel, 1525)
Shelfmark: M.9.19 (catalogue record)