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Caxton: his device

04/11/2012

There’s an interesting radio talk about Caxton broadcast by the BBC’s Radio 4 and hosted by Melvyn Bragg if you follow this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nbqz3

But before you do that a note on his device, shown below. I’d not paid it much attention before but after the broadcast I turned to a booklet about an exhibition presented at the British Library in 1977 (‘…to commemorate the Quincentenary of the introduction of printing into England’) to read that this early type of logo contains the numerals 47 or 74 placed within Caxton’s initials (WC). The significance of the dates are: 1447 Caxton gained the Freedom of the Mercers’ Company; 1474 Caxton published his first book in Flanders. The style of the woodblock, the entry continues, demonstrates that it was probably cut by a Gouda woodcutter ‘who supplied Caxton, Gerard Leeu and other printers with woodcut initials’.

 

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