Morgan Library & Museum, New York, MA 1034

Six leaves of wove writing paper, folded from three separate pieces of paper to form three bifolia of four pages each. Written throughout in a black-brown iron-gall ink. The manuscript has not been paginated and the following pagination is inferred. The first bifolium (pages 1-4, leaf size 135-6 x 199 mm.) is landscape format, the second and third (pages 5-8, leaf size 190-6 x 121-4 mm. & 9-12, leaf size 190-3 x 121-2 mm.) are portrait. Pages 5-8 and 9-12 are now hinged with Japanese paper onto two backing sheets (258 x 212 mm.) by the Morgan Library and kept within a folder with other similarly hinged items and the unmounted pages 1-4.

The paper derives from a single stock of warm cream handmade wove paper formed on a double-faced mould and consists of three pieces of approximately a quarter sheet each. Each piece contains all (pages 1-4) or part (pages 5-8 and 9-12) of a countermark ‘W S’ which was centred on one half of the original sheet of paper, and was designed to be read from the felt side. The complete countermark on pages 1-4 straddles and is parallel to the lower half of the spine fold. The top of the partial countermark is found straddling the spine fold and parallel to the tail edge of pages 5-8. The bottom of the partial countermark is found straddling the spine fold and parallel to the tail edge of pages 9-12.

The three quarter sheets probably derive from two separate whole sheets, each with the countermark ‘WS’ centred on one half of the sheet. Between the three pieces of paper two complete countermarks are found. The matching half of the sheet which customarily would contain a watermark is not found in any of these leaves. Although the countermarks appear to be identical, differences in both overall width and the width of individual letters indicate that these two examples are twins1. Pages 1-4 are formed of a quarter sheet where the final leaf height is a quarter of the long side of the sheet and the width is half the short side2. Pages 5-8 and 9-12 together probably comprise a complete half sheet, where the final leaf height is half the short side of the sheet, and the leaf width is a quarter of the long side3. The trimmed size of the inferred half sheet is 384 x 243 mm. which allowing for a modest trim implies a sheet size of approximately 495 x 395 mm. or post4.

The head, fore-edge and tail edges of the folded leaves have all been trimmed and are slightly irregular. They were not trimmed against a straight edge or with a stationer’s plough and the cut edges are not coloured or gilded. The spine fold of pages 1-4 is entirely split and the spine folds of pages 5-8 and 9-12 have partial splits. There are also small tears to the tail edge of pages 1-4. These have all been repaired with Japanese paper by the Morgan Library.


Due to the fragmentary nature of the countermark found between pages 5-8 and 9-12 it is not possible to compare the height of the two countermarks. The overall width is 50 mm. for pages 1-4 and 53 mm. for the top of the countermark appearing on pages 5-8. The ‘W’ is 27 mm. wide on pages 1-4 and 28 mm. wide on pages 5-8, with the ‘S’ being 9 mm. wide on pages 1-4 and 11.5 mm. wide on pages 5-8. Back to context...
In fact the piece is slightly larger than a quarter of the long side of the sheet which accounts for the complete countermark. If the piece were an accurate quarter with the countermark centred on one half, the piece would only show half the counter mark. Likewise the double width of the leaf is slightly shorter (at 378 mm.) than the joint height of pages 5-8 and 9-12 (384 mm.) and points to these pieces being cut free hand, probably with a pair of scissors rather than being folded down from a whole sheet then cut. Back to context...
Pages 5-8 and 9-12 were both hinged to separate backing sheets when seen by the author in 2007. It was not possible to physically unite the two pieces to check if the tail edges were formed by a single cut or whether they were trimmed independently. Back to context...
Also described as crown or bastard. Philip Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 74. Back to context...