Symud i'r prif gynnwys

I The historie of Cambria, now called Wales, from the pen of Dr. David Powel of Ruabon, was the first attempt to give to the world a consecutive history of that part of the British Isles. For the early medieval period, it was based, as every such history must be, upon Brut y Tywysogion, but this groundwork was eked out with much material from other relevant sources. In the result, Powel remained for a long period the standard work on the subject edition after edition appeared, and it was not until the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries that it was superseded by set histories on a more ambitious scale. In this note, I do not propose to deal with the substance of Powel's work, its sources and its value for historical study, but with its outward form and particularly, with one problem which has interested me for some time, namely, that of its illustrations. It was, as the colophon tells us, imprinted at London by Rafe Newberie and Henrie Denham." Above this legend is the date, 1584, and a panel, showing a star, with the motto Os homini sublime dedit," the initials H.D., and (above) the arms of the city of London and (below) those of the Stationers' Company. Newbery and Denham were well-known London printers and were associated as the assigns of Henry Bynneman, who died in 1583. Denham was in a large way of business he lived at this time in Paternoster Row, at the sign of the "Star," which, with the motto from Ovid's Metamorphoses (I, 85), he used as his trade- mark. The title-page also invites attention. In accordance with the custom of the time, it has an elaborate ornamental frame, which had done duty on many other occasions. Above are the royal arms, flanked by Fame with a trumpet and Victory with a palm branch and a laurel wreath below are the royal supporters, the lion on the left, the dragon (not yet supplanted by the unicorn) on the right.3 Until 1583, the frame had borne the initials H B(ynneman), but a D(enham) was then substituted for the second letter, the erasure being very obvious in my copy of the Historie. But at present, I am chiefly concerned with the woodcuts which are used to illustrate the text. In all, they number thirty-two, but as three are used twice and one thrice, the actual examples employed are twenty-seven. Every prince, from Cadwaladr to the last Llywelyn, no matter how insignificant, is honoured with a portrait, though the compliment loses its weight when we observe that the same block will serve for two chieftains separated by centuries from each other. No one needs to be told that the representation is in every case devoid of the slightest historical value, but curiosity is aroused by the fact that there is (save in one instance) a total absence of any effort to make the picture appropriate to its subject. Why should Rhodri Mawr, for example, hold a harp in his left arm, as though he were another King David? Why should 1 This article, which appeared in Archceologia Cambrensis, xcvii, Part 1, is reprinted here with the kind consent of the author (Sir John Edward Lloyd) and of the editor of that journal (The Reverend Ellis Davies). 3 Title-page Borders, McKerrow and Ferguson (Bibliographical Society, 1932), p. 134. 3 It appears as a supporter of the arms of Queen Elizabeth on the old market hall of Shrewsbury.