Item of the Week: A Wedding Sermon

Published: December 9, 2009

From time to time, we’d like to highlight items in our collection that we think deserve some notice.  This week, it’s a manuscript acquired by the Clark in 1951 for the impressively small sum of US$13.60.

Title page from a manuscript

MS.1951.018 is a bound manuscript from 1649, executed in careful calligraphy that imitates a printed book.  It contains the text of a sermon delivered by minister Matthew Lawrence at the 1649 wedding of William Armyne, Jr. and Anne Chase in Chilton, Suffolk. A preface is written to Sir William Armyne, Sr., Lawrence’s long-time patron, who had requested a copy of the sermon, and then received this beautifully written one from Lawrence as a gift.  John Raymond of London was hired to write out this work and he credits himself above, in the space reserved in printed books for the printer and publisher’s name.

The text makes use of several different fonts and decorative letters, as a printed book might.  Later owners (the book contains the bookplates of 18th century antiquary John Eglinton Bailey and 20th century architect R.H. Watt) or perhaps Armyne himself have drawn pointing fingers (or fists) in the margins of some pages, drawing his or her attention to certain passages of significance.

This volume has two different title pages, which is not uncommon.  The first image at the beginning of this post showed what is actually the second title page.  Below is the first title page, which is more decorative, but which contains much less information.  Note the shorter title and the absence of Rev. Lawrence’s name.

The first, less informative title page

The final page of the sermon

All images above from Matthew Lawrence, A wedding sermon : preacht at Chilton in Suffolk. 1649.  MS.1951.018, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA.

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Nina Schneider on

Even more beautiful in real life. The patience required is inconceivable…

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