University of Manchester

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University of Manchester has a unique copy of Billingsley’s first English translation of Euclid’s Elements (London, 1570). Bearing shelfmark SC13353C, the copy is a variant with the six bifolia for the folding figures still intact and bound with the book.

Description of the copy:

Inscriptions on ff. 200v, 346v and 461v: James Prior bought this booke 1587. Inscription on fol. [2]v: pryor (possibly something above cropped). Inscription on fol. 42r: James Pryor 1587. Armorial bookplate of James Prince Lee on front paste-down: Hunc. Librum. Bibliothecae. Coll. Owens. Manc. Legavit. J. Prince. Lee. S.T.P. Episc. Manc. 1869 [Franks 33608]. Paper library label at base of front paste-down: Prince Lee Bequest. Class 513 No. E34 / Prog. no. 4054.

Dee’s preface contains underlinings and summary marginal annotations in red. Some underlining and errata corrected in Book 1. Some miscellaneous notes in pencil (19th century) on first flyleaf.

The margins of many leaves at the beginning and end have been excised/repaired, possibly due to water and mould damage.

Binding: 20th century brown calf binding in antique style, with new endpapers. Stamped University of Manchester on rear pastedown. Text block edges coloured red.

Selected images:

Inscriptions of James Prior on ff. 42r, 200v, 346v and 461v. There is no further information on Prior, though he does not appear in the alumni lists of Oxford or Cambridge.


Underlinings and summary annotations in red ink in John Dee’s preface.


Underlining and corrections in Book One.


Title page: this copy has suffered some damage from water and mould in the past. The margins of many leaves at the beginning and end have been excised/repaired.


Uncut shapes to be placed on f. 314r-v.


Replica of two shapes placed on f. 314r.



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