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Bernard Quaritch Ltd

[LONDON.] BOWER, Thomas.

[The Arms of the Twelve Principal Companies of the City of London.]

[LONDON.] BOWER, Thomas.

[The Arms of the Twelve Principal Companies of the City of London.] London, Thomas Bower, 1698


Folio, 13 engraved plates in a very good state of perservation; bound in contemporary marbled boards with the armorial bookplate of Francis Fulford of Fulford in Devon (d. 1700), dated 1699, affixed to the front pastedown.


A fine and complete set of the plates of the arms of the twelve principal livery companies of the City of London, showing the arms in a decorative mantling above a description detailing their patron saint, the written form of the arms, their most prominent members and the location of their Livery Hall. Each print bears the name of Thomas Bower and the fact that the plates are to be sold at his shop. There are, however, a number of variations in the form of the address given on the different plates. Affixed to these plates, as a frontispiece, is a portrait of Sir William Ashhurst, Lord Mayor of London in 1693, engraved in 1694 by Robert White after an original painting by I. Linton. This would not appear to be a required plate as it is not in the copy lodged at the Guildhall Library in London and is not mentioned in the description of these plates in item CCCLVII of Thomas Moule’s Bibliotheca Heraldica of 1822. It is likely to be an addition inserted by Fulford.

‘The Livery Companies of contemporary London consist of two groups. The most important are distinguished as the Twelve Great Companies. In order of precedence they are the Worshipful Companies of Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Merchant Taylors, Skinners, Haberdashers, Salters, Ironmongers, Vintners and Clothworkers.’ (William F. Kahl, The Development of London Livery Companies – an essay and a bibliography, 1960, p. 3).

We have been unable to learn much about Thomas Bower, barring the location of his shop (‘Ye King’s Head, Budge Row’), and his being a ‘painter’, presumably of arms.