Physical Description – II


Using William Caslon’s specimen sheet from Ephraim Chamber’s 1728 Chambers, Ephraim (bound between pages 444 and 445) as a guide, I believe that the type used in The Housekeeper’s Valuable Present is a combination of English Roman and English Italic, or some similar type.

On the left is a section from William Caslon’s specimen sheet, and on the right is an excerpt from The Housekeeper’s Valuable Present.

Caslon’s roman typeface, created in 1720, became an exemplar of readability.  He is also responsible for the first major type foundry in Britain – his Chiswell Street Foundry which he opened in 1737 and which stayed in business for more than 120 years (Sanborn, 1999).  It is not recorded what specific type was used to print The Housekeeper’s Valuable Present, but a case can be made for either Caslon’s type or something based upon it.

Color Printing

The entirety of The Housekeeper’s Valuable Present is in black and white, though it does have some decorative images.

Decoration from the end of the table of contents, page xii.


The Library of Congress’s digitization of this book includes images of the bindings, but it has no information to imply that they are original to the text.  They appear to be leather with a dust jacket.  It also has a green and white striped headband.

The Library of Congress’s digitization of the binding for their copy in the Elizabeth Robins Pennell Collection.

While some bindings in the eighteenth century were lavish, with illustrative fore-edges and other luxuries (Avrin, 1991, p. 319-321), the title page offers a curious insight into Cooke’s operation both as publisher and bookseller.

Bottom of Title Page.

It would seem that Cooke sold books both as unbound textblocks (for two shillings) and “neatly bound” codices (for two shillings, six pence).  “Neatly bound” may just be an industry term, as it is used several times in an 1838 advertisement for John Bryant’s bookshop describing his catalog (Bryant, 1838).

Endleaves and Flyleaves

There are four flyleaves and four endleaves in this edition.  The endpapers are plain.