Magna Carta Regis Johannis, XV. Die Junii Anno Regni XVII. A.D. MCCXV
London, John Whittaker, 1816
The handsome Magna Charta printed in gold by Whittaker. In 1812, the Westminster bookbinder John Whittaker ingeniously adapted the process of stereotyping to print in burnished gold. He circulated a prospectus and specimens, and in 1816 published the present work in celebration of the 600th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. The stereotypes were imposed on a range of materials (paper, vellum, and satin mounted on paper) of varying colours (white, red, and purple), and of varying dimensions. “Special” copies were produced by adding illumination in gold and colours, with varying degrees of elaboration: borders, incorporating the heraldic insignia of the Barons; portraits; coats of arms of the recipients, etc. The number of leaves in the book varies: many copies, printed on paper, vellum, and also satin, contain a title and eleven leaves, comprising the text of the Magna Carta (12 leaves in total, as here); some copies include an additional page, containing the names of the Barons (13 leaves in total), and a few have in addition a dedication to the Prince Regent, a sub-title and the text of the treaty (Conventio inter Regem Iohannem et Barones) in which the king surrendered the City of London (17 leaves in total). Copies further enhanced by additional dedication leaves bearing the arms of the original owner also are recorded.