This title page shows a strange combination of typographical features and language. Strange, at least, for someone who has seen a lot of title pages printed or published in Antwerp, and probably less so for people who are mainly dealing with the books in EEBO, ECCO, or those called up for in reading rooms of libraries with rich early modern English holdings. If the imprint read “Printed at London with licence, the fiue and twenty day of March, 1601” what would you then think about it? Would the fact that the printer of publisher is not mentioned here alarm you?
The printer is actually mentioned in the colophon, as happened so often. On fol. H5 recto, on a page facing the end of the book proper, is printed an oval vignette featuring the monogram ‘IHS’, beneath it an horizontal, single line, and below that the imprint, which reads “At Antuerpe | Printed by Arnold Coninx | 1601.”
It is not unusual that the printer is mentioned in the colophon in stead of on the title page, and Arnold Coninx, or Conincx, indeed is a printer active in Antwerp around the end of the sixteenth century and printing books until about 1617—his widow published at least two books in 1621, so it can safely be stated that her husband passed away sometime between 1617 and 1621.
The spelling of the city as “Antwerp” on the one hand and as “Antuerpe” on the other may be surprising on first sight, but the variants that exist of that name are legion. We have come across spellings such as “Andtvverpen,” “Antorf,” “Antuerpen,” “Antverpen,” “Antvrpiae,” “Antvverpiae,” “Antvvorpe,” “Hantwerpen,” “t’Antvverpen,” “Tanwerpen,” “Thanwerpen,” to name just a few. “W”s are interchangeable with “VV”s, and “V”s with “U”s. Compositors have also messed up the name by omitting or changing characters, such as in “Antvepiae,” “Antveriæ,” “Antverrpiae,” “Antwepen,” “Antwerrpen,” or “Antwerepn.” The result of all that creativity is a list of 169 variants thus far recorded in the authority file of the city’s name, consisting of Dutch, French, English, Spanish, Italian, and Latin translations and their different spellings.
And the same can be said of the printer’s name, Arnout Coninxs. His name appears in 15 different spellings and formulas in—only!—33 different editions. His first name is either spelled as “Arnold,” “Arnout,” “Arnouts,” or “Arnoldus.” His family name appears as “Conincx,” but also as “s’Conincx,” sometimes also without the “c” (as “Coninx”), but also as “Conings” and even once as “Conin.”
Most editions we know that were printed by him are calendars or works which deal in one way or another with cosmography. And almost a third of his editions recorded in the Short Title Catalogue Flanders are in English, as this one is. So why would we doubt what this title page tells us? Do you have any suggestions? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and in my next post I’ll look further at this work.