Erasmus’s edition of Hilary of Poitiers’s works

Item author: Hilary of Poitiers (owned and annotated by George Folbury
Item date: 1537
Grant Value: £2,500
Item cost: £5,000
Item date acquired: 2017
Item institution: Pembroke College Library, Cambridge University
Town/City: Cambridge
County: Cambridgeshire

The Friends of the National Libraries' generous grant of £2,500 has enabled us to buy a valuable book with a rare and proven Pembroke provenance.

The book itself is a worthwhile acquisition.  It has a fine London contemporary binding with Tudor binding rolls, numerous contemporary annotations and its distinctive title page was designed by Holbein; but it is the provenance that means it will become part of Pembroke’s historic collection.

Before purchasing this book we had no books from the Library of George Folbury/Fowlbery (d. 1540), BA 1514-5, MA 1517 & BD 1524 (Cambridge), who was Master of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, 1537-1540.    He died c. October 1540 (his will was dated 10 July 1540 and an inventory of his goods was made on 22 October) and was buried in St Mary-the-less, Cambridge.  Folbury was well-connected; he was at one time a tutor to Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond & Somerset (1519-1536), who was the natural son of King Henry VIII.  We know that he was celebrated as a preacher, a poet and a rhetorician, and the author of epigrams, poems and sermons, but the whereabouts of these works is unknown. The book’s provenance comes from Folbury’s ink inscription on the title ‘Su[m] liber G. folberij’ and signature ‘G. folberi’ below the publisher’s device on the final page. There are annotated remarks throughout in ink (and occasional pencil marks) by Folbury on biblical points and he made occasional comments on style. He also used manicules to pinpoint certain passages, and there are notes by other annotators which could be the subject for future research by scholars.

The book will be expertly catalogued on iDiscover, the search engine for all books in Cambridge, with its provenance given.