Turning over the pages in a ballad volume, 4o Rawl. 566

The Bodleian volume 4º Rawl. 566 is a bound set of 217 broadside ballads printed in the seventeenth century. The broadsides, half-folio sheets typical of ballad publications at the time, are attached by their left-hand edges and thus form an oblong book with the ballads reading on the recto of each leaf.

Full colour scans of each ballad in the volume can be seen on the Bodleian Ballads database, link here. http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/collection/rawlinson

A vellum binding, damaged at the spine, encloses the volume, with Rawlinson’s bookplate inside the front cover.

The source of the volume before it came into Richard Rawlinson’s possession has not yet been discovered. The ballads themselves are in a fragile state. Several are torn or damaged, and some are repaired.

Inscriptions on the reverse of some ballads in the volume appear to show that, wherever it was held at the time, it was used on Sept. 23, 1720, by Benjamin Osborne and Elizabeth Townsen [Townsend?] to practice writing.

The image gallery below gives access to the full-resolution images of inscriptions in this volume.


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