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1373.—Wood-cut of a Knight. (From Caxton’s ‘Game of the Chess’) more
A fifteenth-century woodcut of a knight riding a horse; he bears the Fleurs-de-Lys, the French badge. This is from an early printed book, made for a book printed at Westminster Abbey by William Caxton.
Caxton—a name ever to be revered by all who have faith in and a yearning for the progress of mankind, which he, in connection with the establishment of such a literature as that of England, has done more perhaps to promote than any other man, working with similar material agencies—Caxton came to England about 1473 or 1474, and—ominous locality—was located, it has been supposed, in the scriptorium of the Abbey, the place where its transcribers were wont to be employed; at all events it is certain that he began to print in some building either forming a part of the actual abbey, or directly connected with it; and that the Abbot Milling, and probably Milling’s successor, Esteney, patronised him.
Caxton’s residence appears to have been a house in the Almonry (Fig. 1355). Caxton’s publications were of a very miscellaneous character, such as treatises on heraldry, hawking, and chess (Fig. 1355); romances of religion and literature; translations of classical works; chronicles, &c.; all, no doubt carrying out, as far as circumstances would permit, his desire, which was to make the books capable of “instructing the ignorant in wisdom and virtue.” (p. 384)
There is a Project Gutenberg edition of a reprint of the book from which the Knight woodcut was taken, although the images are presented at a low resolution there.