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Binding for Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford

One of several volumes of incunabula bearing a distinctive 'Harleian' binding which were bought for the College by John Newcome, Master 1735-65. The distinctive gold-tooled red morocco with a diamond-shaped central lozenge is typical of volumes from the library of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, (1661-1724), Chancellor of the Exchequer and later Lord Treasurer. Harley built up a huge library of contemporary documents, together with much older manuscripts and early printed books. His manuscripts form the Harleian collection in the British Library, but his early printed books were bought by a bookseller named Thomas Osborne who sold them off gradually, and Newcome must have picked up these volumes at one of these sales.