It is the work of the writer, astronomer and almanac maker Anthony Askham, or Ascham, who here is called a ‘Phisition’.
The four leaves were described as having been recovered from a binding and the principal component catalogued as perhaps a printer’s trial sheet or proof – though the idea that they were not part of a finished work cannot be discounted.
Principal interest focused on the leaf illustrated above, which features wood-engraved decorations, though there are obvious tears and losses to the edges and it is extensively browned. A fragmented section to the bottom right gives an incomplete note of its printer. Forum’s interpretation of thie was that it was “Imprynt[ed]… London in Flete[strete]”, perhaps by Wyllyam Powell for Rycharde Kele. Other leaves bear fragments of a 16th century manuscript in a secretarial hand to verso.
Estimated at £300-400 at the auction on February 20, this intriguing lot sold instead at £22,000 and one must hope that we may hear more about it in the future.