Otis College of Art and Design logo
Events

O-Tube

Caxton and the Polychronicon of 1482

An original leaf from the Polychronicon printed by William Caxton at Westminster in the year 1482
Location: Special Collections Z232 C38 K87

The book, beautifully designed and letterpress printed in 1938 by the Grabhorn Press for The Book Club of California contains a specimen, an actual original page from the Polychronicon.

The Polychronicon (Universal History) was printed by William Caxton in 1482 and circulated widely. It was written by Benedictine monks and is actually more legend than fact. But it was Caxton's most ambitious printing project and the longest book in terms of page count.

All books printed before 1501 are called incunabula.

Incunabula (Latin: cradle or infancy) - Refers to the first fifty years of printing with moveable type, printing completed before 1501, a time when some books were still being hand-copied.

Caxton cover
Cover

Caxton title page

Title page

Caxton page

Full page

Caxton page detail

Detail of text