The resource presented here is based on the listing of books published between 1604 and 1640 in the Short-title Catalogue of British Books to 1640 (2nd edn., 1976-91), omitting books published before 1603 which are dealt with in Edward Hodnett’s English Woodcuts 1480-1535 (London, 1935, repr. 1973) and Ruth Luborsky & Elizabeth Ingram’s Guide to English Illustrated Books 1536-1603 (Tempe, AZ, 1998). Following STC, titles are arranged alphabetically, usually by author but by keyword where the author is not known. Each letter of the alphabet is given a separate file for ease of reference. (Alphabetical index) For a concordance indicating which entry numbers in STC relate to which letter of the alphabet, click here . In addition, there is a single, composite file which may be used for searching purposes: for this massive file, click here.

The listing has been created by examining all post-1604 books in STC which appear on EEBO, and it may be presumed that books that do not appear either lack illustrations or are omitted from EEBO (for a list of the latter, click here). Some assistance in locating material of this kind is provided by EEBO, which includes the symbol of a pen nib to denote illustrative material in books. However, the criteria used in connection with this symbol are more inclusive than ours, while occasionally books with illustrations lack it. We have therefore freshly examined the content of all relevant books on EEBO.

Each entry gives the following information about a book:

  • Number in STC
  • Author’s surname, or whatever appears in place of this in STC
  • Short title, together with note as to whether the book is a reprint or later edition
  • Illustrations, briefly identified according to the thesaurus
  • Borderline items
  • Notes

Obviously, various decisions have been made in the course of this work, and the most significant of these may be noted here. In deciding what to include and what to omit, we have tried to be as inclusive as seems helpful, but have generally drawn the line at what are essentially type ornaments. We have also been sparing in including printer’s devices (for these, see R.B. McKerrow, Printers & Publishers’ Devices in England & Scotland 1485-1640, London, 1913, repr. 1949).

The thesaurus is intended to indicate the general ‘types’ of illustrations: it seemed more helpful to subdivide them in this basic way than simply to lump them all together. However, it is based on a fairly rapid perusal, and makes no attempt to divide up illustrations by, for example, subject matter.

The location of illustrations is indicated sufficiently fully for them to be located, but, particularly where books lack pagination, this is often expressed in fairly general terms, e.g. ‘at end’. Where a book has a very large number of illustrations, they have not always been separately itemised. Where appropriate, references are given by page, folio (with ‘fol. 3’ used for the recto and ‘fol. 3v’ for the verso), or signature, when books are neither paginated nor foliated.

More significant are the limitations imposed by the resources used in this exercise.

  • As already noted, it has been carried out using EEBO, so items that are not included in that are missing (for the non-EEBO file, clickhere) .
  • Though in principle it would have been desirable to indicate the medium in which illustrations were executed (engraving, woodcut, etc.), we have found it almost impossible to be sure of this from the reproductions on EEBO, reproduced as they are from microfilms, often of poor quality. Regretfully, we have therefore only rarely been able to include any indication of this.
  • Another problem is that it is often hard to tell what illustrative material is intrusive. For instance, the copies of many books included in EEBO have later bookplates. We have tried to ignore such items, but may occasionally have included extraneous features by mistake. In addition, where more than one item is bound together in the same volume, illustrations belonging to the next item in the volume are sometimes included in the EEBO record.