William Marshall, engraved title-page to the combined third edition of Richard Brathwait’s The English Gentleman and The English Gentlewoman (London, 1641; ESTC R10286; Wing B4262). 240mm x 153mm.Marshall, title-page to Brathwait, The English Gentleman and The English

This is based on the engraved title-pages to the first editions of Brathwait’s two books published respectively in 1630 and 1631, the latter also by Marshall, the former by Robert Vaughan, which are broadly similar in conception although the details differ.

The title is flanked by Corinthian columns and forms the centre of a three storey architectural composition. To the left is a fashionably dressed gentleman holding a cane; to the right is a gentlewoman in a long dress with a lily in her right hand, symbolising purity, and a book in her left. Above the gentleman in a banner is the motto Spes in coelis, pes in terris (‘Hope is in heaven, feet are on earth’); below is the motto Qui genus jactat suum, Aliena laudat (‘He who boasts of his own kind, praises foreign things’, from Seneca, Hercules Furens, 340-1). Above the gentlewoman in a banner is the motto ‘Grace my guide, Glory my goale’; below is the motto Casta fides sponsam me fecerit (‘Pure faith will have made me a good bride’).

Above the title, in a niche flanked by a pair of columns, is a female figure, possibly Charity. She is barefoot and lactating from her breasts, with an open book on her lap. Below the title is an alcove at the base of which appear the words W.Marshall sculpsit. In front of this are two, overlapping medallions, the upper one showing a coat of arms with an elaborate crest and the motto: Generoso Germine Gemmo (‘I carry in my womb a noble child’), the lower one containing John Dawson’s imprint.

At each corner of the title-page are four lettered panels depicting characteristics of the Gentleman (on the left) and the Gentlewomen (on the right). These are as follows:

Top left

Youth: Sprouting plants are watered from an urn held by a hand appearing from the clouds above.

Disposition: A young man in smart dress is offered the choice of book or sword from two hands appearing from the clouds above.

Education: A female figure with open book in her lap and switch in her right hand is encircled by symbols of the seven liberal sciences.

Vocation: In the background is a framed image of a ship, in the foreground an anvil and hammer.

Bottom left

Recreation: A rural hunting scene: a stag is being chased up a hill by three hounds and three men, one on horseback and two on foot.

Acquaintance: Two hands shake in the sky above a scene in which trees behind buildings are reflected in water.

Moderation: An older man leans on a table under an arbour. Near his feet is a tortoise, symbolising firmness; behind is the sea and a bird, symbolising calmness, nested on a rocky outcrop.

Perfection: A male head breaks through a cloud, ready to receive a crown from an arm appearing from the clouds above.

Top right

Apparell: Curtains open onto a wardrobe containing three dresses and a jewellery box on top of a dressing table.

Behaviour: A female figure in modest attire holds her skirt as if to curtsy. She stands in front of a chair by a window, and a doorway leads to a room behind her.

Decency: In a panel framed by curtains, a woman sits on a chair looking at her image in a mirror. She holds flowers to her chest. On the table in front of her are a necklace and feathers, which she has evidently rejected.

Complement: A male figure in lavish dress with sword makes a formal approach to a lady in a rural setting. She points to the monkey holding fruit at her feet, to mock his formality.

Bottom right

Estimation: A female figure seated on a hillock is offered a purse and a sword from two hands appearing from the clouds above, both of which she rejects.

Fancy: A seated female figure holds a miniature in her lap containing an image of her lover. She draws back a curtain to compare it with a larger portrait.

Gentility: A female figure in lavish dress holding a frame/mirror points to a family tree in an oval frame. The branches of the tree stem from three coats of arms; beneath are a scythe, skull and hourglass, symbols of mortality.

Honour: A female figures sits on a throne-like structure with arms open wide, a cane in her right hand, and with a dog and a peacock at her feet.