Barber, Richard: The Pastons.

Barber(ed.), Richard - The Pastons. Folio Society, second impression, 1984 (full khaki cloth binding, 1st thus in this binding). Reproductions from the Devonshire tapestries in colour. The years of the Wars of the Roses were stormy times, and most of the contemporary material that survives is official rather than personal. So 'Original Letters written during the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III by various Persons of Rank or Consequence' have an immediate fascination. This remarkable correspondence, more than a thousand letters written between 1420 and 1500 and spanning three generations, first surfaced in 1787. The Pastons were a well-to-do Norfolk family, and, though not pronlinent politically, were inevitably touched by Qe fortunes of kings: John Paston the second, for example, was a member of Edward IV's household, but fought against him in 1471 and had to sue for pardon afterwards. Their lands too, on which their prosperity rested, were constantly in jeopardy. Margaret, wife of John the first, saw no less than three violent outrages committed against their property, and once, 'a riotous people to the number of a thousand persons mined down the wall of the chamber and bore her Out at the gates . . .' But the letters are most important as an intimate portrait of family life in a long-past generation. The characters are rounded - Agnes Paston who beat her grown-up daughter; Margery, who insisted on marrying her lover though he was 'in trade'; John the second, who loved books and tournaments and 'was the best chaser of gentlewomen'. This is a marvellously accessible tale, told in an artless and direct style, of family survival in an England torn by civil war. (Folio Society). 10" x 6", 208pp plus 10 plates, khaki cloth, front-board and spine blocked with red and gold decoration, gold blocked spine lettering, hardback. Map endpapers (identical). Illustrated with colour reproductions taken from the Devnoshire Hunting Tapestries, dating from around 1430.

Very slightly sunned spine; fine; complete with fine slip-case.

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