Trevelyon’s Miscellany

Every once in a while the universe or my guardian angel leads me to something wonderful (what appears to be) completely by  accident.

About 4 weeks ago I had finished a piece using one of Trevelyon’s designs and wanted to find another pattern from Thomas Trevelyon’s Miscellany of 1608 to embroider. I always type into my search engine “Trevelyon’s Miscellany” and the search engine always pops up the link to the Folger library.

Except this time.

At the top of the list this time was a link to a book store in Delaware that had the book for sale. Usually, I ignore these links because the book is REALLY expensive. Eye wateringly expensive, especially because it’s been a while since the Folger Library released it. The price prevented me from buying the book for years.

But on this day a month ago, with the universe or my guardian angel or book fairy or whatever watching over me, the price was half price at the book store in Delaware that popped up during my search. Half of the original price of the book. I ordered it. 

I couldn’t believe my luck the miracle that had happened. In fact, the next day, I called the book shop to make sure that my order went through – that I was really going to get book I’d been longing to have since I first discovered Trevelyon’s Miscellany on the Folger Library website years ago. The owner of the shop told me, yes, it was available and would be sent to me the next day. Deep breaths.


Five days later a huge box arrived on my doorstep. I’d read in the description how large the book was (10.75″ x 17″ with 596 pages) but didn’t think about the packing that would go around such a special volume. My husband had to carry it into the house. The photo above is the book in it’s box that was inside the box it came in.

This book is what’s called a facsimile edition, hence it’s high price. Here’s an explanation of a facsimile edition from a website

“A facsimile edition is an exact reproduction of the entire contents of a book. Usually published in limited quantities, facsimile editions are a terrific option for collectors who can’t afford an original, or in situations where the original is so rare, there’s virtually no chance of obtaining it. Libraries may also produce or rely on facsimiles as research tools, particularly when the original volume is particularly fragile or susceptible to damage during handling. ”

The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608, published by the Folger Library, is a facsimile edition of the hand written book that Thomas Trevelyon finished when he was 60 years old, in 1608. It’s as close to owning the real thing that anyone can get. Honestly, I wouldn’t want the responsibility of owning the real thing!

Here you can see how large it is. I was going to show you photos of the book when it occurred to me that the photos in the book are copyrighted material. So, no complete page photos. Sorry. But here are three heavily cropped images so you can see the size of the patterns in the book and how a facsimile shows the damage to the real book. To see image from the book online go to the Folger Library.

Below is my hand pointing to a section of the design of Trevelyon’s Gold Cap – the one I stitched. It’s one of many designs for caps in the book. And the patterns in the book appear to be full sized. I haven’t measured, but they look about right.

Next is a photo showing where the original book got damaged and the ink from the opposite side of the page leaked through. It isn’t bad printing or a mistake- it’s a facsimile. Everything is reproduced, even damage.

There are a few small motifs that I’m looking forward to embroidering and sharing with you all on my blog. Little things that can be taught in a post or two. Below are a few examples from the book.

You can imagine how excited I am to have this book to look at, to read and to cherish. It’s full of embroidery designs but it’s also filled with drawings, histories, solar system charts, almanacs, distance to and from major towns and cities in the UK and moral advice. It’s all here, fresh from 1608!





6 thoughts on “Trevelyon’s Miscellany

  1. Wow, lucky you indeed! I just checked the book from Book Depository and you are absolutely right – the price is a tad eye-watering.

    Can’t wait to see your embroidered pieces.

  2. Oh wow – just looked at book via the Folger Library – it has enlarging and zoom facility on every page (which you would already know) – I have zoomed in on a pattern and taken a screenshot and will transfer it onto a template for tracing onto embroidery cloth. Thanks for great blog – so very interesting actually reading the Elizabethan script in Trevelyon’s book and not as hard as I’d thought – quite readable. What a glorious /fascinating zoom back into history – thanks so much!!

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