A Boye’s death

August 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

A bit of a follow up to the last entry. A while back, over at Mercurius Politicus, Nick Poyntz analyzed a particular image of Boye–a woodcut depicting the scene of the dog’s death at Marston Moor. See “From bullets to stones“. The image appears on the title page of  “A dog’s elegy, or, Rupert’s tears” (1644), a pamphlet-poem John Taylor wrote to poke fun at the credulity of folks (non-royalists, natch) who believed Boye was a demon in dog’s clothing.  Taylor deliberately draws the readers’/listeners’ attention to the apparently tailor-made (sorry) woodcut  in the closing lines — “how this Curr came by his fatall blow, / Look on the Title page, and there behold, / The Emblem will all this to you unfold”. By taking a close look at the oddly out-of-proportion figure of the musketeer who’s just put  an end to Boye’s life, Nick’s post reminds us just how much the analysis of woodcuts, ornaments, and engravings can reveal about the material conditions of printing. And also how many new questions that such examinations can raise.

Like why the woodcut Boye is black, when the dog who died at the Battle of Marston Moor was white? I learned from the review of Stoyle’s new book, The Black Legend of Prince Rupert’s Dog (see previous post),  that Rupert apparently had two “war” dogs, one white, one black (a salt and pepper shaker set) and that the black dog had met its end earlier in the war.  Perhaps the book sheds some light on this small printing mystery–looking forward to reading it.


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