Copland, William (DNB00)


COPLAND, WILLIAM (fl. 1556–1569), printer, is believed by Dibdin (Typogr. Antiq. iv. 127) to have been the younger brother of Robert Copland [q. v.] He worked in his office until the death of the latter, and continued as printer in the same house. An original member of the Stationers' Company, he was named in the charter of 1556 (Arber, Transcript, i. xxviii). The first book for which he is recorded to have had license was an edition of Isocrates' ‘Admonition to Demonicus,’ in 1557 (ib. i. 79), but it does not seem ever to have been printed. The earliest dated volume bearing his imprint is ‘The Understandinge of the Lordes Supper. … Jmprinted at London, in Fletestrete, at ye signe of the Rose Garland,’ in 1548. In 1561 he was in Thames Street, ‘in the Vyntre upon the Three Craned Warfe,’ and at one time had an office in Lothbury, ‘over against Sainct Margarytes church.’ Among the noteworthy books issued from his press were ‘The xiii bukes of Eneados’ (1553, 4to), ‘The foure Sonnes of Aimon’ (1554, folio), ‘Kynge Arthur’ (1557), folio, and the following without a date: ‘Syr Isenbras,’ 4to, ‘Howleglas’ (three editions), 4to, ‘The Knyght of the Swanne,’ 4to, ‘Jyl of Breyntford's Testament’ (two editions, 4to), Borde's ‘Introduction of Knowledge,’ 4to, ‘Valentyne and Orson,’ 4to, and other popular romances. Dibdin knew of no book printed by Copland after 1561, although ‘A Dyaloge between ij Beggers’ is registered for him between 1567 and 1568 (Transcript, i. 355).

He compiled ‘A boke of the Properties of Herbes,’ 1552, 4to, issued from his own press. Both Robert and William Copland used the same kind of worn and inferior types, and their workmanship shows little of the beauty that marks the productions of Wynkyn de Worde, but the memory of William deserves respect as one who printed many interesting specimens of popular English literature, all of which are now extremely rare. The titles of many of them are in the list of Captain Cox's library, and it is extremely likely that Copland's actual editions were those in that famous collector's cabinet. William Copland died between July 1568 and July 1569 (Ames, Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), i. 353). The fact that the Stationers' Company ‘Payd for the buryall of Coplande vjs’ must not be considered to mean that they were called upon to bear his funeral expenses, but rather that the company had in some way honoured the last ceremonies of a benefactor and original member.

[Besides the authorities mentioned above see Collier's Bibliographical Account, i. 11, 153; Catalogue of Books in the British Museum, printed to 1640, 1884, 3 vols. 8vo; Captain Cox, his Ballads and Books, ed. by F. J. Furnivall (Ballad Soc.), 1871.]

H. R. T.