[‘According to Cocker’: Edward Cocker, calligrapher, engraver and arithmetician.] Engraved calligraphic Copy Slip in his customary exquisite style, with text beginning ‘No Instrument of Musicke’.

Edward Cocker [Edoardus Coccerius] (1631-1676), English calligrapher, engraver and arithmetician (‘Philomath’), whose name became proverbial because of a work of arithmetic attributed to him
Publication details: 
Without date or place. [London, mid-seventeenth century.]
SKU: 24658

See his entry in the Oxford DNB. He published two dozen works on calligraphy, and Pepys described him as ‘the famous writing-master’, and employed him to engrave his slide rule, but it is as an arithmetician that he is remembered: two works published shortly after his death, purportedly from his manuscript, gave rise to the expression ‘according to Cocker’. It has not been established which one of Cocker’s works the present item comes from (his earliest, ‘Pen’s Experience’, is lost). In black ink on one side of a 17 x 11 cm piece of laid paper. Aged, worn and darkened, with central spike hole and manuscript practice squiggles and the word ‘Dear’ on the reverse. As part of the engraving ‘Edward Cocker’ is written at bottom left, enclosed within an ornate pattern of calligraphic flourishing which extends across the foot of the page. At the head, is a similar flourish, on a smaller scale, with two lines of practice letters in alphabetical order beneath it, then a rule, and four lines of text: ‘No Instrument of Musicke, though never so excellently tuned and cunningly play’d on, may be able so to illuminate ye vain immaginations of men, and give the like contentment to their mindes, as the sweete sound of their owne praise and commendations which is often times an inchantment to men of wisdom and evermore an incouragement to Fooles, and doth most commonly elevate their Spiritts to ye highest.’ See image.