"THE HIGHEST POINT IN ENGLISH BIBLE PRINTING": BASKERVILLE'S MASTERPIECE, THE MAGNIFICENT 1763 FOLIO BIBLE, BEAUTIFULLY BOUND IN CONTEMPORARY MOROCCO-GILT
(BIBLE). The Holy Bible, Containing the Old Testament and the New. Cambridge: John Baskerville, 1763. Large, thick folio (measuring 14 by 20 inches), contemporary full red straight-grain morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, renewed flyleaves, all edges gilt. $18,000.
First Baskerville edition, one of only 1250 copies, splendidly bound in contemporary full morocco gilt. The copy of Thomas Baskerville Mynors Baskerville, with his large engraved armorial bookplate.
"This edition 'has always been regarded as Baskerville's magnum opus and is his most magnificent as well as his most characteristic specimen" (Herbert 1146). "His most ambitious undertaking… widely acclaimed as his masterpiece" (Art of the Printed Book, 26). "Aesthetically, the highest point in English Bible printing so far was John Baskerville's folio printed at Cambridge in 1763… The Bible uses his types, paper and ink, and shows his characteristic 'machine-made' finish: very smooth and even in color and impression, with glossy black ink on smooth paper. The design is traditional, but the quality of material and workmanship is so high, and the conventions are so delicately modified and consistently applied that the result is extremely impressive" (Cambridge History of the Bible, 464). Beautifully printed in two columns of large type. With Apocrypha. List of subscribers present, in third state. Gaskell 26. Darlow & Moule 857. Herbert 1146. Huntington Library, Great Books in Great Editions 6. The copy of Thomas Baskerville Mynors Baskerville (1790-1864), with his large engraved armorial bookplate. Baskerville was the second son of P.R. Mynors of Treago, Herefordshire, and assumed the additional name Baskerville on the death of his cousin Col. Thomas Baskerville in 1817. He was returned as MP for Herefordshire in 1841, retiring from Parliament in 1847. If Thomas Mynors Baskerville was related to the publisher and printer of the present work, it was likely tangential rather than direct. John Baskerville grew up in Worcestershire and practiced in Birmingham, not far from Herefordshire.
Interior quite clean and fresh; contemporary morocco-gilt with hinges reinforced, flyleaves renewed, covers beautiful and near-fine. A splendid copy with intriguing provenance.