"BASKERVILLE’S BOOKS WERE UNUSUALLY BEAUTIFUL"
(BASKERVILLE, John, printer). The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments… Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David. Cambridge: by John Baskerville and B. Dod, 1762. 12mo, contemporary full red polished morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $2200.
First duodecimo edition of Baskerville's Book of Common Prayer, with second state title page (as usual), beautifully bound in fine full contemporary morocco-gilt.
"The language of the Prayer Book is now part of the whole language… and as a source of spiritual inspiration, it is for most Englishmen second only to the Bible" (PMM 75). Given John Baskerville's stated interest in printing not "many books; but such only, as are of consequence, of intrinsic merit, or established Reputation, and which the public may be pleased to see in elegant dress," (Art of the Printed Book, 26), it is little wonder that he included the Book of Common Prayer (first published 1549) among that elect company. Second state title page, largely reset, with last line reading "(Price Five Shillings, unbound)"; the first state title page reads "Price Four Shillings and Sixpence unbound." Bound without front flyleaf (blank); there was no half title printed for this edition. This first 12mo edition was published in an edition of 4000 in April, 1762; Baskerville also published three octavo editions between 1760-62, with the third appearing in February, 1762. Gaskell 20.
A fine copy in beautiful contemporary morocco-gilt.