"TO VISUALIZE THE EVENTS OF THE BIBLE IN A GRAND STYLE": MAGNIFICENT LARGE FOLIO ILLUSTRATED KING JAMES BIBLE, CAMBRIDGE 1660, WITH 128 WONDERFUL DOUBLE-PAGE VISSCHER ENGRAVINGS OF BIBLICAL SCENES AND EIGHT LARGE MAPS INCLUDING A DOUBLE-PAGE PLAN OF JERUSALEM
BIBLE. The Holy Bible Containing the Bookes of the Old and New Testament. Cambridge: John Field, 1660, 1659. Two volumes. Large, thick folio (13 by 19-1/2 inches), contemporary full black paneled morocco rebacked with elaborately gilt-decorated spines neatly laid down, raised bands, renewed endpapers. $32,000.
Monumental 1660 Cambridge edition of the King James Bible, richly illustrated with engraved title page, 128 double-page engravings by Visscher, Hollar, Lombart and others after Rubens, De Bruyn de Vos, Tintoret and others, eight folding maps (including a double hemisphere by John Seller and a plan of Jerusalem), 13 engraved portraits of apostles and 12 small plates mounted on four sheets of scenes from Revelations. "It presented the standard text of the Authorized Version in perhaps the most impressive form available in the mid-17th century." Beautifully bound in nicely restored contemporary paneled morocco-gilt.
The King James Version of the Bible (first published 1611) has exercised an incalculable impact on piety, language and literature throughout the English-speaking world. Macaulay praised it as "a book, which if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power" (PMM 114). "In 1660, John Ogilby reissued the large folio Bible of 1659, published by John Field, the printer to the University of Cambridge, with a number of additional engraved plates… For this issue, Ogilby supplied eight whole sheet engravings, seven of which were by [Wenceslaus] Hollar… Nicolaes Visscher supplied Ogilby with sets of engravings from his own stock, most of which were the work of Cornelis Visscher, after Rubens, de Vos, de Bruyn, Tintoretto and others… Ogilby's Bible was a very expensive book… It presented the standard text of the Authorized Version in perhaps the most impressive form available in the mid-17th century. Its illustrations were works of the best artists, and allowed those who could afford the book to visualize the events of the Bible in a grand style" (Museum of the History of Science, Oxford). "The finest edition of the Holy Bible then extant" (Lowndes, 1367). The collation and number of plates vary greatly from copy to copy—the present copy is bound with the largest number of illustrations we have seen offered. The most expensive of these Bibles were ruled in red—as is this copy. Published in two volumes, this copy is bound with the Old Testament in Volume I, and the Apocrypha and New Testament in Volume II; this copy without the Volume II title page or separate New Testament title page. Engraved general title page depicts Solomon (i.e., the restored Charles II) enthroned. Text and plates ruled in red throughout. Darlow & Moule 525. Herbert 668. Wing B2258.
Marginal paper repairs to title page, just touching image at lower corner only. Occasional creasing and marginal edge-wear to plates, with a few paper repairs to versos, particularly along splits at folds. Expert restoration to contemporary morocco bindings. An excellent copy of this dramatically and beautifully illustrated folio Bible, with one of the largest complement of the Visscher plates known in this edition.