SPLENDIDLY BOUND OXFORD KING JAMES BIBLE, 1740, WITH CONTEMPORARY PRAYER BOOK, ILLUSTRATED WITH OVER 200 FINE ENGRAVINGS AFTER JOHN STURT
BIBLE. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments. BOUND WITH: The Book of Common Prayer. BOUND WITH: DOWNAME, John. A Brief Concordance or Table to the Bible. London: Richard Ware, 1740. Thick quarto, contemporary full red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, cover-borders and centerpieces, raised bands, black morocco spine label, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $6000.
Early 18th-century edition of the King James Bible, copiously illustrated with engraved frontispiece portrait of George II, 200 delicate copper-plates (four each on 50 interleaved sheets) re-engraved by John Cole after images created by master engraver John Sturt, and six folding maps, beautifully bound in contemporary full red morocco gilt.
The King James Bible, first published in 1611, is "the only literary masterpiece ever to be produced by a committee and was the work of nearly 50 translators… [who] lived at a period when the genius of the language was in full flower… [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). This 18th-century Oxford edition, which includes the Apocrypha, is illustrated with 50 interleaved sheets, each containing four separate images on two plates, after original engravings by John Sturt, England's most noted engraver of books. In 1717, Sturt produced a series of 436 Biblical scenes for Samuel Wesley's History of the Holy Bible; 200 of the Sturt illustrations were re-engraved by John Cole and offered separately by Ware in 1727. This Bible bound with a contemporary edition of the Book of Common Prayer. First issued in 1549, the prayer book's stately language has considerably influenced not only ecclesiastical practice but also literature in English for centuries. Also with additional engraved title pages for Bible and Book of Common Prayer, index and concordance. The volume's contemporary morocco binding, in the "Harleian" style, bears onlaid black moroco centerpieces outlined with gilt sun rays and gilt-stamped with the initials "JHS" (Iesus Hominum Salvator). Index without E4, presumably a blank; all text present. Herbert 1048. Not in Darlow & Moule. Griffiths 1744:3. First two flyleaves stuck together, rendering owner inscription on verso of first leaf illegible; small, light owner signature to bottom margin of D3 (Bible).
A beautiful copy.