BASKETT’S MAGNIFICENTLY ILLUSTRATED 1717 ELEPHANT FOLIO “VINEGAR BIBLE,” SUMPTUOUSLY BOUND
BIBLE. The Holy Bible Containing the Old Testament and the New. Oxford: John Baskett, 1717, 1716. Elephant folio (12-1/2 by 20 inches), period-style full black morocco, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated covers and spine, marbled endpapers. $18,500.
First edition of the monumental, splendidly illustrated “Vinegar Bible,” a “magnificent edition” (Darlow & Moule) with wonderfully engraved frontispiece, vignette title pages and 60 detailed copper engravings, beautifully bound.
In 1709 John Baskett purchased the exclusive royal patent to print Bibles in England, control of which his family retained until 1799. This magnificent edition of the Bible is Baskett's most important work, highly regarded for its large, elegant type; its 60 striking copper-engraved vignette head- and tailpieces; and its many delicately engraved historiated initials. This edition takes its nickname from a misprint found in the headline above Luke 20 (leaf [G6v]) that mentions the parable of the "vinegar" instead of the "vineyard." Scholars and collectors alike today esteem the "Vinegar Bible" as one of the most beautiful and legible editions of Scripture ever published. "Two distinct varieties occur" (Darlow & Moule). This copy is variety B (no priority established), with additional engraved general title page depicting a church interior with figures of Moses and Aaron; small engravings on letterpress titles pages. "The engravings differ considerably from those in [variety] A; many represent allegorical subjects, and others are merely ornamental pieces, and do not, as in A, generally illustrate Bible incidents" (Darlow & Moule). Includes Apocrypha. Hand-ruled in red throughout. Darlow & Moule 735. Herbert 942A. Bible 100 Landmarks 70. Large leather bookplate dated 1720.
Old Testament with repaired tear to leaf Eee3 (Isaiah), affecting a few words; words on the verso with missing text written in in ink. New Testament with leaves O3 and 04 bound in reverse order; numerous early and recent paper repairs to margins. Beautifully bound.