“IF EVERYTHING ELSE IN OUR LANGUAGE SHOULD PERISH, IT WOULD ALONE SUFFICE…”: EARLY FOLIO KING JAMES BIBLE, 1639, WITH THREE FULL-PAGE WOOD ENGRAVINGS, IN HANDSOME CONTEMPORARY CALF
BIBLE. The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament and the New… London: Robert Barker and the Assignes of John Bill, 1639. Folio (8-1/2 by 13-1/2 inches), contemporary full calf boards rebacked in calf-gilt, original brown morocco spine label, raised bands. $6500.
1639 edition of the venerable King James Bible—“the most celebrated book in the English-speaking world” (Campbell, 1)— with three intricate full-page engraved leaves (general and New Testament title pages and illustration of the Garden of Eden), handsome in contemporary calf boards.
First published in 1611, the King James Version of the Bible 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). “Other translations may engage the mind, but the King James Version is the Bible of the heart” (Campbell, 275). With elaborate wood-engraved general title-page, illustration preceding Genesis 1 (depicting Adam and Eve in Eden) and New Testament title page (dated 1638) and decorative woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. Colophon dated 1639. Includes Apocrypha. Herbert 538. STC 2335. Occasional old marginalia.
Scattered light foxing, marginal dampstaining. Occasional small closed tears, light edge-wear; small marginal hole to leaf [N5]; tears with loss to 2T3, [4K4], both affecting text. Woodcut leaf preceding Genesis 1 expertly remargined. Title page mounted; marginal repairs to 2O1, 2R1. Mild abrasions and wear to contemporary calf. An excellent Bible, handsomely bound.