"THIS BOOK BELONGED TO THE PRINCE OF WALES, AFTERWARDS GEORGE THE 4TH, AND WAS A PRESENT FROM HIS FATHER": 1762 CAMBRIDGE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, IN ROYAL ARMORIAL GILT BINDING
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. The Book of Common Prayer, And Administration of the Sacraments… Cambridge: Joseph Bentham and Benj. Dod, 1762. Folio (17 by 11 inches), contemporary full brown morocco rebacked with original spine panels laid down, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and boards with royal armorial gilt centerpieces, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $12,000.
Cambridge 1762 folio edition of the Book of Common Prayer—the magisterial treasury of ritual, prayer and Scripture that has indelibly shaped the piety and literature of the English-speaking world—in royal armorial binding featuring King George III’s coat-of-arms as a gilt centerpiece on both covers and his royal cipher on the spine, with an early manuscript notation describing the book as a gift from King George III to his young son, later King George IV.
Born of Thomas Cranmer's desire for liturgical texts upon which all of Europe's Protestant, English-speaking churches could agree, the beautifully elevated language of the Book of Common Prayer, first issued in 1549, has considerably influenced not only ecclesiastical practice but also English literature, and has served "as a source of spiritual inspiration… for most Englishmen second only to the Bible" (PMM 75). Printed in black and red, ruled in red throughout. On both boards the binding bears the Georgian royal coat of arms in gilt, centered within elaborately gilt-tooled frames featuring small stars, leafy sprays and crowns, among other elements. Not in Griffiths. Old annotation to first blank leaf reading "This book belonged to the Prince of Wales, afterwards George the 4th, and was a present from his father, on the anniversary of his birthday. 11 August 1783."
Light foxing to endpapers, text generally fine. Offsetting from old, laid-in silk ribbon markers to leaves in gatherings 2C, 2Z. Closed tears to leaves [D4], 2C1, [2Y4]; occasional marginal chipping. Expert restoration to board edges.