"AS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION, IT IS FOR MOST ENGLISHMEN SECOND ONLY TO THE BIBLE": 1769 OXFORD BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, IN LOVELY CONTEMPORARY MOROCCO-GILT
(BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER). The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, According to the Use of the Church of England: Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David. Oxford: R. Baldwin, and S. Crowder… and by W. Jackson, 1769. Octavo, contemporary full red paneled morocco, gilt-decorated covers and spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $2800.
Lovely Oxford Book of Common Prayer and Psalter, beautifully bound in contemporary morocco-gilt.
Born of Thomas Cranmer's desire for liturgical texts upon which all of Europe's Protestant, English-speaking churches could agree, and which all English-speaking Christians could easily comprehend, the Book of Common Prayer, first issued in 1549, has become what Diarmaid MacCulloch calls "one of a handful of texts to have decided the future of a world language." "Cranmer had been a Cambridge scholar (he had held a lectureship in Biblical studies) and a diplomat, before being plucked by Henry VIII to be archbishop, and he almost certainly did not imagine that he was writing one of the great, abiding works of English literature… But the acute poetry, balanced sonorities, heavy order and direct intimacy of Cranmer's prose have achieved permanence, and many of his phrases and sentences are as famous as lines from Shakespeare or the King James Bible" (The New Yorker). Beyond its vocabulary and phraseology, the prayer book is, "as a source of spiritual inspiration, for most Englishmen second only to the Bible" (PMM 75). Griffiths 1769:6.
Interior quite clean; just a touch of wear to foot of spine, minor rubs to corners, gilt bright. A beautiful and desirable volume in well-preserved contemporary morocco-gilt.