REMARKABLE MINIATURE IN ‘SHARKSKIN’ CASE.
THΣ KAINHΣ ΔIAΘHKHΣ AΠANTA. Novum Iesu Christi Domini Nostri Testamentum.
Sedan, Ioannes Iannoni, 1628 [March 1629].
32mo. pp. , 4-571, [i] lacking last two blanks. Greek letter. Small floriated initials, typographical ornaments. “Sam Shuckford Rector of Shelton in the County of Norfolk” on fly, “H. Joseph Frere with the best wishes of Gio Betes 20th August 80”, below, typed exhibition note, “Lent by Miss Frere” loosely inserted. Light age yellowing, title a little dusty, cut a little close, fractionally trimming the odd running headline. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in stunning 17th-century English black morocco, covers bordered with a double gilt rule with a fine border of gilt scrolled tools, central lozenge made up of fine gilt small and pointillée tools, corner-pieces in long with the same tools, spine with raised bands, double gilt ruled in compartments with gilt scrolled tools to corners and gilt double tulip tools to centres, edges gilt rolled, inner dentelles gilt, all edges gilt, preserved in a fine shagreen case with metal clip and hinged top, lined with marbled paper and green velvet. Extremities of case a little rubbed.
A lovely, beautifully bound copy of this fine miniature book, one of the smallest Greek Testaments ever printed, using one of the smallest Greek types ever made. This miniature Greek New Testament, entirely unglossed, takes the text from the 1624 Elzevir edition, and for generations has been a sought after bibliophilic delight. Jannon, a Protestant from Switzerland, trained in Paris, printing for Robert Estienne II, before working as a printer for the Calvinist Academy in Sedan. In 1621 he printed a Specimen in which he showed a range of types, which Beatrice Ward showed to be the types used (from 1640) by the Imprimerie Royale. He produced his own version of Garamond’s Roman and Italic types which were often confused with Garamond’s own. Janon’s 5-point Greek type is considered by many to be the finest miniature Greek typeface ever made.
Samuel Shuckford 1693 or 1694-1754, was the author of numerous religious and historical works – “historian, born at Norwich about 1694, .. From 1712 to 1719 he was scholar of Caius College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1716 and M.A. in 1720, and subsequently obtaining the Lambeth degree of D.D. He was ordained deacon on 16 June 1717, and priest on 28 Oct. 1718. In 1722 he was presented to the rectory of Shelton, Norfolk, which he resigned in 1746. .. Subsequently he obtained the living of All Saints, Lombard Street, London; and it is said that he was one of George II’s chaplains. He died on 14 July 1754, and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. He was author of. ‘The Sacred and Profane History of the World, connected from the creation of the world to the dissolution of the Assyrian empire at the death of Sardanapalus, ..,’ 2 vols. 1728, 8vo. This work was intended to serve as an introduction to Prideaux’s ‘Connection.’ DNB.
A stunning, probably London, restoration binding of the highest quality, very finely worked. Whoever the binder, his artistic imagination, craftsmanship and materials were of the highest order. The shagreen case is most probably contemporary and is itself a remarkably fine object, preserving the binding in almost perfect condition. A lovely copy of this miniature book in a beautiful and perfectly preserved jewel like binding, in a most unusual and remarkably preserved case.
BM STC Fr. C17 946. Darlow & Moule 4676: ‘the smallest Greek Testament ever printed, with the exception of Pickering’s miniature edition of 1828’