STUNNING SILVER STUMP WORK BINDING
The Holy Bible, containing the Old Testament, and the New:
London, by Bonham Norton and Iohn Bill, 1629] (with)
The vvhole booke of Psalmes: collected into English meeter by Thomas Sternhold, Iohn Hopkins, and others.
[Cambridge] the printers to the Vniversity of Cambridge: to be sold at London by Roger Daniel, 1628.
12mo. Two vols in one 1) A2, A-Z12, Aa-Ee12, Ff2, [without 2F3-2M12 Apocrypha] Nn-Xx12 [New Testament]. : 2) pp. [x], 99, [xi]. A-E¹². Roman letter, double column, entirely ruled in red. First leaf blank but for signature within woodcut ornament, first title and NT title within fine woodcut architectural border, King David below, t-p to Psalms within typographical border, small floriated woodcut initials. Light age yellowing, very rare marginal stain. Very good copies in a stunning contemporary embroidered binding of white silk, silver thread and silver stump work, with semé of sequins, a silver thread-work bird at centre, with red silk legs and wings, on a large flower, surrounded by stump work leaves, in turn surrounded with elaborate design of stump work leaves and fine silver thread flowers, with a coiled wire framework all on a ground of silver wire and sequins, spine in 4 compartments with alternating leaf and flower designs, all edges richly gilt and gauffered, slightly later combed marble paper paste-downs, edges a little worn, a few sequins lost, in fldg. box .
A rare James I Bible in a beautiful, richly worked, contemporary English embroidered binding, in remarkable state of preservation, the whole finely worked in silver-thread stump work, and embroidered in dense silver work to a most charming design. The embroidery was made on a background of silver thread with a striking design of a bird in a bush, surrounded by red and blue flowers, with a combination of silver knot-work and stump work; the petals of the flowers are worked in an ingenious layered fashion and it is technically and artistically work of the highest quality. The quality of the silver work on the binding is hugely impressive, the work of a master, for a lady of rank. The silver threads were formed by winding very fine flexible of silver wire tightly round several strands of silk, the thicker cords are made up of two or more such threads twisted together over coloured silks, plaited into fine cords. This bible is found in exactly the same configuration as that given by Darlow and Moule, bound with the same edition of the Psalms and without the Apocrypha.
“In the sixteenth century embroidered work was very popular with the Tudor princesses, gold and silver thread and pearls being largely used, often with very decorative effect. The simplest of these covers are also the best—but great elaboration was often employed …..Under the Stuarts the lighter feather-stitch was preferred, and there seems to have been a regular trade in embroidered Bibles and Prayer-books of small size, sometimes with floral patterns, sometimes with portraits of the King, or Scriptural scenes.” English Embroidered Bookbindings, Cyril Davenport. Davenport also notes that ladies often made embroidered gloves to match the binding “in hands thus gloved these little bindings, always pretty, often really artistic, must have looked exactly right, while their vivid colours must have been admirably in harmony with the gay Cavalier dresses.” Embroidery or needlework had been employed on ms. service books in medieval times but almost no English examples survive. The majority of surviving examples, and the only ones appearing on the market, date from the first half of the C17 when they again became fashionable on small service books or works of piety, particularly among ladies of rank. Few have endured in anything like their original condition. Fragile at best, many have become dilapidated through usage and later neglect, some were defaced or completely destroyed by disapproving Puritans during the Civil War, whilst the richest were invariably looted for their gold and silver threads. Where as here, they have survived virtually intact, few artifacts are more redolent of the feminine culture and society of Stuart England. This copy is particularly richly and finely worked and has survived remarkable condition. An most lovely example, from the heyday of English embroidered bindings.
1) STC 2288? [ESTC do not give an 12mo edition from 1629. The edition that they ascribe to STC 2288 has a completely different collation and is an 8vo.] Darlowe and Moule I 327. “Wants leaf before title and Apocrypha. With Metrical Psalms (1628) Goffered edges.” (as here). 2) ESTC S125193. STC. 2610.