The book of common prayer, and administration of the sacraments: and other rites and ceremonies of the Church of England: vvith the psalter, or Psalmes of David. [with]

The Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the New: newly translated out of the originall tongues, and with ye former translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties speciall command. Appointed to be read in churches. [and]

The vvhole book of Psalmes, collected into English metre, by Th. Sternhold, Iohn Hopkins, and others, conferred with the Hebrew.

[Cambridge] Printed by Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel, printers to the Vniversitie of Cambridge, anno Dom. 1638.


Folio. 3 volumes in one. 1) pp. [104]: A⁶ (B)-(H)⁶ (I)⁴. 2) pp. [xii], 642, 151, [i]; [ii], 202. pi¹, A-3G⁶, 3H-3I⁴, 3K-3X⁶, 3Y⁴; A-R⁶. Entirely ruled in red, in double column. Title of Book of Common prayer within typographical border with woodcut printer’s device, woodcut initials and typographical ornaments. The Holy Bible; the Apocrypha (caption title) begins new pagination; register is continuous the New Testament has separate pagination, register, and title page dated 1638, Roman letter, some Italic, in double column, beautiful engraved title, signed: Will: Marshall. sculp., containing small central device ‘Alma Mater Cantabrigia’, letterpress title for the New Testament with printer’s oval woodcut device within typographical border, floriated woodcut initials, grotesque tailpieces. The Psalms; title page within typographical border with woodcut printer’s device, woodblock set music, grotesque and floriated initials. Late 19th century copied manuscript entries “Extracted from the Family Bible in the possesion of Sir Nelson Rycroft Bart. at Kempshott Park nr Basingstoke Hants”, tipped in at fly. Light age yellowing, foredge of engraved t-p very slightly uneven, the very rare marginal mark. A fine copy, with large margins, in a splendid Restoration crimson morocco binding, covers double and triple gilt ruled to a panel design, outer corners with large gilt tulip fleurons, middle panel with large gilt fleurons to corners, central panel with a fine gilt scrolled floral border, spine expertly rebacked to match with gilt ruled raised bands, richly gilt in compartments, edges and inner dentelles gilt with floral scroll, combed marbled endpapers, a.e.g. corners restored a little rubbed and scratched.

A beautifully printed copy of the King James Bible, handsomely bound in Restoration morocco, complete with all the constituent parts required for worship, including the Book of Common prayer and the Psalter, making up the collected devotional works of the Anglican church in its Laudian heyday. In 1633 Land was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and for the next seven years he applied his considerable energies to the promotion of a national church that in its liturgy, its discipline and canons was sacramental without being Catholic and protestant without being puritan. His efforts ended in apparent ignominious failure on the scaffold, but though he could not force the establishment of his principles during his lifetime, the Anglican church he envisaged was the one which it eventually became. “As well as selling an estimated 1bn copies since 1611, the King James Bible went straight into our literary bloodstream like a lifesaving drug. Whenever we put words into someone’s mouth, or see the writing on the wall, or go from strength to strength, or eat, drink and be merry, or fight the good fight, or bemoan the signs of the times, or find a fly in the ointment, or use words such as “long-suffering”, “scapegoat” and “peacemaker” we are unconsciously quoting the KJB. More astounding, compared to Shakespeare’s prodigal 31,000-word vocabulary, the KJB works its magic with a lexicon of just 12,000 words. More than this enthralling matrix of linguistic influence, there’s the miracle of the translation itself, a triumph of creative collaboration (54 scholars in six committees), outright plagiarism and good old English pragmatism. The Authorized Version’s mission statement was a masterpiece of lowered expectations. Its aim, it declared, was not “to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one, that hath been our endeavour” Robert McCrum. ‘How the King James Bible shaped the English language.’

The restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660 initiated the “golden age” of English bookbinding, when England’s binders were no longer content to follow continental models but strove to develop their own decorative aesthetic. This binding very much shares the style of bindings made by the best-known figure in Restoration binding, Samuel Mearne (1624–1683) who bound many such bibles for the Chapels Royal. The distinctive ruling in red in three rules is also commonly found in Bibles bound by Mearne, though, those bound for the Royal chapels are normally found with Charles’ cypher gilt.

1) ESTC S902. STC 16410. 2) ESTC S694. STC 2331.3. Herbert 520. Darlow & Moule 403. 3) ESTC S122380 STC 2682.


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