BIBLE (1) The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Newly translated out of the original Greek (with) (2) The whole booke of Psalmes collected into English meeter by T. Sternhold, I. Hopkins, W. Whittingham, conferred with the Hebrew

(1) Cambridge, by the printers to the universitie, 1628; (2) London, imprinted [by Felix Kingston] for the Company of Stationers, 1630


Two works in one. 24mo. 1) ff. [264] A-Y¹². 2) pp. 330, [vi]. Entirely ruled in red. Roman letter, some Italic, typeset music in Psalms. First title within typographical border, woodcut ornament of cupid with wings, woodcut printers device on verso of last, small floriated woodcut initials, woodcut printer’s device of angel over a skeleton on second title, ‘EW Collins, the Museum, Bramber’ on fly. Age yellowing, first title a little thumb soiled in lower outer corner, occasional mark or spot. Good copies, crisp and clean in a very unusual contemporary silver embroidered binding made entirely of silver stump work with a semée of sequins over white silk and canvas, covers with stylised floral pattern around a central flower, spine with alternate floral motifs, all edges gilt, edges and joints worn, white silk soiled.

Two rare bibles, the New testament an early imprint by the printers to the University of Cambridge, in a striking embroidered binding, entirely made up of silver stump work in a decorative floral pattern, over a white silk ground. It is most unusual in that it contains no coloured silk embroidery, relying entirely on the densely worked and unusually raised silver stump work to create a strong overall floral design, which is most effective. The stump work is very well preserved, and, though the silk is soiled, it is a very decorative and must have been made for a rich patron. It is quite similar in make up and design to British library, Shelfmark C109r4, from 1630 which uses the same technique of an all over stump work design though over a red satin ground.

“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 artefacts are more redolent of the feminine culture and society of Stuart England.

ESTC S124407. STC 2932. ESTC S123023. STC 2623.
Stock Number: L2730 Categories: , ,

In stock