ATTRACTIVE C17 BINDING
The Booke of Common Prayer. [with] The Bible. [and] The New Testament.London, Robert Barker, I: 1604; II: 1603.
4to, 2 works in 1, second in 2 parts, separate titles, I: ff. , a4 A8 B10 C-E8; II: ff. , 190, 2-187, 121, , ¶2-4 A-Z8 &6 2A-2Z8 2&6 2A2-8 2B–2Z8 &8 **4 3A-3Q8 3R4, without ¶1 (blank except signature) and 2A1 (as often) of Psalms. Double column, I: Black letter, little Roman or Italic; II: Roman letter, little Italic. Decorated initials and ornaments, I: title and calendar printed in red and black, title within charming woodcut border with arms of Elizabeth I, female figures and Tudor heraldic charges; II: titles within handsome woodcut border with the tribes of Israel, the Apostles and the Evangelists, 33 half-page or smaller woodcut maps, diagrams or biblical scenes. First title and last verso dust-soiled, slight age browning, some marginal finger-soiling in places, small old repair to lower edge of second title, upper outer corner of F4 (II) burnt off, affecting a few words, lower and outer blank margins of 3A4 probably washed removing ms, upper edge of last a little frayed, the odd ink smudge. Very good copies in attractive near-contemporary English dark goatskin, lacking ties, double gilt ruled to a panel design with gilt dentelles, small gilt-stamped fleurons to corners, large centrepiece made of gilt-stamped fleurons and hatched leaf tools, raised bands, spine gilt ruled, remains of later label superimposed, marbled eps, a.e.g., joints rubbed. Early C20 armorial stamp ‘Holbach’ (not in Rietstap) to front pastedown and (II) &6, contemporary ms ‘John Benthall’ to first title, early C18 ms notes on the Holstock family (probably from Kent) to blank verso of third title and margins of 3A2.
Attractively bound and in remarkable condition. The design with a composite gilt centrepiece and gilt ruling of dentelles was fashionable in England in the 2nd quarter of the C17 (e.g., BL Add MS 71447 or Davis42). In particular, the gold-tooling is here reminiscent of bindings by Daniel Boyse of Cambridge (c.1624), e.g., ‘Henry Davis Gift’ II, 74. The above and those produced by Boyse generally bear a flat spine. The present may thus be the output of one of several binders all operating in Cambridge in the 2nd quarter of the C17 (see Foot, pp.59-75).
The first work is a very early Jacobean edition of the Book of Common Prayer – ‘the first single manual of worship in a vernacular language directed to be used universally by, and common to, both priest and people […] one of the greatest of all liturgical rationalizations’ (PMM) – in the ‘Hampton Court’ version, from which it differs in the double column layout. An edition much rarer than the first of 1603, this version introduced revisions such as ‘prayers for the royal family and the sacramental section of the Catechism’ (Griffiths, p.8). These revisions – which were approved at the Hampton Court conference, held in response to the Millenary Petition in January 1604, presided over by James I and attended by major Puritan divines – include a new prayer for Queen Anne and Prince Henry, as well as others (e.g., for rain, peace or deliverance from the plague); changes to rubrics for private baptism; a new section on baptism and the Eucharist; and the addition of Enurchus, Bishop of Orleans, to the calendar on 7 September (perhaps ‘an oblique commemoration of Elizabeth I’s birthday’) (Griffiths, p.82). The Old and New Testament are here in the second quarto edition of the Geneva version (after King James’s accession), with Tomson’s revised New Testament and Junius’s Revelation. Whilst the bible t-ps call Robert Barker ‘Printer to the Queens […] Maiestie’, the colophon was updated to ‘Kings’.
John Benthall and a Holstock family are both recorded in Essex, not far from Cambridge, where the book was probably bound. John Benthall of Halstead (fl. 1660s) was son of his namesake (d.1590), cadet of the Benthalls of Benthall, Shropshire, a predominantly Catholic family. The Holstocks were probably descendants of the naval officer William Holstock of Orsett (d.1589), whose eldest was called Henry. Pasted onto the rear fep is a newspaper cut from ‘The Courier’, dated 1818, advertising to the ‘noblemen, gentlemen, clergy and freeholders’ of Wiltshire the candidacy to Parliament of W.L. Wellesley, ‘surely one of the most odious men ever to sit in Parliament’ (Hist. of Parl.). He engaged in bitter correspondence with the locals after being publicly criticized in print. He was also MP for Essex.I: ESTC S93831; STC (2nd ed.), 16328.5; Griffiths 1604/3. Only Haverford, Michigan and General Theological Seminary copies recorded in the US. II: ESTC S159; STC (2nd ed.), 2190; Luborsky & Ingram 2190; Darlow & Moule 209. D.N. Griffiths, The Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer (2012); M. Foot, ‘Two bindings by Daniel Boyse’, in Henry Davis Gift (1978), vol.I.