BIBLE [with] PSALMS. The New Testament […] [with] The Whole Booke of Davids Psalms

(1) London, Bonham Norton and John Bill, 1625, (2) London, W[illiam].S[tansby] for the company of Stationers, 1631


(1) 16mo. 264 unnumbered ll. A-Z 8 , Aa-Gg 8 , last blank. Roman letter, little italic. Ruled in red throughout. T-p within woodcut border of royal arms and allegorical female figures, lion and dragon below. Ornament at head of first page with roses and thistles, contemporary price code on first fep. and autographs of M. Butler of Ingatestone 1846 and J. Edwards 1847 at head of t-p. Woodcut initials and ornaments, light browning, very occasional foxing. (2) 16mo. pp. [2] 439 [7]. Roman letter, some italic, musical notation by Sternhold and Hopkins. Ruled in red throughout. T-p with woodcut border of King David flanked by women with trumpets, obelisks and sphinxes. Verse text, marginal prose. Light browning, occasional foxing. In folding box.

Two vols in one, in wonderful contemporary embroidered binding: green canvas ground decorated with multi-coloured flowers in silk thread using a tapestry-stitch, stems and border in slightly raised silver braids, silver divider down spine. Silver threads slightly oxidised. Probably minor braid losses, a little rubbed, but good. Clean, crisp copies in a spectacular and well-preserved binding, a.e.g.

A rare edition of the English New Testament, and the Psalms of David with both prose and verse lyrics for the reader to follow either in speech or in song, in a beautifully embroidered vibrant floral binding with silk flowers and silver threaded stems. Tudor roses, in a light pink silk with red or green outlines, with olive-green leaves, and thistles in a variety of shades of blue, together with their corresponding leaves, cover the surface. The leaves are rendered in a variety of greens and yellows, reflecting the natural aging process. The floral elements are surrounded by swirling silver stems, woven in a thick raised plait stitch. This motif is repeated in the woodcut ornament above the beginning of the New Testament text, possibly reflecting the heraldry of England and Scotland. ‘Embroidered bindings can be found throughout the sixteenth century and particularly in the first half of the seventeenth century, when there was a considerable vogue for small format devotional books with embroidered covers, often depicting religious imagery, but not uncommonly plants’ (Pearson p.21). These types of bindings were popular with noblewomen and princesses of the Tudor era; there exist a few examples embroidered by Elizabeth I herself; they continued to be made in small numbers until the Civil War. Such bindings are exceptionally rare, many were looted for their precious metals, some were worn out, others deliberately ‘spoiled’ by disapproving Puritans.

This New Testament is ‘remarkable as [it contains] Old Testament Epistles’ at the end, covering the days before Easter, the Annunciation and the feast of St John the Baptist. The collection provides easy access to a range of Old Testament scripture relating to the most important celebrations in the Christian calendar.

Besides many of the Psalms there are initials, identifying the composers. While Thomas Sternhold (1500-49) and John Hopkins (d.1570) are responsible for the majority of the works, there are also contributions by William Kethe, William Whittingham, John Pullain and Thomas Norton.

STC records U.S. copies only at N.Y Public Library and Bible Society.

STC:2926, Darlow and Moule: 308, cf. Davenport: p.33
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