Book of Hours, Use of Autun, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum

France (probably Besançon), c. 1430


8vo, 165 by 105mm,152 leaves (plus original singleton at front, and original endleaf formed from final leaf of last gathering), wanting a leaf from end of Compline, the Office of the Dead, and the opening leaf of the Hours of the Cross. Catchwords, collation: i-iii6, iv-x8, xi7 (wants last), xii-xviii8, xix3 (wants at least one), xx8, xxi2, single column of 13 lines per page in late gothic bookhand, rubrics in red, line fillers in red and blue designs, capitals touched in pale yellow wash, small initials in red or dark blue (some with contrasting penwork), larger initials in same colours with elaborate scrolling penwork, initials opening major text breaks in blue or faded pink with white penwork, on burnished gold grounds and enclosing coloured twists of foliage. SEVEN THREE-QUARTER PAGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES edged with thin gold frames, with full borders of single-line foliage with gold and coloured foliage and flowerbuds enclosing sprays of coloured acanthus leaves, some spaces left for miniatures in suffrages, a few near-contemporary additions in Latin and French. Small spots and marks, a little flaking from a few miniatures or decorated borders, on fine vellum with wide and clean margins. In contemporary panel-stamped dark brown leather with flower-heads and fleur-de-lys set within frames of chevrons and foliage, some small scuffs, bumps and a few wormholes, loss at head of spine, eighteenth-century paper label “heures” on spine, leaves from later fifteenth-century Book of Hours reused as pastedowns, overall solid and in good condition.


  1. Most probably written and illuminated in Besançon for a male patron: the liturgical usage is either Autun or Besançon, while the Calendar is firmly the latter, with the local saint, Pierre de Bellevaux (also known as St. Peter of Tarentaise, 8 May), founder of the Cistercian abbey of Bellevaux where his relics were kept throughout the Middle Ages, as well as saint-bishops of Besançon: Claudius (early sixth century; 5 June) and Antidus the martyr (d. c. 407; 17 June). That said, St. Symphorianus, patron of Autun, appears in the Litany and so there may be some liturgical crossover between these two regions in the commission of this volume for an individual patron. The prayer, Obsecro te, appears on fol. 94 in the male form.
  2. C16 ms inscription on fly “Orants. Oudot La Verne”. La Verne is a village about 30 km from Besançon. “Oudot” was a popular medieval Christian name in the region and later also a surname. Oudot La Verne, a merchant tanner, married in 1582 and a little later Alexandre Oudot was curé of Verne.
  3. Almost certainly lost or disposed of following the suppression of religious life during the Revolution.
  4. Re-emerged recently in France


Principally Latin with some French. The volume comprises: a Calendar (fol. 1r); Readings from the Gospels (fol. 14r); the Hours of the Virgin, with Matins (fol. 20r), Lauds (fol. 34r), Prime (fol. 48r), Terce (fol. 55r), Sext (fol. 60r), Nones (fol. 64r), Vespers (fol. 68r), and Compline (fol. 76r); Hours of the Cross (fol. 83r); Hours of the Holy Spirit (fol. 87v); the Obsecro te and O intemerata (fol. 91v), followed by the Sept joies de la Vierge, Dulcissime domine and the Sept joies again in Latin; Penitential Psalms (fol. 103v) followed by a Litany; the Office of the Dead (fol. 127v); and Suffrages to the Saints (fol. 144r).


The miniatures here with their distinctively stout bodied figures and split eyes identify this as the work of a Besançon artist working in the second quarter of the fifteenth century (cf. F. Avril and Reynaux, Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440-1520, 1993, no. 109). Our artist has been attributed to the painter of another Book of Hours, Use of Autun, now BnF., NAL. 3118, a follower of the artist of BnF., lat. 1186 (Book of Hours, Use of Langres) and New York, Morgan Library, M. 293 (Book of Hours, Use of Besançon).

The miniatures are: (i) fol. 20r, the Annunciation to the Virgin within a richly decorated interior with a burnished gold background; (ii) fol. 87v, Pentecost, with a gold and coloured tessellated background; (iii) fol. 103v, Judgement Day with Christ seated on a rainbow resting his feet on an orb, all before a dark blue night sky; (iv) fol. 127v, a funeral with hooded and tonsured monks standing before a covered coffin, all before a gold and coloured tessellated background; (v) fol. 144r, Archangel Michael striking a demon, before a gold and coloured tessellated background; (vi) fol. 146r, St. Anne and the Virgin Mary at the Golden Gate; (vii), fol. 151v, St. Nicholas.

An attractive and unusually early bourgeois Book of Hours, remarkably preserving its original decorative binding.


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JOHN, Saint, DIEU, Lodewijk, ed


JOHN, Saint, DIEU, Lodewijk, ed. Gelyānā dhe-Yūḥannān Ḳaddīshā. Id est, Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis.

Leiden, ex typographia Elzeviriana, 1627.


[BIBLE]. Epistolae quatuor…

Leiden, Bonaventurae & Abrahami Elzevir, 1630.


EDITIONES PRINCIPES. Small 4to. 2 parts in 1, pp. (xx) 211 (i); (x) 66. Syriac, Hebrew, Greek and Roman letter, quadruple column. Title with woodcut architectural border to first, titles in red and black, printer’s device to verso of last leaf of first, woodcut initials and ornaments. Light water stain from upper gutter towards margin, another to lower outer corner in part II, extending to text on last five ll. Very good copies in contemporary vellum, yapp edges, couple of minor scratches to upper board, hinges starting, upper partly detached, one final ep leaf loose, small ms. ‘A/90’ and C18 ms. ‘Ja[me]s Robertson Ellis(?)’ to final eps.

Very good copies of these beautifully printed, polyglot ‘editiones principes’, with Syrian, Greek, Hebrew and Roman types. ‘The Elzevirs had 8 special journeymen and 5 correctors working only for the oriental press. They were all inscribed as students of the university. […] Between 1626 and 1642 they produced 13 well-printed books, most of which were published for the students of Hebrew and oriental languages at the university’ (‘Leiden’, 38-9). The Hebrew types were the same used at the Plantin press under Franciscus Raphelengius, former professor of Hebrew at Leiden; the Syriac came from the matrices used at the press of the great orientalist Thomas Erpenius, which were bought by Isaac Elzevir, together with the Arabic, Ethiopic and Samaritan types (McKitterick, ‘History’, 184). The Apocalypse in Syriac is a ‘very careful, conscientious and scholarly’ edition, still in use (Hall, ‘Syriac Apocalypse’, 134). It was edited by the Dutch minister and orientalist Lodewijk (or Louis) de Dieu (1590-1642) from a ms. bequeathed by Joseph Scaliger to the library of the University of Leiden. The ‘Apocalypse’ did not form part of the Syriac New Testament in any of its versions (Peshitto, Harklensian, Jerusalem or Curetonian). This edition features, in four columns, the Syriac text, the text transliterated into Hebrew (with vocalization), a Latin translation of the Syriac and the customary Greek text (Hall, ‘Syriac Apocalypse’, 134-35). Often bound with ‘Apocalypsis’, ‘Epistolae quatuor’ was produced, with the same four column structure, from a ms. preserved at the Bodleian. It includes the Syriac text of Peter’s second, John’s second and third, and Jude’s epistles—their first appearance in print, as they were not present in the Syriac canon or the European editions of the Syriac New Testament. The editor, Edward Pococke (1604-91), was a theologian and the first professor of Arabic at Oxford. He dedicated the edition to the Dutch classicist Gerard Vossius, whilst Lodewijk Dieu oversaw the practicalities of its publication.

This copy of ‘Epistolae’ bears the reprinted preliminary A2-A3 in the correct position. Due to an initial printing flaw affecting the penultimate line of the dedication, they had to be redone, and are sometimes bound at rear (Willems 334).

I: Willems 289; Copinger 1310; Darlow & Moule 1438.

II: Willems 334; Copinger 3653; Darlow & Moule 1440.

J.H. Rubin, Perishing Heathens (Lincoln, 2017); I.H. Hall, ‘The Syriac Apocalypse’, Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis 2 (1882), 134-51; D. McKitterick, A History of Cambridge University Press: Volume 1 (Cambridge, 1992); ‘Leiden’, in Hebrew Typography in the Northern Netherlands, ed. L. Fuks et al. (Leiden, 1984).


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Novum […] Testamentum Syriace. Cum versione Latina.

Köthen, [Fürstliche Druckerei], 1621.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. pp. (viii) 843 (i). Large Syriac letter, with Roman, little Italic, Greek or Hebrew. Printer’s woodcut device to t-p, woodcut headpieces. T-p a little dusty, general toning, ink burn affecting a letter to Q1 , another to lower blank margin of 4Z 1 . A good, clean copy in C19 half calf over marbled boards, spine gilt and tooled in blind, repaired at foot, gilt-lettered, all edges blue, corners repaired. Early annotations in Greek, Latin or Syriac to pastedowns and occasionally to text, C19 autograph ‘Henry D.A. Major’ to rear pastedown,ex-libris in Greek letters dated 27 Oct 1844 and bookplate ‘ex bibliotheca Aulae Hrypensis Oxonii’ (Ripon Hall) to front pastedown.

A good, clean copy, in large Syriac typeface, of the first edition of the New Testament prepared by the major orientalist Martin Trost. This is also one of the earliest works produced by Prince Ludwig of Anhalt’s printing press in Köthen. These were part of a series of textbooks for the study of languages produced for a project led by Wolfgang Rietke, a Lutheran education reformer, with the Prince’s support (Ball, ‘Alles’, 391). Rietke also established a school in Köthen, where he resided until 1622. It was whilst working there after a theology degree at Wittenberg, that Trost (1588-1636) published his Syriac New Testament, with the Gospels and Pauline letters. His sources were mainly the editio princeps of the Syriac text (or ‘peshitta’), first published by Alfred Widmanstadt in Vienna in 1555, followed by Tremelli’s 1569 edition, the Antwerp Polyglot (1569-72), Plantin’s 1574 edition and Boderianus’s 1584 polyglot (Darlow & Moule 8958). On each page is a Syriac section with, below, its Latin translation based on Tremelli’s. Trost’s was ‘the first to set the useful example, followed by many […], of giving a complete table of the variations of text, which by this time had become somewhat numerous’ (‘Printed Editions’, 283-84). The early student annotators of this copy, also learned in Hebrew and Greek, often glossed Syriac words with their Latin counterparts—e.g., ‘transgressors’ of the divine law—and even corrected the Latin, e.g., substituting ‘concupiscat illam’ for the more literal ‘adulterium committat cum ea’. This copy was in the library of Henry Dewsbury Alves Major (1871-1961), an Anglican clergyman, born in England, who lived most of his life in New Zealand. As a student at Oxford, he focused on the Synoptic Gospels and their authorship. He was rector of Ripon Hall school for the clergy.

Darlow & Moule 8958; Bircher, Kat. der Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft, 64. Not in BL STC Ger. C17. ‘The Printed Editions of the Syriac New Testament’, Church Quarterly Review 52 (1888), 257-94; G. Ball, ‘Alles zu Nutzen’, in The Reach of the Republic of Letters, ed. A. van Dixhoorn et al. (Leiden, 2008), I, 389-422.


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BOOK OF HOURS. Use of Paris, French and Latin.

[northern France (doubtless Paris), c. 1440-50]


Miniature illuminated manuscript on vellum. 105 x 70mm 226 leaves (plus later paper endleaves), bound tightly and uncollatable, wanting 5 leaves (with illuminations). Single column, 15 lines of lettre bâtarde (some Calendar entries also in blue and liquid gold), capitals touched in pale yellow, rubrics (some in elaborate calligraphic strokes), small initials in liquid gold on blue and burgundy grounds, larger 2-line initials in blue or pink enclosing coloured foliage on gold grounds, line-fillers in same, numerous pages with decorated panels of border foliage in single-line terminating in gold flowers and fruit entwined with more realistic foliage with blue and red flowers, some tendrils loosely locked together with gold ‘O’-like bands, twelve three-quarter miniatures, within thin gold frames, similar gold frame around the text with full decorated borders of foliage as before, coloured acanthus leaf sprays at corners, one leaf with a forgotten section of text added in the lower margin, seventeen pages with blank spaces filled with coats-of-arms of later owners (see below). Vertical margin cut from fol. 223, some chipping to miniatures in places, thumbing and smudging to some edges affecting decorated borders in places, overall in good condition.; French eighteenth calf over pasteboards, gilt tooled spine with foliage and “Heures en Latin / Mss sur velin”, marbled endleaves, some bumps and chips to edges, but overall good and solid.


  1. Written and illuminated in Paris for, most probably, a local patron (note St. Genevieve, the patron of the city, in the Calendar, in gold on 3 January). Contemporary or near-contemporary inscriptions in French added to the foot of two leaves (now erased, but easily visible under UV light) perhaps added by this patron, as well as the numerous pilgrim badges once stitched to a blank page and lower margins of other leaves at the end of the volume (note prick marks and circular discolouration there).
  2. In ownership of family whose various but repeated coats-of-arms were added to originally blank space on no less than seventeen occasions. Some of these arms are in trick or were left incomplete, but those that are finished show them all to be arms of various branches of a single family.


The text includes (i) a Calendar; (ii) Gospel Readings; (iii) the Obsecro te (here named the “oratio valde devota”); (iv) the O intemerata (here “Orisonde notre dame”); (v) Passion Reading from John; (vi) prayers to the Virgin, wanting first leaf, and ending with the Ave marie gratia plena; (vii) the Hours of the Virgin, with Matins, Lauds (wanting first leaf), Prime (wanting first leaf), Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers and Compline; (viii) the Seven Penitential Psalms, ending in a Litany; (ix) the Hours of the Cross; (x) the Office of the Dead; (xi) Suffrages to the saints; followed by (xii) nine leaves of contemporary added prayers.


The figures with their oval faces, drooping noses and eyes formed by black dots hanging down from single-stroke eyelids, as well as the sumptuous interiors, identify the artist as a follower of the Maître de Coëtivy, who flourished in Paris from 1450 (see F. Avril & N. Reynaud, Les Manuscrits à Peintures en France, 1140-1520, BnF, Paris, 1993, pp. 58-69).

The miniatures here are: (i) John writing a scroll in a rocky landscape; (ii) the Pieta, the Virgin and Child flanked by angels; (iii) the Annunciation to the Virgin; (iv) the Visitation of the Three Magi; (v) the Presentation in the Temple; (vi) the Flight into Egypt; (vii) the Crucifixion; (viii) a funeral scene with clergy singing from open books before a coffin; (ix) St. John the Baptist; (x) St. Sebastian; (xi) a male saint with a palm of martyrdom.


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[BIBLE] The booke of common prayer and administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the Church of England.

London, printed by Robert Barker, printer to the Kings most excellent Maiesty: and by the assignes of Iohn Bill, 1634

The Whole Booke of Psalmes: Collected into English meter, By Thomas Sternhold, John Hopkins, and others. 

London: Printed by T. P. for the Company of Stationers, 1633


4to. Two vols in one. 1) 256 unnumbered leaves. A-2I⁸. 2) ff. [i], 30, 13, 31, 33-47, 47-125, [vii]: A-M⁸, lacking final index leaf M8. Black letter, some Roman and Italic.  Title printed in red and black within woodcut allegorical border incorporating the royal arms at head, calendar in red and black, title for the Psalms within architectural woodcut border, woodcut initials and headpieces, typographical ornaments, engraved armorial bookplate of Thomas Lancaster on pastedown, Robert S Pirie’s on rear pastedown. Light age yellowing, first title, slightly dusty, torn in lower outer corner affecting woodcut border and contents on verso, light marginal soiling and spotting on a few leaves. A very good copy in splendid contemporary calf, covers bordered with a double gilt rule, large gilt stamped corner-pieces, large arms of Charles I gilt stamped at centres, semée of thistle tools gilt, spine anciently rebacked with original spine laid down intact, all over design of repeated scroll tools, joints cracked, extremity of lower corners repaired, all edges richly gilt and gauffered.

A very handsome copy of this Book of Common prayer from the Laudian heyday, completed with the Psalter, both charmingly printed in Black letter, in a beautiful contemporary Royal binding with the arms of Charles I. The binding is similar in style to one in the British library shelfmark c47k4 also with Charles royal arms, on a work dated 1635, with a semé of tools and large blocked corner-pieces. It is possible the binding was made for use in one of the Royal chapels. 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 to which it eventually became. The Booke of Common prayer contains, “A proclamation for the authorizing an uniformitie of the Booke of Common Prayer to bee used throughout the Realme.” This proclamation was put into practise with the production of a Book of Common Prayer for Scotland with disastrous results. “King Charles was firmly of a mind to extend Anglican forms to Scotland, particularly as expressed in the Book of Common Prayer, and the great majority of the Scottish people were equally determined to resist. Charles was not one for compromise, and so had the Scottish Bishops, with the approval of Archbishop William Laud, draw up a Book of Common Prayer for Scotland. This Book was promulgated in 1637 and was immediately denounced by the Scottish people; it was never even put into use”  The Book of Common Prayer for Scotland (1637). It caused riots on its first use in St. Giles Church in Edinburgh.

“The English Book of Common Prayer was 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)

A very beautiful contemporary Royal binding. 

ESTC S122865. STC 16397 2) ESTC S122866. STC 2641.


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La Bibbia cioè i libri del vecchio e del nuovo testamento.

[Geneva, [n.p.],] 1607.


FIRST EDITION thus. Large 4to. pp. (iv) 847 (i) 178 (ii) 314, lacking final blank as often. Roman letter, little Italic, double column. Fine woodcut vignette to t-p, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. T-p dust-soiled, early ex-libris below title cut out, and repaired, lower edge of t-p and last few ll. little frayed, uniform age yellowing, couple of marginal tears to pp. 249-52, ancient repair to one lower outer corner. A good copy in C17 probably German deer skin, traces of ties, rebacked, covers gilt to a panel design, outer border single gilt ruled to a floral decoration, centre panel with gilt fleurons to corners and large gilt floral centrepiece, C18 gilt stamped oval wreath with arms of the Duchy of Bavaria (post-1777), few very minor repairs to edges. C19 ex-libris ‘J.D. Glennie, Green Street, Grosvenor Sq’ to front pastedown, C18 inscriptions ‘Collect. Biblior.’ and ‘C.F. Hurlebusch à Stockholm 1725’ inked to fep, erased early ex-libris ‘Giovanni (?) and autograph ‘C.J. Hurleb:’ to t-p, stamp ‘Duplum Bibliotheca R. Monac.’ to verso of t-p, armorial bookplate ‘C.T. Bibliotheca Palatina’ to rear pastedown, occasional French, Italian and Hebrew annotation.

First edition of the first Italian translation of the Bible expressly devised for exiled Protestant Italian communities. Its translator, Giovanni Diodati (1576-1649) was an Italian-born Calvinist whose family fled to Geneva to escape persecution. After studying theology, Aramaic and Hebrew with some of the greatest Protestant intellectuals including Theodor de Beza and Casaubon, he was appointed professor of Hebrew at the Geneva Academy; he represented Geneva at the synod of Dordrecht of 1618-19 and was admired as a theologian by James I of England. Italian translations, based on the Vulgate, had first appeared in the late C15; during the Council of Trent, one of their translators was burnt on the stake. The ‘Bibbia diodatina’ provided a reliable vernacular text, very successful among the few, small Italian Protestant communities gathered in Switzerland. Unlike other vernacular translations like the King James Bible, it was the result of individual rather than group work and reflected not so much the contemporary language but the dated vernacular of Protestant exiles, more reminiscent of C16 Italian, due to their linguistic isolation (Fiume, ‘Giovanni Diodati’, 95-96, 98). Through the addition of section introductions and marginal commentary, Diodati created a powerful instrument for the individual reading of the Scriptures (including the Apocrypha), as expressed by the prefacing quotation from Timothy 3:16-17: ‘All Scriptures are divinely inspired and useful to teach, reproach, correct and instruct in justice.’ A beautifully bound theological masterpiece of intriguing provenance.

This copy belonged to the German composer, organist and harpsichordist Conrad Friedrich Hurlebusch (1691-1765). In 1723, upon the invitation of the King of Sweden, he moved to Stockholm—hence the ex-libris on this copy—where he was appointed chamber musician; he returned to Germany in 1725 after failing to be appointed court organist (‘The Cambridge Companion to the Harpsichord’, 79, 229). In the course of the C17, it was probably in the hands of an Italian—a Giovanni whose ex-libris was erased and who wrote the Italian marginalia; it was also owned by a French speaker—probably a contemporary Swiss Protestant—occasionally adding French translations of Italian words. It was acquired by the Bibliotheca Palatina (Royal Library) of Bavaria during the reign of the Elector Charles Theodor (1777-99), whose initials appear on the bookplate; the gilt arms of Bavaria also reflect his revisions. Founded in the mid-C16 by Duke Albrecht V, the Bibliotheca Palatina in Munich (later Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) reached 17,000 volumes by 1600 and included major collections such as that of Johann Jakob Fugger. With the secularization of Bavaria in 1803 it acquired half a million volumes from Bavarian monasteries, many of which, like this copy, were later sold as duplicates. In the C19, this copy was acquired by the English Rev. J.D. Glennie of Grosvenor Square.

BL STC It. C17, p. 107; Brunet I, 894-95 (under 1641 ed.); Darlow-Moule 5598. E. Fiume, ‘Giovanni Diodati:

Il creatore della Bibbia evangelica italiana nel XVII secolo’, in Bibelübersetzung und (Kirchen-)Politik, ed. M. Mülke and L. Vogel (Gottingen, 2015), 95-104.


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Leabhuir ná seintiomna… The books of the Old Testament translated into Irish by… Doctor William Bedel. 

London, [s.n.], anno Dom. 1685.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [ii], 1142, [ii]. [without first blank] Gaelic letter, title in Roman and Gaelic, ruled in double column. Title within double line border woodcut initials. Light age yellowing, very occasional minor spotting. A very good copy, clean and crisp in contemporary speckled calf, covers bordered with a blind rule, spine with raised bands blind ruled in compartments, edges speckled red, pastedowns (but not endpapers) renewed. 

The rare, beautifully printed and important first edition of the Old Testament in Irish, translated by William Bedell with the assistance of O Cionga, revised by Andrew Sall, Narcissus Marsh, and others. This version of the Old Testament was published over 40 years after the death of the principal translator William Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore (1571-1642), and 83 years after the first edition of the New Testament in Irish (Dublin, 1602). It was printed anonymously in an edition of about 500 copies, largely at the expense of Robert Boyle, who provided the type.

“Although the Irish Old testament was published in 1685, the Genesis of the translation dated as far back as the late 1620’s. William Bedell, whose experience as chaplain during the years 1607-10/11 to Sir Henry Wotton, English ambassador to Venice, refined his appreciation of cultural and linguistic diversity, conceived and funded the project for the Irish translation of the Old Testament. .. As early as 1628, Bedell had enlisted the expertise of Muircheartach O Cionga, a member of a midlands bardic family, first to translate the Psalms and afterwards the rest of the Old testament and Apocrypha. Bedell had ordained O Cionga and provided him with a living in Kilmore Diocese .. By 1634 Bedell reported that the translation of the Old Testament was in hand and that he was having a fair copy of the text compiled. The Irish translation was made from the King James Bible of 1611 and complemented by revisions to the text made by Bedell based on comparative readings of the original Hebrew text, the Septuagint, and Giovani’s Diodati’s Italian translation of the Bible. However the contribution of O Cionga was central to the translation process. The publication of Bedell’s Old Testament in 1685 were made possible by the financial support and evangelical commitment of Robert Boyle (1627-91) .. Boyle funded the casting of a new font of Irish type, produced by the printer and globe maker Joseph Moxon in London and modelled on the type produced by the Irish Franciscans in Louvain. Henry Jones provided Sall with the surviving manuscript of Bedell’s Old Testament in 1681. Sall in a letter to Boyle described the manuscript as a ‘confused heap, pitifully defaced and broken’. .. Although it had been planned to publish the Old Testament by public subscription, ultimately Boyle appears to have funded the entire project. The first sheet of Genesis was printed in 1682 and the Psalms were being printed by early 1685. The remaining work, with the exception of the Apocrypha, which Boyle decided not to print, was completed by the end of 1685. .. (Despite) the various editorial interventions during the preparation of the Old Testament, the printed text is essentially that translated under Bedell’s supervision.” The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, C. 1530-1700. 

A very well preserved and fresh copy of this important and rare first edition. 

ESTC R23375 Wing B2759A. Darlow & Moule 5534. 


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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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[BIBLE] Biblia Latinogallica

La Bible françoiselatine, qui est toute la Saincte Escriture, contenant le Vieil & Nouueau Testament, ou Alliance

Geneva, de l’imprimerie de Iaques Bourgeois, pour Estienne Anastase, 1568


Folio. ff. [vi], 394, 98, 126, [vi]. [*⁶, a-z⁶, A-Z⁶, 2a-2t⁶, 2 v⁴, 2A-2P⁶, 2Q⁸, 2A-2Y⁶.]. Roman letter in double column, some Italic. Large woodcut printer’s device on title, numerous woodcut illustrations in text, later engraved map of the Terra Sancta tipped on t-p, extra illustrated with woodcuts from an earlier French bible, woodcut initials and typographical ornaments, engraved bookplate of Maurice Burrus on fly. Light age yellowing very light minor spotting in places. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in fine contemporary possibly Swiss calf, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, alternate panels filled with fine floral and scrolled gilt rolls, outer corners with gilt block stamped strap-work corner-pieces, fleurons gilt to outer corners of both middle panels, large central block stamped strap-work arabesque, with large corner-pieces of gilt stamped pelicans, and an outer frieze of gilt hunting scenes,  with dogs and boars in a landscape, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, four fleurons with floral wreaths gilt in each compartment, all edges richly gilt and gauffered, remains of green silk ties, joints a little cracked, early restoration to head and tail, extremities a little rubbed.

A very handsome copy of this uncommon polyglot Latin and French bible, beautiful bound in a most unusual binding, incorporating a very distinctive and charming hunting scene. The bindings seems to be transitionary between mid and late C16th styles; the slightly archaic use of the block stamped corner-pieces, and central arabesque, contrasts with the fine scrollwork of the panels. The Bible is not just beautifully bound it is also extra illustrated, bound with a series of woodcuts from another bible, and again, at a later date, with the tipping in of a fine engraved map of the Holy land by Paul Godet Des Marais. The extra illustrated woodcuts have all had their binding instructions inked over but have been placed in the text where they should correctly appear. Chambers describes the Bible;”Geneva version (independent revision drawing on nearly all previous versions for the OT, N1560 for NT; eclectic choice of arguments and chapter summaries; very few marginal notes). The Latin is the Pagninus version according to LeLong. This edition was printed by Jaques Bourgeois for himself, Estienne Anastasse, and Louis Cloquemin; it was reissued, with slight Changes in 1572 by Sebastien Honorati. …The NT is the Calvin-Beza revision (first published in 1560 by Robert Estienne) which was to remain authoritative until the definitive revision of 1588.”

A most beautifully bound and intriguing polyglot Bible.

Chambers, French Bibles 15-16th, n° 395. Delaveau-Hillard, Bibles Paris, n° 592. Not in Darlowe and Moule or BM STC Fr. C16th.


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Novum Testamentum graece, cum vulgata interpretatione latina graeci contextus lineis inserta.

[Geneva], Apud Petrum de La Roviere, 1619.


8vo. pp (xvi) 1082. (vi). [par]8, A‐3Y8. (last two blank). Greek and Roman letter, some Italic. Small woodcut printer’s device on title, woodcut initials and headpieces, typographical ornaments, manuscript ex-dono “Donum Anne Radcliffe fac: Theol: Bacc: Oct 4 1623” on fly, later autograph ‘Barbet’ with shelf mark below, book-labels of ‘E. Almack’ and ‘M.A. Colson’, manuscript register of the births of the Saunders family 1629-1643 on following flyleaves. Light age yellowing, some minor light, mostly marginal spotting, the occasional mark or spot, quires Bb-Cc with early restoration in blank outer margins, small hole at blank gutter of title restored on verso. A good copy in sumptuous contemporary English tan morocco, covers bordered with a single gilt rule with gilt dentelle roll, double hatched circles gilt to corners and centre around which a highly intricate all over design of gilt small, and pointillé tools, including gilt scrolled tools, leafy sprays, gilt hatched leaves, flat spine, gilt ruled into four compartments, worked with gilt scrolled tools around the same double hatched circles gilt as the covers, edges gilt ruled with dentelle roll, a.e.g, small split in lower outer joint restored, small early restoration to joints, a little rubbed at extremities. In folding box.

A most interesting and superbly bound copy of Arias Montanus’ Greek New Testament with the interlinear Latin translation, in a richly worked contemporary English, most probably London, binding, with fascinating early English provenance; the gift of Ann Radcliffe one of the the first patrons of Harvard College. The binding is a good example of the best bindings of the period, extremely finely and delicately worked for its size, densely tooled in gilt to an intricate all over design. The shape of the Bible with its large flat spine allowed the binder to create four panels on the spine mirroring those of the covers. The boards of the binding were made using waste from a 16mo. edition of the James I bible, printed in a minuscule Roman letter, unfortunately we have not been able to identify which printing.

The books first provenance is fascinating and important; Anne Radcliffe who first gifted this work, (to a theology student, probably Thomas Saunders), and who most probably had it so richly bound, is Ann Radcliffe Mowlson, wife of Thomas Mowlson, Lord Mayor of London, one of the first benefactors of Harvard college, and for whom Radcliffe College in Harvard is named. “Lady Mowlson’s bequest in 1643 funded Harvard’s first endowed scholarship. Lady Mowlson, née Ann Radcliffe, was born in 1576. She married alderman Thomas Mowlson, who later served as Lord Mayor of London. Upon her husband’s death in 1638, Lady Mowlson inherited half of his considerable estate. In 1641, the Massachusetts General Court authorized three local ministers, Hugh Peter, Thomas Weld, and William Hibbens, to travel to England to raise money for the colony and for the nascent College. During that mission, Weld met with Lady Mowlson, who, on May 9, 1643, bequeathed £100 to be used for the “maintenance of some poor scholler.” Lady Mowlson died in 1661. Radcliffe College was named in her honor in 1894.” Harvard University Archives. ‘Collections highlights’ on the Mowlson bequest. The endowment Radcliffe made in 1643 not only established the first scholarship at Harvard, it also marked Radcliffe as the first female donor to Harvard University, and in 1894, the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women became Radcliffe College. The college merged with Harvard in 1999 and is now the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. This ex-dono makes it clear that Ann Radcliffe had supported other “poor schollers” even before her donation to Harvard. “Ann was born in London ..child of Anthony and Elizabeth Radcliffe. The Radcliffe’s were a successful family.. On 15 December 1600 Ann married Thomas Mowlson a prominent merchant. Together the couple ran an inn in St. Christopher’s Parish, London. During Thomas’s life, the wealthy innkeeper was extremely generous in giving to educational charities within his community. Upon Mowlson’s death, Ann received half of her husbands estate as well as full authority over his will, which she used productively to make several smart and successful business deals.. In addition to making clever business decisions, Ann also became very involved with religious causes. As a Puritan Ann gave large donations to Puritan parishes and loaned money to Parliament to help protect Puritan interests. In 1644 Ann also advanced a large sum of money to to aide the Scottish army who were moving south to support parliament.” Alyson Alvarez. “A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen: Exemplary Lives.” As an extremely rich gift binding it must have been the treasured possession of the Saunders family. It is probable that the family, whose records of birth are recorded on the front flyleaves, is that of Beechwood Park in Hertfordshire, later the Sebrights. Perhaps Ann Saunders, recorded as born in 1633, was named after the owners first benefactor?

The text of the New Testament, (the perfect gift for a Theology Scholar) interlined in Greek and Latin is that established by the Spanish priest and Orientalist, Arias Montanus (Benedictus) first printed by Plantin in Antwerp in 1569-72, under the patronage of Philip II who entrusted him with the editing of the Polyglot Bible. In the New Testament Montanus changed only a few words from the Vulgate version, where he found it to differ from the Greek. His revision was very frequently printed in various sizes. Arias was an upright, sincerely orthodox Romanist, but he was a declared enemy of the Jesuits, and they omitted no opportunity to attack his work. For his work on the Polyglot Bible Montanus was accused of Judaizing, on account of his insertion of certain Aramaic paraphrases tending to confirm the Jews in their claims. He made many voyages to Rome to justify himself, and in 1580 was honorably dismissed, and was acquitted of the charge through a favourable report on the matter by the inquisitor, P. Mariana (1580). He was also the translator of Benjamin of Tudela’s “Travels” into Latin,  amongst many other works.

An exceptional gift binding with most interesting provenance.

Darlowe and Moule 4667. Bibles imprimées, 3855. Not in BM STC.


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