The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, Appointed to be Read in Churches, 1887

The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, Translated out of the Original Tongues: And with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised, by His Majesty’s Special Command. Appointed to be Read in Churches. Oxford: The University Press, 1885. With original full burgundy leather and gilded boards. Gilded edges. Presented with a custom-made archival clamshell box. 

Presented is a beautifully restored and exquisitely bound Holy Bible from 1887.  It contains both the Old and New Testaments, "translated out of original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared and revised, by His Majesty’s special command." It features several pages of full color maps, as well as an ornate presentation page, marriage certificate, temperance pledge page, and family pages. 

This bible was produced as a family bible, to be handed down through a family with each successive generation. Family bibles were used as a marker of each married couple’s journey through life and the family’s history was commonly recorded in the bible. This bible features a presentation page, a beautifully illustrated marriage certificate, pages for marriages, births, and deaths, as well as a family temperance pledge page. The family pages of this bible are blank, and could still be filled in and used as originally intended by whoever purchases this bible. Family bibles, often very large and elaborately decorated, first came into popularity during the Victorian era in the United Kingdom. Afterwards, the family bible was seen throughout Europe and eventually made its way into American households.

This bible was printed by The University Press, in Oxford, England, for the British and Foreign Bible Society. The British and Foreign Bible Society was one of the first Bible societies in the world. It was founded in 1804 at the urging of Welsh religious leader Thomas Charles and members of the Clapham sect, who proposed the idea of making vernacular translations of the Scriptures available to peoples of all nationalities and languages, at a price they could actually afford to pay. It also offered financial assistance to Bible societies in other countries.

This bible’s period binding is exquisite, with gilt-tooled front and back full burgundy leather boards. The spine has six gilt-tooled compartments, raised bands, and gilt titles. The paper edges are gilded and the bible is presented with a new, custom-made archival clamshell box. 

The advent of the printing press encouraged the craft of books that the small, literate class valued as works of art. Intricately bound books fell out of style in the late 18th century, but in the late 19th century, a resurgence of sumptuously bound special editions of bibles, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and poetry countered the popularity of cheaper, popular dime novels. Several publishers sought to elevate the book back to a piece of artistry that would be cherished for generations to come, and used expensive leathers, handmade marbled boards, gilt details, metal clasps, and gauffered edges to do so. This is one such example of the exquisite book artistry created during that time. 


Very good condition. Original full burgundy leather front and back boards, with intricate gilt tooling. The spine has raised bands, six compartments, gilt titles, and tooling.  Gilded edges. Interior pages are very healthy. With several pages of full-color maps.  Original marriage certificate page, restored facsimile presentation, marriages, births, deaths, and temperance pages. 

The bible has been professionally restored and preserved. Bible is housed in a new, custom-made leather grained cloth clamshell case. Case is archival and features a gilt cross stamp to the front and gilt titles to the spine.

Bible Dimensions: 11 1/2" H x 9 1/4" W x 2 3/4" D. Clamshell Dimensions: 13" H x 10 1/4" W x 3 5/8" D.

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