FROM THE LIBRARY USED BY JANE AUSTEN

The Holy Bible containing the Bookes of the Old and New Testament.

Cambridge … Printed by John Field Printer to the Universitie. And illustrated wth Chorographical Sculps by J[ohn]. Ogilby. 1660[-59].

[bound after:]

BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER (The) … With the Psalter, or Psalmes of David. [Cambridge, John Field], Anno Domini, 1660.

2 vols, folio; volume I: BOCP: ff. [4, royal arms engraved bv Hollar (Pennington 2422), dedication to Charles II], [70]; Bible: pp. [16], 680, with an engraved title page by Pierre Lombart after Diepenbeck showing Solomon enthroned, a double-page engraving of Adam and Eve in the Garden by Lombart, and 5 (of ideally 7, see below) plates by Hollar: a double-page illustration of the Ark of the Covenant (Pennington 1135), a double-page map of Palestine (Pennington 692), and 3 double-page illustrations of the Temple of Solomon (Pennington 1131, 1134, and 1136); volume II: pp. 681-1103, 258, [2 (title page to New Testament)], 338; the medial blank y4 torn away, wanting the separate title page for vol. II (probably only found where sold already bound in two volumes – the present copy was sold in sheets, see below), and the large folding view of Jerusalem (clearly never present); separate title-page for New Testament dated 1659; woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces; early repair to foot of R6 in New Testament, else a fine copy, ruled in red throughout, in handsome contemporary panelled black morocco, the central panel with a roll tool of florets, coronets and birds, pyramids of small tools, centre-piece with thistles, corner-pieces of floriate tools and a larger coronet, spines gilt in seven compartments, orange morocco labels, board edges and turn-ins gilt, all edges gilt; bookplate to front-paste down of Thomas Knight I (1701–1781) or II (1735–1794), Knight family shelf-tickets ‘F 1 11-12’; early paste-on slip with an index of plates in volume I.

£16000

Approximately:
US $21172€18713

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The fine Field–Ogilby folio Bible, perhaps the most impressive English Bible of the seventeenth-century and the first to be issued under Charles II; this is the rare first issue, with plates by Wenceslar Hollar, and is found here with the uniform Book of Common Prayer, printed for Ogilby with a full-page dedication from him to Charles II.

John Field had printed his typographically impressive Bible in Cambridge in 1659, sponsored by the vice-chancellor John Worthington, who recorded that ‘For a fair large letter, large paper, with fair margin, &c., there was never such a Bible in being’ (Diary and Correspondence). However, in anticipation of the Restoration, the enterprising John Ogilby bought up most of the edition, intending to reissue it with his own selection of plates in time for the work to be presented to Charles II on his first arrival at the Royal Chapel at Windsor in 1660.

As well as the new title-page of Solomon (i.e. Charles II) enthroned, Ogilby supplied for this post-Restoration re-issue ‘eight whole sheet engravings, seven of which were by Hollar, and had been intended as illustrations to the Polyglot [1653-7], and one of which was by Lombart’. Only a small number of copies were issued thus, including the one presented to Charles (the so-called ‘Coronation Bible’ recently on exhibition in ‘Charles II: Art and Power’), and another given by Ogilby to the Middle Temple. Most copies were illustrated instead with ‘cuts bought from the Amsterdam publisher, Nicolaes Visscher … Visscher supplied Ogilby with sets of engravings from his own stock, most of which were the work of Cornelis Visscher, after Rubens, de Vos, de Bruyn, Tintoretto and others … Ogilby’s Bible was a very expensive book, and large paper copies of it may have cost as much as £25, even in sheets. It was not a financial success … [but] it presented the standard text of the Authorized Version in perhaps the most impressive form available in the mid-seventeenth century’ (Jim Bennett and Scott Mandelbrote, The Garden, the Ark, the Tower, the Temple, Bodleian exhibition catalogue 1998). This copy was evidently bought in sheets, as the plates bear manuscript binding instructions on the versos.

This Bible is one of the so-called ‘Lost Sheep’ from the library of Godmersham Park at the time Jane Austen was using it in the early nineteenth-century and would have been by some measure the grandest bible in the library at that time. It bears the bookplates of Thomas Knight I (born Thomas Brodnax), of Godmersham, who changed his name first to Thomas May in 1726 and then Thomas Knight in 1738 after a series of inheritances, the last bringing with it the Chawton estates. His son Thomas Knight II, who used the same bookplate, remained childless into later life, adopting Edward Austen (Jane’s brother), who was distantly related; taking the name Edward Austen Knight, he inherited Chawton in 1794 and the other estates in 1812. Jane Austen spent much time in her brother’s libraries at Chawton and at Godmersham Park, where this set stood on the shelves. It is listed in the 1818 Godmersham Park manuscript catalogue as ‘Holy Bible 2 vols 1660’, and in the 1908 Chawton catalogue (Godmersham had been sold in 1874) as ‘Bible and Prayer Book 1660’.

Darlow, Moule and Herbert 668; Griffiths 1660:8; Wing B 3619 and 2256.