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].

Folio, 2 vols in one; pp. [16], 1103, 258, [2 blank], [2], 338, with an engraved title page by Pierre Lombart after Diepenbeck showing Solomon enthroned, a facing full-page engraving of the royal arms by Hollar (Pennington 2422), a double-page engraving of Adam and Eve in the Garden by Lombart; and six [of ideally seven] plates by Hollar: four double-page illustrations of the Temple of Solomon (Pennington 1131, 1134, 1135 and 1136), a double-page map of Palestine (Pennington 692) and a very large folding panorama of Jerusalem (Pennington 1130); wanting the separate title page for vol. II (it would have to be an inserted leaf as there is no break in the register, so was perhaps it was only used when the work was bound in two volumes); separate title-page for New Testament dated 1659; woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces; marginal tape repairs to a few leaves in Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and Amos, else an excellent copy, though bound without the 1660 Prayer Book in late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century dark-blue straight-grain morocco, gilt, neatly rebacked; engraved silver corner pieces and clasps, London hallmarks, maker’s mark ‘WC’; all edges gilt.


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

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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.

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 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’). 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).

Darlow, Moule and Herbert 668; Wing B 2256.