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The Holy Bible Containing the Old Testament and th

 
The Holy Bible Containing the Old Testament and th by 'A.M.' (1658)

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Author: 'A.M.'
Title: The Holy Bible Containing the Old Testament and the New
 
Year: 1658
Publisher: John Field, one of his Highness's Printers
Place: London
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
 
Price: £3000
 
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Added under Rare books

Superb 'pearl' Bible presented as a love token and bound in sealskin with silver furniture and a clasp that reads 'A [heart surmounted by Viscount's coronet] M'.

Full black sealskin binding with four decorative corners and centrepiece to each board, secured to the boards with pins, and incised with floral decorations. The clasp, hinged from the lower board, is fully functional and may indicate a Dutch origin for the binding. Marbled endpapers; engraved title page with the view of London found in the first state (Darlow and Moule 662A) with the word 'Appointed' on the general title; second letter press title page at Nn6.

This tiny duodecimo collates correctly A-ZZ12; after the end of the printed text there are stubs of a couple of blank endpapers which have been removed. The text has been lightly annotated by an early reader, perhaps the newly married Viscountess, mostly with short marginal lines; she has shown an especial interest in the Wisdom books of the Old Testament, a few annotations to Job but shows real interest in Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and particularly the Song of Solomon. A couple of minor blemishes found during collation: cc1 short closed tear to foreedge; cc11 loss to lower outer corner of leaf (Ecclesiastes again); vv10 verso, inky finger mark at tail of page.

The 'Pearl' bible is remarkable for its tiny type and reputed to have been intended for Cromwell's army as a pocket-sized Bible. This volume's elaborate and beautiful binding was clearly made for quite a different purpose, probably in the Low Countries, and likely presented as a wedding present, perhaps from a man 'A' to his spouse 'M' or perhaps to his bride, 'A.M.' although it was not uncommon to reverse initials during the seventeenth century. At all events we have not managed to uncover the identity of either the giver or receiver of this wonderful little book.
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