Sims Reed Rare Books×

The Queen's Bible. 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

Frith, Francis

Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. William Mackenzie. 1862–1863
The magnificent 'Queen's Bible' illustrated with original photographs by Francis Frith and in elaborate decorative red morocco with extensive furniture by Leighton.

First edition limited to 170 copies in the magnificent red morocco binding by Leighton with the Queen's monogram.

Produced for the Great London Exhibition of 1862, Frith and Mackenzie's great Queen's Bible is a stunning example of deluxe Victorian book production and the most expensive book issued by Frith with a subscription price of 50 guineas.

Francis Frith (1822 - 1898), the inaugurator of 'the first golden age of albumen-silver photographic illustration', was an early proponent of photography as the equal of the other arts and sought to bring his work to as wide and varied an audience as possible. His extensive travels in the Middle East - he made three tours in the 1850s - provided him with a wealth of images of the Holy Land, Egypt, Syria and the Levant which he published in a series of extraordinary illustrated books. Frith's images are highly regarded in terms of their aesthetic qualities but also in terms of his facility as a technician - he developed his pictures himself, often in extreme conditions, using the new wet collodion process, often in a tent. In this work, the most modern of artistic techniques is used to illustrate one of the most ancient of texts, a case ' ... in which art aspires to serve as the handmaid of revelation' (from the Royal privilege leaf).

'At the height of his career in the early 1860s, Francis Frith was a skilled and shrewd producer of books, with kenn marketing abilities and an acute understanding of popular taste ... The luxury pesentation of The Holy Bible - bound in rich red morocco leather, gold letterpress, and finished with bronze clasps - along with its high cost and limited availability made it appropriate for a well-travelled Victorian owner, one likely to be familiar with the place names and incidents of scripture.' (Imagining Paradise).

[Darlow & Moule 1217; see pp. 68 - 69 in 'Imagining Paradise - The Richard and ROnay Menschel Library at George Eastman House, Rochester'].
2 vols. Large folio. (480 x 370 mm). Half-title, title with vignette Royal arms to each volume, Royal privilege to vol. I title verso, leaf with dedication to the Queen, leaf with dedication to James I, 'The Translators to the Readers', two leaves 'Family Register' with pictorial head-piece and decorative rules bound between the Old and New Testaments, title to the New Testament, text and 57 wet collodion albumen prints each mounted to larger sheets of card, each with printed caption and reference to the text. Original full red morocco by Leighton, boards with elaborate decorative tooling in blind surrounding a central lozenge with the Royal monogram (VR) with coronet and gilt decorative tools, banded spines with titles gilt and decorative tools in eight compartments, boards with brass edges, mounts and clasps, dentelles with elaborate gilt decorative tooling, marbled endpapers, a.e.g.

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