THE HOLY BIBLE [preceded by] BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER [and followed by] METRICAL PSALMS.
(Cambridge: Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel, 1638). 365 x 225 mm. (14 3/8 x 8 7/8").  leaves (lacking blank I4 from BOCP); 6 p.l., 642, 151,  (blank) pp.; 1 p.l., 202 pp.; 4 p.l., -90,  pp.
ONCE SPLENDID (AND STILL STRIKING) EARLY 18TH CENTURY RED MOROCCO, ELABORATELY GILT, BY THE GEOMETRICAL COMPARTMENT BINDER, boards exuberantly tooled with the binder's signature square compartments with a semicircle at the center of each side, along with small, strapwork ornaments and many dot and small flower accents, in a design strongly influenced by the French fanfare style, raised bands, spine compartments similarly tooled, gilt lettering, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt, remnants of ties (joints neatly repaired at top and bottom). Title page of Bible with engraved frame featuring figures of Moses, King David, the Evangelists, and a vignette of the Last Supper. Front pastedown with engraved armorial bookplate of Henry Martin Gibbs dated 1891; front flyleaf with partially effaced ink signature of Edward Barrow Evans dated April 27, 1811, and tipped-on signed manuscript note on Gibbs' personal stationery tracing the possible ownership of the volume back through Evans' family; rear pastedown with the bookplate of Lord Wardington. Herbert 520; Griffiths 1638:2; STC 2331, 16410 (BCP), 2682 (Psalms); ESTC S123371, S902, S122380. For the binding: Nixon, Broxbourne Library, 82; Foot, "Henry Davis Gift" II, 146 and 147; Maggs catalogue 1075, nos. 114 and 115. ◆Joints significantly rubbed (but the binding entirely sound), title page of "Common Prayer" defective at lower fore-edge corner (inlaid blank paper costing half the imprint), occasional marginal fraying or tears, a dozen or so of the short tears with early, inexpert paper repairs, lower margin of 3H3 removed with slight loss, other minor imperfections, but an appealing specimen nevertheless, the text generally clean and fresh, and the binding--where the value is--retaining nearly all of its antique charm.
The is a superb example of the binding designs of the Geometrical Compartment Binder, an early 18th century English artisan given this "rather cumbersome" moniker by Nixon, who noted our "craftsman's passion for geometrical patterns based on the French fanfare style" in his discussion of "Styles and Designs of Bookbindings" held by the Broxbourne Library. Our binding features "his favourite element . . . the square with a semicircle in the center of each side," prominent as well in the Broxbourne specimen. It also incorporates the tool used as the centerpiece of Davis Gift #146 (also British Library Database of Bookbindings shelfmark Davis133), composed of two oval chain links entwined to form a cross. Also conspicuous here is a "roundabout" tool, a strapwork circle with an open loop at the center of each side, rather resembling a traffic circle. While the binding is the scene-stealer, the text is also significant as the first major revised edition of the King James Bible, with standardized use of italics and changes to some readings. According to Herbert, "this remained the standard text until the publication of Dr Paris' Cambridge edition of 1762." Bindings by the Geometrical Compartment Binder are uncommon in the marketplace: RBH finds none at auction since 2007, and only three, including this volume and another Bible from the Wardington sale, since 1964. (Lhi21038)