Exquisite 19th Century Holy Bible with Double Fore-edge paintings to both volumes
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 the Majesty’s Special Command to be Read in Churches.
Item Number: 98675
Edinburgh: Sir D. Hunter Blair and J. Bruce, Printers to the King's Most Excellent Majesty, 1822.
Elaborately bound Scottish Holy Bible with a double fore-edge painting concealed within each volume. Folio, 2 volumes, bound in full nineteenth century red straight-grain morocco with gilt titles and rich gilt tooling to the spine in six compartments within raised gilt bands, gilt fleuron corner-pieces and blind-stamped central ornaments within elaborate gilt ruling to the front and rear panels, gilt turn-ins and inner dentelles, all edges gilt, cerulean blue endpapers, ribbons bound in, engraved Royal Coat of Arms to the title page. Volume one contains fore-edge paintings of views of Bergen and Arendal. Volume two contains fore-edge paintings of Skien and Christiansund. Gift inscription to the front free endpaper of the first volume, “Mary Ainslie, from her affectionate Father 8th August 1823.” From the library of Caroli Sarolea with his bookplate to each volume. In very good condition with only minor foxing to the front free endpapers and each fore-edge painting exceptionally crisp. An exquisite example.
The earliest fore-edge paintings date possibly as far back as the 10th century; these earliest paintings were symbolic designs. Early English fore-edge paintings, believed to date to the 14th century, presented heraldic designs in gold and other colors. The first known example of a disappearing fore-edge painting (where the painting is not visible when the book is closed) dates from 1649. The earliest signed and dated fore-edge painting dates to 1653: a family coat of arms painted on a 1651 Bible. Around 1750, the subject matter of fore-edge paintings changed from simply decorative or heraldic designs to landscapes, portraits and religious scenes, usually painted in full color. Modern fore-edge painted scenes have a lot more variation as they can depict numerous subjects not found on earlier specimens. These include scenes that are erotic, or they might involve scenes from novels (like Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes or Dickens, etc.). In many cases, the chosen scene will depict a subject related to the book, but in other cases it did not. In one instance, the same New Brunswick landscape was applied to both a Bible and to a collection of poetry and plays. The choice of scenes is made by either the artist, bookseller or owner, thus the variety is wide. The technique was popularized in the 18th century by John Brindley (1732-1756), publisher and bookbinder to the prince of Wales and Edwards of Halifax, a distinguished family of bookbinders and booksellers. The majority of extant examples of fore-edge painting date to the late 19th and early 20th century on reproductions of books originally published in the early 19th century.