Hollar Illustrated King James Bible

[English Bible]. The Holy Bible, Containing the Bookes of the Old & New Testament.
Cambridge: John Field, 1660. (02435)

Prior to 1660, very few editions of the King James Version of the Bible were illustrated, as English Puritans were strongly opposed to the use of religious images. With the Restoration of Charles II in that year, which brought the decline of Puritanism, publishers began to enhance their Bibles with rich programs of illustration. The engraved plates in this ambitious folio Bible of 1660, financed by the publishing entrepreneur John Ogilby (1600–1676), were the work of Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677). These are not narrative scenes but depictions of specific locations and objects, such as the Garden of Eden, the traditional sacerdotal implements, and (exhibited here) Hollar’s impressive bird’s-eye panorama of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Bridwell Library’s copy is one of several copies from this edition that were specially bound in red morocco leather with the gilt coat-of-arms of Charles II for use on the pulpits of the royal chapels.

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Seventeenth Century
Hollar Illustrated King James Bible