Barry Moser and The Pennyroyal Caxton Press Bible
The Holy Bible.
North Hatfield, Massachusetts: Pennyroyal Caxton Press, 1999.
Designed and illustrated by Barry Moser – Composed and printed by Bradley Hutchinson – Galliard, Mantina, and Mantina Greek typefaces, Le Bé Hebrew, typographic and decorative elements designed by Matthew Carter – Hand lettering for rubrics by John Benson – Resingrave blocks cast by Richard Woodman – Binding by Claudia Cohen and Sarah Creighton – Support provided by Bruce Kovner and the Caxton Corporation
The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible is the only twentieth-century Bible for which both the Old and New Testaments are illustrated by a single artist. The last Bible to be thus illustrated prior to this landmark work by Barry Moser (born 1940) was La Sainte Bible of Gustave Doré in 1865. The only other twentieth-century Bible to share the distinction of being illustrated by one artist is Marc Chagall’s 1956 Bible, which did not include the New Testament as it focused on the book of the Jewish tradition.
Moser’s bold and often disarming illustrations, alternately symbolic and illustrative, depict the humanity, tribulations, and even violence of their subjects with a stark realism achieved by his work with living models and photographs. Printed from the original blocks, Moser’s “relief engravings” employ Resingrave, a polymer resin invented by Robert Woodman as a substitute for the boxwood used in wood engraving.
A self-described “bookman” who was also educated as a Methodist preacher, Moser creates works which holistically unify the distinct arts of illustration, typography, and design. While Moser’s illustrations are an exceptional feature of this Bible, he intended the work to function primarily as a reading Bible. His typographic design presents “a clean, understated simplicity and spiritual austerity” for which he acknowledges Cobden-Sanderson’s Doves Bible as an influence.
An edition of four hundred copies was printed on custom made paper from the Zerkall Paper Mill. This copy is number 109. Another edition of fifty copies was printed on paper custom made by Kathryn and Howard Clark at Twinrocker Handmade Paper.