The Epistle Dedicatory

This is a short epistle dedicatory by the translators to Queen Elizabeth, taken from the front matter of a 1560 Geneva Bible. In modern spelling with original punctuations [few were corrected] and capitalizations.

TO THE MOST VIRTUOUS AND NOBLE QUEEN ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF ENGLAND, FRANCE, AND IRELAND, & C. YOUR HUMBLE SUBJECTS OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH AT GENEVA, WISH GRACE AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER THROUGH CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.

HOW hard a thing it is, and what great impediments let, to enterprise any worthy act, not only daily experience sufficiently showeth (most noble and virtuous Queen) but also that notable proverb doeth confirm the same, which admonisheth us, that all things are hard which are fair and excellent. And what enterprise can there be of greater importance, and more acceptable unto God, or more worthy of singular commendation, then the building of the Lords Temple, the house of God, the Church of Christ, whereof the Son of God is the head and perfection?

When Zerubbabel went about but to build the material Temple, according to the commandment of the Lord, what difficulties and stays daily arose to hinder his worthy endeavours, the books of Ezra & Esdras plainly witness: how that not only he and the people of God were sore molested with foreign adversaries, (whereof some maliciously warred against them, and corrupted the Kings officers: and others craftily practiced under pretense of religion) but also at home with domestical enemies, as false Prophets, crafty worldlings, faint hearted soldiers, and oppressors of their brethren, who as well by false doctrine and lies, as by subtle counsel, cowardies, and extortion, discouraged the hearts almost of all: so that the Lords work was not only interrupted and left off for a long time, but scarcely at the length with great labor and danger after a sort brought to pass.

Which thing when we weigh aright, and consider earnestly how much greater charge God hath laid upon you in making you a builder of his spiritual Temple, we can not but partly fear, knowing the craft and force of Satan our spiritual enemy, and the weakness and inability of this our nature: and partly be fervent in our prayers toward God that he would bring to perfection this noble work which he hath begun by you: and therefore we endeavour ourselves by all means to aid, & to bestow our whole force under your graces standard, whom God hath made as our Zerubbabel for the erecting of this most excellent Temple, and to plant and maintain his holy word to the advancement of his glory, for your own honor and salvation of your soul, and for the singular comfort of that great flock which Christ Jesus the great shepherd hath bought with his precious blood, and committed unto your charge to be fed both in body and soul.

Considering therefore how many enemies there are, which by one means or other, as the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin went about to stay the building of that Temple, so labour to hinder the course of this building (whereof some are Papists, who under pretense of favoring Gods word, traitorously seek to erect idolatry and to destroy your majesty: some are worldlings, who as Demas have forsake[n] Christ for the love of this world: others are ambitious prelates, who as Amasiah & Diotrephes can abide none but themselves: and as Demetrius many practice sedition to maintain their errors) we persuaded our selves that there was no way so expedient and necessary for the preservation of the one, and destruction of the other, as to present unto your Majesty the holy Scriptures faithfully and plainly translated according to the languages wherein they were first written by the holy Ghost. For the word of God is an evident token of Gods love and our assurance of his defence, wheresoever it is obediently received: it is the trial of the spirits: and as the Prophet saith, It is as a fire and hammer to break the stony hearts of them that resist Gods mercies offered by the preaching of the same. Yea it is sharper than any two edged sword to examine the very thoughts and to judge the affections of the heart, and to discover whatsoever lieth hid under hypocrisy and would be secret from the face of God and his Church. So that this must be the first foundation and groundwork, according whereunto the good stones of this building must be framed, and the evil tried out and rejected.

Now as he that goeth about to lay a foundation surely, first taketh away such impediments, as might justly either hurt, let or deform the work: so is it necessary that your graces zeal appear herein, that neither the crafty persuasion of man, neither worldly policy, or natural fear dissuade you to root out, cut down and destroy these weeds and impediments which do not only deface your building, but utterly endeavour, yea & threaten the ruin thereof. For when the noble Josias enterprised the like kind of work, among other notable and many things he destroyed, not only with utter confusion the idols with their appurtenances, but also burnt (in sign of detestation) the idolatrous priests bones upon their altars, and put to death the false prophets and sorcerers, to perform the words of the Law of God: and therefore the Lord gave him good success & blessed him wonderfully, so long as he made Gods word his line and rule to follow, and enterprised nothing before he had inquired at the mouth of the Lord.

And if these zealous beginnings seem dangerous and to breed disquietness in your dominions, yet by the story of King Asa it is manifest, that the quietness and peace of kingdoms standeth in the utter abolishing of idolatry, and in advancing of true religion: for in his days Judah lived in rest and quietness for the space of five and thirty year[s], till at length he began to be cold in the zeal of the Lord, feared the power of man, imprisoned the Prophet of God, and oppressed the people: then the Lord sent him wars, & at length took him away by death.

Wherefore great wisdom, not worldly, but heavenly is here required, which you[r] grace must earnestly crave of the Lord, as did Solomon, to whom God gave an understanding heart to judge his people aright, and to discern between good and bad. For if God for the furnishing of the old temple gave the Spirit of wisdom & understanding to them that should be the workmen thereof, as to Bezaleel, Aholiab, and Hiram: how much more will he endue your grace and other godly princes and chief governors with a principal Spirit, that you may procure and command things necessary for this most holy Temple, foresee and take heed of things that might hinder it, and abolish and destroy whatsoever might impair and overthrow the same?

Moreover the marvelous diligence and zeal of Jehoshaphat, Josiah, and Hezekiah are by the singular providence of God left as an example to all godly rulers to reform their countries and to establish the word of God with all speed, lest the wrath of the Lord fall upon them for the neglecting thereof. For these excellent Kings did not only embrace the word promptly and joyfully, but also procured earnestly and commanded the same to be taught, preached and maintained through all their countries and dominions, binding them and all their subjects both great and small with solemn protestations and covenants before God to obey the word, and to walk after the ways of the Lord. Yea and in the days of serving Asa it was enacted that whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel, should be slain, whether he were small or great, man or woman. And for the establishing hereof and performance of this solemn oath, as well Priests as Judges were appointed and placed through all the cities of Judah to instruct the people in the true knowledge and fear of God, and to minister justice according to the word, knowing that, except God by his word did reign in the hearts and souls, all mans diligence and endeavours were of none effect: for without this word we cannot discern between justice, and injury, protection and oppression, wisdom and foolishness, knowledge and ignorance, good and evil. Therefore the Lord, who is the chief governor of his Church, willeth that nothing be attempted before we have enquired thereof at his mouth. For seeing he is our God, of duty we must give him this preeminence, that of ourselves we enterprise nothing, but that which he hath appointed, who only knoweth all things, and governeth them as may best serve to his glory and our salvation. We ought not therefore to prevent him, or do anything without his word, but as soon as he hath revealed his will, immediately to put it in execution.

Now as concerning the manner of this building, it is not according to man, nor after the wisdom of the flesh, but of the Spirit, & according to the word of God, whose ways are divers from mans ways. For if it was not lawful for Moses to build the material Tabernacle after any other sort th[a]n God had showed him by a pattern, neither to prescribe any other ceremonies & laws th[a]n such as the Lord had expressly commanded: how can it be lawful to proceed in this spiritual building any other ways, than Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is both the foundation, head and chief corner stone thereof, hath commanded by his word? And forasmuch as he hath established and left an order in his Church for the building up of his body, appointing some to be Apostles, some Prophets, others Evangelists, some pastors, and teachers, he signifieth that everyone according as he is placed in this body which is the Church, ought to enquire of his ministers concerning the will of the Lord, which is revealed in his word. For they are, saith Jeremiah, as the mouth of the Lord: yea he promiseth to be with their mouth, & that their lips shall keep knowledge, & that the truth & the law shall be in their mouth. For it is their office chiefly to understand the Scriptures & teach them. For this cause the people of Israel in matters of difficulty used to ask the Lord either by the Prophets, or by the means of the high Priest, who bare Urim & Thummin, which were tokens of light & knowledge, of holiness & perfection which should be in the high Priest. Therefore when Jehoshaphat took this order in the Church of Israel, he appointed Amariah to be the chief concerning the word of God, because he was most expert in the law of the Lord, and could give counsel and govern according unto the same. Else there is no degree or office which may have that authority and privilege to decide concerning Gods word, except withal he hath the Spirit of God, and sufficient knowledge and judgement to define according thereunto. And as everyone is endued of God with greater gifts, so ought he to be herein chiefly heard, or at least that without the express word none be heard: for he that hath not the word, speaketh not by the mouth of the Lord. Again, what danger it is to do anything, seem it never so godly or necessary, without consulting with Gods mouth, the examples of the Israelites, deceived hereby through the Gibeonites: and of Saul, whose intention seemed good and necessary: and of Josiah also, who for great considerations was moved for the defence of true religion & his people, to fight against Pharoah Necho King of Egypt, may sufficiently admonish us.

Last of all (most gracious Queen) for the advancement of this building and rearing up of the work, two things are necessary. First, that we have a live & steadfast faith in Christ Jesus, who must dwell in our hearts, as the only means and assurance of our salvation: for he is the ladder that reacheth from the earth to heaven: he lifteth up his Church and setteth it in the heavenly places: he maketh us lively stones and buildeth us upon himself: he joineth us to himself as the members and body to the head: yea he maketh himself and his Church one Christ. The next is, that our faith bring forth good fruits, so that our godly conversation may serve us as a witness to confirm our election, and be an example to all others to walk as appertaineth to the vocation whereunto they are called: lest the word of God be evil spoken of, and this building be stayed to grow up to a just height, which cannot be without the great provocation of Gods just vengeance and discouraging of many thousands through all the world, if they should see that our life were not holy and agreeable to our profession. For the eyes of all that fear God in all places behold your countries as an example to all that believe, and the prayers of all the godly at all times are directed to God for the preservation of your majesty. For considering Gods wonderful mercies toward you at all seasons, who hath pulled you out of the mouth of the lions, and how that from your youth you have been brought up in the holy Scriptures, the hope of all men is so increased, that they cannot but look that God should bring to pass some wonderful work by your grace to the universal comfort of his Church. Therefore even above strength, you must show yourself strong and bold in Gods matters: and though Satan lay all his power and craft together to hurt and hinder the Lords building: yet be you assured that God will fight from heaven against this great dragon, the ancient serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, till he have accomplished the whole work and made his Church glorious to himself, without spot or wrinkle. For albeit all other kingdoms and monarchies, as the Babylonians, Persians, Grecians & Romans have fallen & taken end: yet the Church of Christ even under the Cross hath from the beginning of the world been victorious, and shall be everlastingly. Truth it is, that sometime it seemeth to be shadowed with a cloud, or driven with a stormy perfection, yet suddenly the beams of Christ the sun of justice shine and bring it to light and liberty. If for a time it be covered with ashes, yet it is quickly kindled again by the wind of Gods Spirit: though it seem drowned in the sea, or parched and pined in the wilderness, yet God giveth ever good success. For he punisheth the enemies, and delivereth his, nourisheth them and still preserveth the[m] under his wings. This Lord of lords & King of kings who hath ever defended his, strengthe[n], co[m]fort and preserve your majesty, that you may be able to build up the ruins of Gods house to his glory, the discharge of your conscience, and to the comfort of all them that love the coming of Christ Jesus our Lord. From Geneva. 10. April. 1560.

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Q: Your Guide to Buying Antiquarian Books.

A: A great place to start to learn more about collecting antiquarian Bibles and Theology is this website.

It is recommended that new collectors start collecting what they have defined as the scope of their collection, making sure to buy from Reputable Dealers. This may require some research, but in the case for Bibles and Theology the following pages on this website can help: The History of the English Bible, The History of the King James Bible, The History of the Geneva Bible, and finally the Reference Library for a full list of online Bibliographical resources on this subject.

When purchasing an antiquarian book there are desirable elements to consider: First Edition Copies, Large Paper Copies, Red-Ruled Copies, Fine Paper Copies, Extra-Illustrated Copies, Fine Bindings and One-Offs, Importance, Collation, Condition, Fine Provenance, and Extra Features.

Q: What are your ethical standards in the rare book trade?

A: We specialize in buying and selling first edition English Bibles and Theology spanning from the 16th to the 18th century. The antiquarian Bibles and Theology we sell are original historical artifacts that are worthy to be in your Collection whether you are a Collector, Religious Scholar, History Enthusiast, Church and Religious Institution, or just looking for a unique gift for a special occasion. We do not sell facsimiles or reproductions unless otherwise noted.

We use our years of experience to catalog each book and folio produced during the hand press period with honesty, integrity, and thoroughness. We take the time to conserve or restore each book sympathetically (this includes facsimiles of missing folios and any mendings), and to share its unique story. Each description follows a simple layout:

  • Importance. Overview of why the book is historically significant.

  • Binding. Noting the covering material protecting the text block, including the dimensions, weight, and any defects.

  • Provenance. Noting who once owned the book. This includes previous ownership inscriptions, signings, bookplates, and manuscripts. We do our best to present them in chronological order.

  • Collation & Notes. Noting a books completeness by giving a number of how many folios, pages, illustrations, maps there are, as well as the format (placement of chain lines and watermarks if any) and other information. We consult with ESTC, WorldCat, and Historical Catalogues like Herbert’s and Darlow & Moule.

  • Condition. Noting the text blocks dimensions and any defects.

“I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their store-chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily use thumb them, batter them, wear them out, who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.”

-Desiderius Erasmus

Q: Where do you get your antiquarian books from?

A: We source our antiquarian books from Auctions, Estate Sales, Book Fairs, Reputable Dealers, and our Customers. If you are interested in selling your book to us, please contact us at sales@etrarebooks.com with the following information:

  • Condition. Are there any defects to the text block or binding?

  • Collation. Are there any missing volumes, folios, illustrations, or maps?

  • Photos. Photos of the title pages, printed text, illustrations, maps, and binding.

Q: Why don’t you issue a Certificate of Authenticity? And how do you know a book or leaf is authentic?

A: Handling antiquarian books that are hundreds of years old is an amazing experience and are virtually impossible to make a facsimile of. We do not issue a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) with each book or folio purchased, since it does not guarantee authenticity and anyone can issue it. Instead, we recommend to only purchase from reputable dealers, and to search for the signs below. Logically, a facsimile presupposes that there is an original to compare it with, therefore having access to an original can be helpful in identifying a facsimile.

  • During the hand press period, paper was made with rag cotton linen called antique laid paper upwards to the late 18th century. Antique laid paper will have wire lines, chain lines running vertically or horizontally, and watermarks (not all paper had watermarks). These can be used to identify when and where the paper was made, and how they were assembled. In the late 18th century antique laid paper began to be replaced with wove paper, which had no wire lines and chain lines. After the hand press period modern laid paper was introduced, which can be easily distinguished by its lighter appearance around the chain lines.

  • Consider the papers thickness, weight, strength, and flexibility when handling. Antique laid paper is thicker and lighter in weight, while really strong and flexible.

  • Search for any inconstancies in the papers appearance, smells, staining, and worm trails. Generally, important provenances are the most susceptible to forgery, while important single folios and title pages are the most susceptible to being a facsimile.

  • During the hand press period, the text and decorations were pressed into the paper, and not printed on the paper like todays printers do.

  • Search for the long S in Italic, Roman (ſ), and Black letter type. The long S is an archaic form of the lowercase letter s used until the early 19th century. It often appears in the beginning, middle, and end of a word.

Q: What is the difference between Conservation and Restoration?

A: We may send the book to a professional conservator for Conservation or occasionally for Restoration, with an emphasis on preserving any provenance. Conservation involves stabilizing the book in its current state and preventing further deterioration, while retaining as much of the original materials as possible. Restoration involves returning the book back to its original state (like it was fresh off the printing press), which improves aesthetics and can in some cases increase its value. This involves washing paper which can significantly extend its life by reducing acidity (the causes of yellowing) and degrading products (i.e. dirt, dust, and staining). Even after washing the paper may need to be deacidified, this is typically true with 19th century paper. To remove foxing and other serious stains to achieve the papers original whiter color, it can only be done with bleaching. After washing the paper is perhaps resized in the final bath to recapture any loss in paper rattle (i.e. reinforcing the paper structure).

Washed paper can be distinguished by its smell and gray cast appearance, while bleached paper can be distinguished by its smell and unusually whiter appearance. Resized paper can be distinguished by its glossy appearance.

Q: Do you accept other forms of payment? Do you offer flexible payment plans?

A: Yes, we accept Zelle, Bank Transfers, Checks, and Money Orders. Payment plans are available. Once all payments are received, we will ship your item.

Q: How do I care for my antiquarian books, pamphlets, and leaves?

A: Below is a list of recommendations for Where To Store, Shelving Practices For Books & Pamphlets, When Handling (Including Leaves), Professional Conservation.

Where To Store. Always keep books stored in a dark cool dry place where temperatures stay consistent (about 60-70° Fahrenheit), with relative humidity (about 35-45%), and plenty of air circulation. Do not store books in the attic or basement, where temperatures and humidity change rapidly and have little to no air circulation. These are the very areas that may contain pests like rats, mice, carpet beetles, silverfish, roaches, and book lice. Do not store books on the bare floor or carpet.

For bookshelves that are against the outside walls of a building, changes in temperature and humidity can damage the books. Therefore, the bookshelves and the books themselves need to be 2” from the back walls (wall of the building and wall of the bookshelves). 

Shelving Practices For Books & Pamphlets. When removing books that are shelved vertically, do not pull them out by the spines leather end caps or endbands, as this can cause damage. Instead, gently slide the book out by pushing on the text block from behind, and making sure that the books weight is not being shifted onto the spines leather tail end cap. Use the correct bookends or other books (to shelve together with) to ensure that the books will stay shelved vertically. When shelving many books together do not shelve them too tightly or loosely. Always store large books and books without endbands horizontally, and do not place any heavy objects on top.

Pamphlets are delicate and can be stored horizontally or vertically if bound. They can be bound in leather, wrappers, or simply placed in a four flap enclosure protection.

When Handling (Including Leaves). Whether the books are stored on bookshelves or are handled. Books placed under direct sunlight quickly degrades the binding and paper, while direct artificial fluorescent light slowly degrades them. The damage caused by the light is not immediate, but compounds over time and is considered irreversible. Therefore, when studying for long periods of time, a magnifying glass and an LED light can be used (as it produces the least amount heat than other sources of light). However, if direct artificial fluorescent lights are the only option, then limit the brightness and length of time its in use. It is highly recommended to take photos of anything of interest for further study and reference. Doing this can significantly reduce the books wear and degradation.

If leaves are to be framed it is recommended to use materials that are acid free and plexiglass or glass with UV protection.

Keeping a regular housekeeping schedule can ensure surroundings are clear of distraction or anything that may negatively alter the book (like hand creams or lotions, pens, highlighters, markers, inks, food, drinks, etc.).

Books can be handled without gloves as long as the hands are clean and dry. When handling two or more books for long periods of time, hands must be kept clean and dry to prevent the transference of dirt and dust. Gloves reduce manual dexterity and create a higher chance for unnecessary tears. There are numerous experts on this subject who concluded the same, see: An article by the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives called No Love for White Gloves, or: the Cotton Menace, and an article by The British Library called White Gloves or Not White Gloves.

For books with original bindings, support is of utmost importance given that bindings up to the early 19th century were tight back structures, which means the covering material was directly glued to the spine. While these binding structures are generally sturdy, do not to judge them as more robust than what they really are. Books are complex structures, and their binding structures should never be forced to open beyond what they are comfortably capable of (like opening them flat on the table). Support must be optimal otherwise the spine is susceptible to splitting, resulting in a weakened binding structure. Generally they should not be opened beyond 120°, and if the binding structure is really tight then the book should not be opened beyond 90° (especially if the book is thick and was stab sewn). An inexpensive solution is to use a soft non-scratching pillow zipper case that can be filled with tiny soft foam balls. Another option, yet more expensive, is to purchase a book cradle.

Professional Conservation. Books that are lightly dusty or dirty can be cleaned with a very soft brush or cloth. If not cleaned often, a combination of the two can cause mold to sprout and spread to other books. However, books that are seriously dusty, dirty, or defective can be sent to a professional conservator for an assessment and recommendation on the best course of action.

Custom clamshell boxes can be created by your chosen professional conservator. They are relatively inexpensive but depends on the books format, size, and your tastes. It can protect the book during transportation, from dust and dirt, and even from rapid changes in temperature and humidity. Furthermore, if the binding has any metal furniture (like brass or silver corner pieces and bosses) than it can prevent it from abrading other books on the shelf.

Q: What are the common book formats and their heights?

A: There are four types of formats commonly encountered in the rare book world: Duodecimo, Octavo, Quarto, and Folio. However, simply cataloging a book as one of these formats, based only on how tall the binding is, would not provide an accurate picture. As there are Large Paper Copies, which are desirable copies that have their sheets measuring larger than what is commonly cited for that format. Therefore, we determine a books format by the placement of its chain lines and watermarks (not all paper had watermarks), number of folios in each quire (consulting with ESTC, WorldCat, and Historical Catalogues like Herbert’s and Darlow & Moule), and how tall the text block is.

Much like today, each format and the number of volumes served a particular market of readers. For Bibles, formats like the Duodecimo and Octavo were for private and devotional use, with the Quarto typically being a family Bible, while a much larger format like the Folio were for public use like preaching. They were commonly issued as single volumes but, at time were separated into two or more volumes. Separating Bibles into more volumes ensured that each of the books were a comfortable weight to carry and hold while reading.

  • A Duodecimo or Twelvemo is 5”-6” Tall (abbreviated as 12mo or 12º). Folded 4 times forming a quire of 12 folios which is 24 pages. The chain lines run horizontally (parallel to the short side of the folio), and the placement of its watermarks varies.

  • A Octavo is 6”-7.75” Tall (abbreviated as 8vo or 8º). Folded 3 times forming a quire of 8 folios which is 16 pages. The chain lines run vertically (parallel to the long side of the folio), and its watermarks are perhaps found in the upper corners of the gutter.

  • A Quarto is 8”-10.75” Tall (abbreviated as 4to or 4º). Folded 2 times forming a quire of 4 folios which is 8 pages. Sometimes two individual sheets were folded and combined forming a quire of 8 folios which is 16 pages. It has also been observed that a Quarto can contain a quire of 10 folios which is 20 pages. The chain lines run horizontally (parallel to the short side of the folio), and its watermarks are typically found in the center of the gutter or edge of the folio.

  • A Folio is 11”-20” Tall (abbreviated as fo. or 2º). Folded 1 time forming a quire of 2 folios which is 4 pages. Folios are the only format that do not require any cutting. The chain lines run vertically (parallel to the long side of the folio), and its watermarks are typically found in the center of the folio.

When each sheet was carefully created and the text was printed. The next step was to fold the sheets into quires and to collate using the signed symbols and numerals located at the tail recto called signature marks. Each quire had a specific symbol and typically only a small number of folios at the start had signature marks to ensure nothing was missing or misfolded. Typically, the symbols were the 23 letter printers alphabet (excluding J, U, and W) and the numerals which varied depending on the format. Whenever a book exceeded 23 letters the printer would then restart the sequence (for example: A1 became Aa1).

Q: Why do some Bibles contain engravings?

A: Bibles with illustrations are called extra-illustrated. These engravings were typically copper or steel plate engravings on interleaved sheets at the request of a wealthy customer. The number of interleaved sheets with engravings varied with each edition and depended on the customers request. Normally, these engravings were more concentrated in the New Testament than in the Old Testament, and in certain Bibles, the number of interleaved sheets with engravings can fetch up to 1,000 plus.

The old-adage A picture is worth a thousand words holds up true even to this day. Typically, the engravings depicted a story’s climax in the foreground (as the largest), while other parts of the story were in the background (smaller), forming a complete picture. Typically a Bible in Quarto format that was profusely engraved would have sat on the family table where the family gathered together to read the Word of God. These engravings, along with the captions (if any), enhanced the reading experience by offering an ingenious way of memorizing scripture, and making it more engaging to its readers especially for children.

In addition, there is a lot that can be learned about the numerous engravers who have lived throughout the centuries, whose engravings were on interleaved sheets in a Bible. For example, one such engraver was Frederick Hendrik Van Hove (circa 1628-1698) who was born in Haarlem, Netherlands. In the 1660’s Van Hove moved to London where he lived and worked there as an engraver until his death. In his book, John Dunton shares some interesting thoughts about Van Hove, Mr. Vanhove was another Engraver that I traded with. He drew for me "Don Kainophilus"; "The Passing Bell"; "Innocent the Eleventh"; "The House of Weeping"; "The Martyrs in Flames," and Forty other Pictures. And though I cannot rank him with Mr. White, for he seldom draws from the Living Original; yet, to do Mr. Vanhove justice, he is a very ingenious Artist; a great enemy to sensual pleasures; of remarkable justice; and, though a Papist, has a most particular zeal against all severities and persecutions upon the account of Religion. (Dunton, John, and J. B. Nichols. The Life and Errors of John Dunton, Citizen of London: With the Lives and Characters of More than a Thousand Contemporary Divines, and Other Persons of Literary Eminence:.., vol. 1, J. Nichols, London, 1818, pp. 263–264.)

There are also other beautiful decorative engravings worth mentioning. The decoratively engraved initial letter of a word is called a historiated initial or woodcut initial. The decorative engravings on top of a page are called historiated headpieces, while the decorative engravings on the bottom of a page are called historiated tailpieces. To save time and money Printers would reuse the same wooden blocks for decorations until they wore out. The practice can be evidently seen, for the more a wooden block was used, the more it worn down, the more ink was required, this is why decorations can appear much more darker and thicker. The same holds true for the metal types used to print the text.

Q: Why were Bibles Ruled in red?

A: For a small percentage of Bibles (about 10%), after printing, each page would be finely hand Ruled in red around the text and extending well into the margins, a job that only a wealthy customer can request to be done. To do this tedious job, the tools that the Red ruler utilized was a straightedge and a quill with red ink. It is typical to encounter mistakes that lurked in during the Red-ruling, these imperfections are rather really beautiful as they add character to the book.

Ruled lines are not something new as it was an integral part of manuscript production before the advent of the printing press. However, soon after the advent of the printing press, what was once used as guide for scribes and layout, now served a variety of other interesting purposes. The practice of Red-ruling printed books was noted to have taken off sometime in the 1500s, continuing into the 1600s, becoming rare after 1740, and eventually disappearing around 1800. However, even after its disappearance the practice of Red-ruling still continued in ledgers, journals and other books used for writing.

As previously mentioned, Red-ruling printed books served a variety of interesting purposes. It served as a visible mark of a Fine Paper Copy and therefore distinct from others, and it made the book more aesthetically pleasing while at the same time making the text easily stand out and more approachable. As for why the color red was used for ruling, perhaps because it was associated with royalty and therefore served as a status symbol signifying ones wealth. It is also interesting to note that while rulers typically used the color red, in some lesser known cases there are examples of rulers who used other colors such as green, brown, and black.

Q: What is a Royal Binding?

A: A Binding is Royal only if it bears the stamped royal coat of arms of a King. It indicates the copy was associated with the King's Court, and was not actually owned by the King himself. In England the King's Court was not a particular place, rather wherever the King was. At times books with these Royal Bindings were gifted directly to a faithful subject. 

Q: Do You Take Apart Complete Books and Sell Their Leaves Individually?

A: No, we never do that. We are careful where we source our leaves, our leaves are mostly retrieved directly from incomplete or damaged books. Each leaf includes a description.