Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments & Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the Use of the Church of England; together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung or said in churches; & the form & manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. (Together with a supplement showing variants from the Prayer Book of the Church of England in the Prayer book of the American Church)

London and New York: H. M. Printers, Messrs. Eyre & Spottiswoode; Mr. Edward Arnold, 37 Bedford Street, Strand; Samuel Buckley & Co., 100 William Street, 1903. Hardcover. 69/400. Folio. [10], 387, viii (string-bound American supplement)pp. Uncut, on heavy stock. Rebacked in dark brown calf over oak boards; leather inlays at fore-edge of each board (replacing perished clasps and straps). Spine with raised bands, lettered in gilt; gilt dentelles at back-strip edges and inlay borders. Title page (view of London) and frontispiece (Edward VII on his throne, surrounded by his six predesessors) with elaborate woodcut historiation; captions printed in red. Eight pages with table of contents framed with elaborate woodcuts at top. Historiated headpieces and initials. Calendar with woodcuts in red and black, and pages with "proper lessons and psalms" and calendar with illustrative woodcuts. Printed in red and black throughout. "The designs and the type throughout are by C. R. Ashbee; R. Catterson-Smith assisted in the preparation of some of the blocks, which were cut by W. H. Hooper & Clemence Houseman." (Colophon). Inside front cover and first free endpaper with small smudges from removed item laid in. Bookplate with numbers inked to top margin. Fore-edge of block with some traces of handling, else a fine copy in a nearly fine binding.

A superb example of the printer's art, and the magnum opus of the Essex House Press. "The English Book of Common Prayer was the first single manual of worship in a vernacular language directed to be used universally by, and common to, both priest and people" (PMM). The source of the Anglican Church’s shared liturgical life since 1549, it was first adapted for use in the United States in 1789, and underwent its second American revision in 1892. Limited to 400 copies (10 on vellum), the being copy number 69, hand-numbered at the colophon. Production at Essex House London and Essex House Campden spanned 1901 to 1903.

“Throughout his life, [financier J.P.] Morgan was a strong supporter of the Protestant Episcopal church” (ANB), support that included his service on the revision committee that produced the 1892 revision. In a contemporary review, "The Independent," an Episcopal church newspaper, declared: “That the completed and perfected Standard, just issued from the De Vinne press, appears in the sumptuous form which makes it confessedly the finest production of the American printer’s art is due to Mr. J. Pierpoint Morgan, who from the moment of his appointment as a member of the committee has never ceased devising liberal things for the furtherance of the work."

Provenance: Bookplate at front: "This Beginning of the J. William Smith Collection, illustrative of the art of bookmaking is given for the use of the people to the Syracuse Public Library in testimony of the long and faithful service of the Reverrend Ezekiel Wilson Mund AM LITT D Librarian." Fine. Item #52863

References: Ransom 37; see PMM 75.

Price: $1,500.00

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