A Window in Time: an 1846 Illuminated Bible

bible coverThis massive and beautiful 1846 imprint of the Authorized Version of the Bible is lavishly illuminated by over 1600 etchings of the highest quality. The paper quality was not as good as the imprint and has suffered in the last 170 years.

Originally some family’s presentation Bible, this particular book was saved from the refuse pile in the 1930s and presented to my maternal grandfather, MSgt John H. Hodge, then superintendent of Sunday Schools for the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Protestant Chapel. The inscription reads, “To Sergeant Hodge/ In Memory of a delightful association–/ from his friends/ The Lawrences/Spring 1937”bible title

This book was given to me by his widow when Rev. John H. Hodge went to his reward in April 1976. (Unfortunately, the study Bible which he used daily, containing his marginal notes and many inserted notes and clippings, was interred with his body.)

I rarely read this fragile old book, but occasionally open it to gaze upon the amazing illustrations, many of which are full page. Even the smallest was obviously a work of great skill and love by a craftsman now probably forgotten to all but perhaps his descendants.

bible frontpiece
A rare example of a nearly extinct art form: lithography. (Unfortunately, the state of my photography and blogging does not display the quality of the original.)

Imagine every illustration is of the style and quality found on the engravings on currency.

The pages are ten by fourtenn inches. The book is over four inches thick.


2 thoughts on “A Window in Time: an 1846 Illuminated Bible

  1. There are lovely illustrations. Not a Bible, but I have some well illustrated children’s books from my parents. Andrew Wyeth and others. I no longer read them, but from time to time I take them down and look at the illustrations. Is this a lost art?

  2. I believe lithographs are still done, but most artists have moved on to digital media.

    Notice that the cover at one time was torn off. It was reattached with black tape, which looks suspiciously like duct tape. That was done prior to the 1937 presentation to my grandfather, meaning that the tape has held for almost eighty years.

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