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Binding by Birdsall & Son, early 20th century

This Taverner translation of the Bible printed in 1539 has a modern binding of citron-coloured goatskin which is signed by the binders ‘Birdsall & Son Northampton’. The outer panel features the Tudor rose and the fleur de lis, with Taverner’s name, the date of printing, and a [stylized fleur de lis] in the inner panel. The spine is gold tooled with gilt text edges, marbled endleaves, and gold tooled [leather?] doublures (inside of the covers).
Richard Taverner (1505?-1575) lived at the time of the English Reformation when Henry VIII broke from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church in order to divorce his first wife Catharine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.

Birdsall & Son, Northampton, was one of the major bookbinding firms in Great Britain from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. In 1792 William Birdsall ([c.1750]-1826) bought the bookselling and bookbinding business of John Lacy & Son in Northampton. The bookbinding side became the firm’s main activity under Anthony Birdsall the elder (1819-1893), the premises subsequently twice enlarged and reorganised in 1882 and 1888 under his son Richard (1842-1909). The firm became a private company after 1915 when the descendants of Anthony and Richard took over the firm, and finally ceased trading in 1961.

Bequeathed by Sir Arthur Howard, 1973.

Upper cover of The most sacred Bible: whiche is the holy scripture, conteyning the old and new Testament , / translated in to English, and newly recognised with great diligence after most faythful exemplars, by Rychard Taverner … (London: Iohn Byddell, for Thomas Barthlet, 1539). Howard q8.

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