The Old Testament (& New Testament), Embellished with Engravings, from Pictures and Designs by the Most Eminent English Artists.
London: Printed for Thomas Macklin, by Thomas Bensley, 1800. 6 volume set, 19 inches tall. A magnificent set of this 'sumptuous edition' (Herbert), in superb full morocco. With double gilt raised bands, delicate and beautiful gilt tooling to the panels and a series of wonderful gilt and blind rolls framing the boards. Gilt dentelles and all edges. The Georgian tooling is in excellent condition with little rubbing and no splitting or loss. A long defunct insect has nibbled at tiny areas of the pink endpapers. With the armorial bookplate of Lord Kinnaird of Rossie Priory. Embellished with 76 full page engravings by the great artists of the time including Henry Fuseli, P.J. de Loutherbourg, James Northcote, Benjamin West, William Hamilton, Thomas Stothard, Richard Cosway, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Angelica Kauffman. A further 111 ornate vignettes are present. The subscribers list is found in volume 1 and includes The King, The Queen, The Prince of Wales et al.. Macklin announced plans for his great folio Bible in 1789 to promote 'the glory of the English school of painting and engraving and the interests of our Holy Religion'. New type (cut by Joseph Jackson and Vincent Figgins) and new paper were created for the venture, and the historic paintings were to be 'finished in a style of elegance (and magnificence in Paper, Printing, and engraving) of which there is not in Europe or the world any example'. Macklin's project was costly and ambitious. He paid Reynolds £500 for his Holy Family and William Sharp £700 for its engraving. The average cost for 45 of the Bible's other engravings was £220 and the total cost of the publication was an estimated £30000, a truly vast sum at the time.