Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Engraved Prayers

This extraordinary little edition of the Book of Common Prayer is executed entirely with engraved plates. No movable type was used, but every letter and every image was engraved on metal plates by John Sturt and printed in 1717 by John Baskett in London.  Nearly every page contains an image as well as decorative and historiated borders.

The book, with its luxurious engravings and silver clad cover, is reminiscent of a late medieval book of hours.  It has even been hand ruled in red throughout to add an extra element of craft to the production. The very form elicits a feeling of transcendence suitable to the text within.

There is also a working volvelle: a circular printed sheet that can be manipulated to  calculate Easter and the date of any other Sunday in the year. Lest there be doubt that this book is for the Church of England, the Lord's Prayer is inscribed into the "Effigies of King George."

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