Monday, March 19, 2012

Our first discovery!!

This is the title page to the New Testament of the so-called Matthew Bible, first printed in 1537 from an edited version of William Tyndal’s translation of the New Testament and of parts of the Old Testament, supplemented by Coverdale’s 1535 Old Testament translation. Because William Tyndal had been executed in 1536 as a result of his religious beliefs, the editor John Rogers decided to print the Bible under the false name of Thomas Matthew.

This copy was recently discovered as part of our survey of the collection. Unfortunately, it was re-bound in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, which means that the edges have been trimmed back. Our copy also misses the first few leaves of the Old Testament, including the title page, so it was rather fortunate for us that the printers decided to have a separate title page for the New Testament!

The title page is made up of different woodcuts, showing biblical scenes. A previous owner obviously decided to add his or her signature in 1804. This is not the only ownership mark in the book: an H. Bowles signed his or her name in 1664, while the front pastedown carries the bookplate of Stepney College, the predecessor of Regent’s Park College.


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