I was only going to write when I got new books, but then I started searching the inter webs for gospel facsimile’s and got excited. Sadly I didn’t have 5500 dollars left lying around so I’ll have to make do with what I’ve got.
Of course as a religion and books fan the Book of Common Prayer or ‘BCP’ for short deserves a proper spot here. As a liturgy fanatic I have approximately 50 prayer books in my collection and 8 of them are BCP’s. A selection of my favourite BCP’s:
The Cambridge university 1762 edition. I am particularly proud of this one because it is the same edition wikipedia uses on their front page. I don’t actualy remember how I acquired it, but it’s a sweet little thing, and one of the older books in my library.
The BCP was originally published in 1549 and written by Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII. He revised it in 1552 but after a few months Queen Mary restored the Catholic Church and Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake. In 1559 Queen Elizabeth re introduced the book with some of her own modifications and it became the main form of worship in the Church of England. As a result of the English civil war another major revision was made in 1662. This 1662 edition remains the first port of call for liturgy in the Anglican Communion today. And it is that edition (albeit printed a hundred years later) which I have in my collection.
But in the 1920’s tensions between Anglo-Catholic’s and Evangelicals began to rise. The Anglo Catholics wanted more liturgical freedom. So revisions were made and in 1927 a new edition was approved by general synod of the Church of England. But, the C of E is the state church of England, as such it had to go through parliament and despite widespread support from the church, it was never passed in the House of Commons. As such it was never completely allowed to be used and never formally replaced the BCP of 1662. Despite this it was widely used in the 1960’s and 1970’s since most diocese allowed its use in churches themselves.
My edition, of which the front page is shown above, is a beautiful large edition with a leather cover and large print. It was designed to sit on a lectern on the altar so that the priest could read from it while still holding his hands up in prayer.
But of course my favourite edition. As I was talking about facsimile’s earlier.
Quarter-bound in goatskin leather, blocked with matt gold foil on spine and sides, binding design by Chris Waddon, paper sides hand marble, printed on Cordier Wove paper, illustrated with beautiful neo-classical borders and devotional woodcuts from designs by Dürer and Holbein.
This facsimile volume is based on the edition published in 1853 by William Pickering and Charles Whittingham the Younger, as part of the ‘Caslon Revival’. William Caslon (1693-1766) was the first English type-founder to produce types of international quality and his elegant, deliberately old-fashioned faces were perfectly suited to the 16th and 17th-century texts so beloved of Pickering, a distinguished London publisher, and Whittingham, his printer.
I have to stop writing now, I am drooling over my own book.
(fun fact, At some stage I had three of these facsimile’s in my collection. I gave two of them away but for some reason they just kept coming, anyway, one will do)