Arliss' Hieroglyphical Bible. With Four Hundred Embellishments on Wood
London: Whittingham and Arliss, 1814. Striking first edition of Arliss' Hieroglyphical Bible, "by far the best of the English Hieroglyphic Bibles" (Clouston, 90), designed to capture the interest of children. Selected verses are printed with wood-engraved icons in place of key words, making each page a puzzle, from Genesis through Revelations: "Hieroglyphics originated with the ancient Egyptians. They were invented by the priests and sages of that country, to conceal as well as to conserve the knowledge of truth; but they are here employed to engage the mind, by attracting the eye, and by this means to impress on the recollection the most interesting passages of Holy Writ." While this Bible was an ephemeral production, publishers Arliss and Whittingham were known for their attention to detail: "Mr. Arliss . . . possessed a considerable taste in embellishing juvenile works with wood engravings, and in conjunction with Mr. Whittingham, may be said to have largely contributed to the revival of the beautiful in the art of printing" (Timperley, Dictionary of Printers and Printing). Reissued many times, on both sides of the Atlantic, this 1814 edition is the first issued by Arliss; OCLC lists only microform copies. A near-fine example, and a remarkable survival. Twelvemo, measuring 3.5" x 5.5", pp. [i]-iv, 5-106, . Original drab pictorial paper boards, title framed by a pictorial wood-engraved border, multiple wood engravings on every page. Two pages of publisher's advertisements following text. Bookseller ticket to front pastedown. Neatly rebacked, light rubbing and soiling to boards.
(Inventory #: 1001522)
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