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BASKERVILLE, John (printer).

The Book of Common Prayer,

and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, According to the Use of the Church of England: together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, Pointed as they are to be sung or said in Churches.

Cambridge: Printed by John Baskerville, Printer to the University; by whom they are sold, and by B. Dod, London, 1762 Stock Code: 144390
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Third Baskerville edition (first published in 1760), handsomely bound for Mary Stopford, Countess of Courtown (1769-1823), wife of James Stopford, 3rd Earl of Courtown, with her ink ownership inscription dated 25 February 1795 to binder's first blank, the Courtown armorial bookplate to the front pastedown, and two manuscript leaves of prayers mounted on blank preliminaries.

John Baskerville (1706-1775) was perhaps the most important English typographer of the 18th century, whose typeface remains in use today. Preceding the private press movement by over a century, Baskerville took considerable care in every aspect of the design and production of his books, with the aim of creating a beautiful and accessible text. Opting for utility and clarity, he employed a clear and bold typeface without unnecessary flourish and ornamentation, a design choice which acted as a major influence on the course of book history. The present work was one of his most successful and, along with his Virgil, Milton and Bible, takes its place among his most notable productions.

The book presents a bibliographical quagmire. Baskerville did an impression with, and without (as here), a lozenge-and-star border round the pages, without known priority. There were two further issues with the price increased to 7s. 6d and then to 8s. 6d (as here), in each case with a cancel title page. The two sections of "occasional prayers", are sometimes absent with unknown priority (they are present here, and include baptism, catechism, visitation of the sick, prayers to be used at sea, etc.); certain pages which referenced George, Prince of Wales, prior to his accession as king, were subsequently cancelled (here in the uncancelled state). Gaskell adds further odd copies which perplex even him.

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Tall octavo (237 x 154 mm). Near-contemporary red sheep, raised bands, floral motifs in gilt to compartments, boards with elegant decorative frames of foliate and stars motifs in gilt, gilt tooling to turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, light blue silk page markers.


Later manuscript leaf of prayer mounted on rear pastedown. Colour sometime applied, tips bumped, extremities rubbed, the binding firm, internally fresh and clean; an attractive copy.


ESTC T87227; Gaskell 19.


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