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An Embroidered King James Bible

SBT SR 98 - Holy Bible with embroidered binding

Holy Bible with embroidered binding (SBT SR 98)

This Bible (SBT SR 98) was published in 1629 under the reign of James I, the nephew and successor of Elizabeth I. It is bound in leather and further covered in white silk. The silk has been embroidered with a “Garden of Eden” scene. This depicts various birds, serpents and insects around different plants and flowers. Which animals can you spot?

Additional decoration takes the form of metal sequins, known as ‘spangles’, and crewel work – the pieces of thread that appear to be ‘piled’ on the edge of the Bible. While many spangles are missing today, the multiple small holes in the silk suggest that when first decorated, the silk would have been covered in them.  Another important decorative feature is the braid. It is created by a yellow thread that has been wrapped several times with fine metal thread. One can see a few places where the thread has unravelled and the yellow thread is visible. It is possible that the embroidery was not finished as there is some missing, but another possibility is that the Bible was used or moved so much that the completed embroidery fell apart. Likewise, the silk and threads have become faded from light exposure.

The Holy Bible with embroidered binding, 1629.
Source: http://findingshakespeare.co.uk/king-james-bible?utm_source=Finding+Shakespeare+RSS-Email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ddad90ddc6-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_term=0_bcfa6d3979-ddad90ddc6-349588853