Harper’s Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible

Printed by Harper & Brothers in New York City about 15 years before the Civil War began, this Bible is widely regarded as the publishing event of the 1800’s, and the most heavily illustrated Bible ever printed. This King James Version large family Bible features over 1,600 detailed illustrations, of which almost 200 are so large as to cover one-third of the page. There are also over 1,000 florally ornamented initial drop-letters, each one unique with no repeats… for example, there are over 350 different letter “A’s”.

Many well-known artists were commissioned by the publisher for over six years (at a cost of about $2 million in today’s dollars) to produce all the illustrations. This Bible is also the first known example of using electrotype technology to reproduce original woodcut engraved illustrations. The undertaking was so expensive; the publisher had to sell the Bible in 54 parts from 1843 to 1846, using the money from the subscribers to pay for the ongoing production until it was completed. The famous woodcut engraver and author W. J. Linton said that he knew “no other book like this, so good, so perfect in all it undertakes”.

Harper’s Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible

Harper’s Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible


This edition is also ground-breaking in its detailed center-column cross-references which show the many places where the Apocrypha is quoted or referenced in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament of this King James Version Bible. No Bible before or after it has offered such a detailed analysis of Apocrypha references, making the edition not just the most beautiful Bible ever printed, but also a must-have unique reference work for any Christian’s library.

2017 History of Graphic Design

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