BIBLE, in English -- The Holy Bible. Oxford: John Baskett, 1717-1716.
2° (499 x 302mm). Title and calendar printed in red and black. Ruled in red throughout. Engraved frontispiece by Du-Bose after J. Thornhill representing Moses writing the first words of Genesis, general title with engraved view of Oxford by G. Vander Gucht, title to the New Testament with vignette of the Annunciation, engraved headpieces and initials, the engravings all on steel after Thornhill, Chéron, Louis Laguere and others. (Lower corner torn from title, occasional heavy browning, D4 of the Old Testament with tear into text, a few other marginal tears, G4v and H1 of the New Testament greyed, H1 holed with slight loss and damaged at margins.) OXFORD BINDING OF CONTEMPORARY GILT-TOOLED BLACK GOATSKIN, covers elaborately panelled with a central lozenge enclosing a star, large corner-pieces with three dropping leaves, a pyramid built up from small tools on each side, spine compartments tooled with sprays, wavey-lines, semi-circular tools, and large corner-pieces, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. (Spine a little frayed at head, joints cracked, extremities rubbed, wear at corners and bottom edges, front inner hinges split).
'MAGNIFICENT EDITION' (Darlow and Moule), known as the 'Vinegar Bible' from the misprint 'the parable of the vinegar' for 'vinyard' in Luke xx. As the great Bible monopolist, John Baskett was also parodied by contemporary wits who called his huge Bible a 'Baskett-ful of errors.' Nevertheless, Harry Carter, the historian of Oxford printing, states that 'only Baskerville's Bible (Cambridge, 1763) is its equal among English Bibles for beauty of type, impression, and paper, and the richness of its decoration gives the Vinegar Bible a unique distinction' (The History of the Oxford University Press, 1975, I, p. 171). One contemporary record suggests that the price for a well-bound copy such as this was '£4. 7. 6.' DMH 942 variant A.