BIBLE, New Testament, Greek. Edited by Robert Estienne. Paris: Robert Estienne, 1550.
Two parts in one volume, 2o (340 x 220 mm). Greek type: all three sizes of grecs du roi designed by Claude Garamond. Estienne's woodcut basilisk device on title (Schreiber B1) and olive tree device on final leaf (Schreiber 10), Eusebian canons set within woodcut frames decorated with cherubs and architectural ornaments, woodcut foliate and grotesque Greek initials in two sizes, matching headpieces, ruled in red. BOUND FOR JOHN EVELYN IN MID 17TH-CENTURY PARISIAN GOLD-TOOLED RED MOROCCO, covers panelled with double- and triple-fillets surrounding the Evelyn arms, Evelyn's cypher at the angles and in compartments of spine, board edges and turn-ins roll-tooled, edges gilt (scratch on front cover); folding cloth case.
Provenance: Sir Richard Browne (d. 1683), British ambassador, bibliophile, and father-in-law of John Evelyn: engraved coat-of-arms by Nolin on leaf inserted before title -- John Evelyn (1620-1706), founder of the Royal Society, diarist, bibliophile: binding; inscription above Browne's arms recording entry into Evelyn's catalogue; manuscript press-mark on title "A.17."; sale, The Evelyn Library, Christie's London, 22 June 1977, lot 156.
THE SUBERB EVELYN COPY OF THE "EDITIO REGIA", the third and most important Estienne edition of the Greek New Testament and the first edition to contain a critical apparatus. It is also of great typographical importance as it marks the first use of all three founts of grecs du roi in a single book and the very first use of the largest size. The edition is most directly responsible for Robert Estienne's departure for Geneva, "following his final clash with the theologians of the Sorbonne, who saw in Estienne's marginal variant readings an instance of the most brazen heresy" (Schreiber).
John Evelyn first met his future father-in-law, Richard Browne, in 1643 during his first visit to Paris. Browne, then British ambassador, greatly influenced Evelyn's bibliophile taste and bequeathed his library to him when he died in 1683. One of the founders of the Royal Society, Evelyn formed a most important library of scientific, historical and literary works, numbering over 4000 titles. All bear his press-mark, either in his own hand or in that of his calligrapher and amanuensis Richard Hoare. Hoare also supervised the binding of Evelyn's library, following Evelyn's own specifications. The books bound before he returned to England in 1652 are decorated with tools designed for him by Abraham Bosse, and he continued to use these tools on his English bindings to achieve a uniformity of appearance.
Adams B-1661; Darlow & Moule 4622; Harvard/Mortimer French 78; Renouard Estiennes, p. 75, no.1; Scholderer Greek Printing Types, p. 10; Schreiber Estiennes 105.