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Beautifully bound mid-17th-century "Visscher edition" of the Dutch Luther Bible with expertly hand-coloured and highlighted in gold illustrations

[BIBLE - LUTHER - DUTCH]. VISSCHER, Adolf (translator).
Biblia, dat is, de gantsche H. Schrifture vervattende alle de boecken des Ouden ende Nieuwen Testaments.
(2) De Propheten.
(3) De Apocryphe boecken: dat zijn boecken die der heylige schrifture niet en worden gelijck gehouden ende nochtans nut ende goet zijn om te lezen.
Amsterdam, Rieuwert Dircksz. van Baardt (and his widow), printed on the presses of Lodewijk III Elsevier in Amsterdam, [1648]. 4 parts in 1 volume. Folio. With a full-page portrait of Martin Luther as a frontispiece, an engraved general title-page, a full-page portrait of Adolf Visscher, 6 folding double-page engraved maps, 6 double-page engraved plates showing a total of 96 biblical scenes (16 scenes per plate) printed by Frederick de Witt, and an elaborate engraved tail-piece. With three divisional typographical title-pages for the prophets, Biblical apocrypha and the New Testament, including Van Baardt's detailed woodcut vignette, decorated woodcut initials (at least 3 series) and ornamental woodcut tail-pieces.
Contemporary richly blind-tooled calf over wooden boards, with large brass clasps, catch plates and corner-pieces on both boards, red edges. [18], 278; 112; 70; 132 ll.
€ 42,500
First edition of this beautifully illustrated Dutch translation of the influential Luther Bible, with the engraved title-page, all plates and a large tailpiece expertly contemporary hand-coloured and strikingly highlighted in gold. This edition, published by (the widow of) Van Baardt, is also known as the "Visscher Bible", after its translator. It is certain that Visscher based his translation on Luther's original Bible and the two known Dutch translations: the "Lotter Bible" by Bugenhagen (1554) and the "Biestkens Bible" (1560). Apparently, Visscher did not use the new and by then already renowned Dutch States translation (commissioned during the Synod of Dordrecht in 1618-1619) and did not want to change Luther's original translation, which unfortunately resulted in a difficult to read work. Nevertheless, this became the standard Bible of the Dutch Lutherans. (Darlow & Moule).
The present work was printed by Rieuwert Dircksz van Baardt (1599-1648) - according to I.H. van Eeghen - at the presses of Lodewijk III Elsevier (1604-1670). The work was published after Van Baardt's death by his widow and was illustrated with engraved maps by Nicolaes Visscher (1618-1679) after his father Claes Jansz. Visscher (1587-1652) and a complete series of Mattheüs Merian the Elder's (1593-1650) reduced scenes engraved by Cornelis Danckerts (1603-1656) and printed by Frederik de Wit (1630-1706) in Amsterdam. These two sets of engraved plates were published separately for the purpose of being added to Bibles such as the present one, or the Dutch States Bible for example. The illustrations are expertly hand-coloured and all highlighted in gold.
With the small bookplate of Jan Willem Six de Vromade (1872-1936): "Ex bibliotheca J.W. Six" on the front paste-down. The binding shows very slight signs of wear, mainly around the spine, minor foxing and spotting throughout, mainly to the outer margins, with a ca. 4 cm tear in the foot margin of leaves a5 and a6 in the New Testament, without loss but slightly affecting the text, the last ca. 10% of the leaves show a very small (to max. ca. 1 cm in the last few leaves) wormhole in the gutter margin, barely affecting the commentary but not the main text. Otherwise in very good condition. Darlow & Moule 3311; Poortman Bijbel en Prent I, pp. 137-139; STCN 089354303 (18 copies); WorldCat 68853298 & 67063785 (16 copies, including 8 also in STCN); cf. for the maps: Poortman & Augusteijn pp. 179-185 (maps 1,3 and 5 in their very first early state by N. Visscher, the others in the first state); for the small engraved scenes: Poortman, Bijbel en Prent I pp. 172-173 & II p. 66; for the portrait of Visscher: Muller Portretten 5690a; for the printing history: I.H. van Eeghen, La Bible luthérienne de 1648. Une édition Elevérienne inconnue, in : Studia bibliographica in honorem Herman de la Fontaine Verwey, Amsterdam 1966, 119-128.
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