The Authorized, or King James Bible – sometimes known as the ‘Great She Bible’ for its imposing size and for one of a couple of unfortunate misprints it contained – was an enormously influential one.
The creation of numerous scholars and five years in the making, it is a work that in the 19th century was described by the English historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay as “…a book which, if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power”.
The other famous textual blunder, as many readers will know, was the appearance of name of Judas where it should have read Jesus.
What was remarkable about the 1613/1611, second folio edition offered on March 23 by Halls (20% buyer’s premium) of Shrewsbury, however, was the fact that the last two and a half pages of the Book of Revelations, missing from a copy that his father had acquired, were in 1850 quite brilliantly replaced in pen and ink facsimile by Thomas Henry Kendall.
He was at the time just 13 years old. His work, which as the illustration here shows included the tailpiece on the final, partially blank page, is said to be virtually indistinguishable from that of the printed pages. The only discernible difference, said the cataloguer, Alexander Clement, is that his rules are slightly thinner and the paper used for the last two leaves is of slightly heavier stock.
In a now very worn and defective 19th century binding this exceptional copy of a very famous and influential Bible sold at £17,000.
The younger Kendall’s principal claim to fame was as a master wood carver and furniture maker, one whose studio and showrooms attracted over the years a string of wealthy and noble clients, and a collection of his works was a principal focus of the auction.