Embroidered cover of a 1628 copy of Apocrypha…, £6000 at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

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The embroidery work was sometime done using patterns by the well-to-do lady who owned the text but others were available via commercial establishments.

Two 17th century embroidered bindings provided the highlight of the books sale at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood (26/25% buyer’s premium) in Exeter on May 14.

A particularly good example with metallic embroidery done in raised silver threads to a cream ground covered a 1628 copy of Apocrypha; With The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and The Whole Booke of Psalmes: Collected into English Meeter, by Thomas Sternhold, John Hopkins, and others. In particularly good condition, it was guided at a conservative £1000-1500 but made £6000.

Eternal questions


The binding for De Aeternitate Considerations, £4200 at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

A more problematic book to own in the context of 17th century politics was a translation of De Aeternitate Considerations by the German Jesuit writer Jeremias Drexel (1581-1638).

Drexel, who served for 23 years as court preacher in Munich, wrote more than 20 books of which this treatise on eternity was his most widely read. First published in Munich in 1632, this translation by ‘R. Winterton, Fellow of Kings Colledge in Cambridge’ was issued by ‘Roger Daniel, Printer to the Universitie’ in 1646.

Bound in a contemporary flowering foliate embroidered cover, with manuscript family notes to extra endpapers, it sold in Exeter well above its token £100-200 at £4200.