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The Holy Bible: King James Version Containing All the Books of the Old and New Testaments
The Holy Bible: King James Version Containing All the Books of the Old and New Testaments
by Barry Moser

First Edition. Signed.
Price: $250.00


New York, NY: Viking Press (1999)

First Edition. Signed by the illustrator Barry Moser.

Fine in dust jacket. This edition is bound in cloth and decorated with gilt lettering and signed on a special limitation page by the book's designer and illustrator, Barry Moser.


Barry Moser brings the King James Bible to life with luminous, often haunting images that capture the ordinary human qualities of the book's well-known characters The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible is the only fully-illustrated bible published in the twentieth century. Over the broad history of illustrated Christian bibles, most are children's or travel bibles and often the illustrations are not original to the bible. The two bibles to come close to Moser's work are Gustave Doré's La Sainte bible of 1865 and Marc Chagall's Jewish bible of 1957. Moser's work in the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible is significant because he illustrated every book of the Old and New Testaments.

Moser, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, studied religion and preached for a time in Tennessee and Georgia before a teaching position at the University of Tennessee stole his heart. Later he began to understand that art and wood engraving were his true calling. In 1970, he founded Pennyroyal Press to publish some of his work. A chance meeting in 1985 with a man named Bruce Kovner opened a new door. Kovner asked Moser if there was something he had not done yet. Moser said he would like to do the Bible one day but that he was not ready for such a demanding project. When Moser came back to Kovner ten years later, Kovner agreed to be his financial partner, and the Pennyroyal Caxton partnership was born.

Working 10-12 hour days on the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, it took Moser four years to complete the project. The bible was published in a limited edition of 450 copies--bound in two volumes, measuring 16 x 11.5 inches with each volume laid into its own linen-covered tray case by Pennyroyal Press. A beautiful trade edition (the one listed here) was also published in one volume by Viking Studio. Both editions of the bible contain approximately 235 illustrations. Moser placed a variety of images in the text: some closely follow the traditional narrative while others are interpretive or symbolic.

While Moser gathered a team of biblical, poetic, theological, and linguistic scholars to advise him, he also used live models and photographs of real people to anchor the illustrations to the grit of human experience. Moser commented in a 1999 interview with Firsts Magazine:

“It is this overarching humanness of the Bible that draws me to it and informed the images I made for it. My images are definitely not pious.”

The Pennyroyal Caxton Bible will appeal to any admirer of great art and to all collectors of fine books as well as those who desire one of the finest editions of the Bible ever made. - Lemuria Bookseller, Lisa Newman

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