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Very rare 1662 pictorial Bible with 97 engraved scenes,
with the Familist mystic Hiël’s commentary

BARREFELT, Hendrik Jansen, known as “HIËL” (illustrations by Pieter van der BORCHT).
Bibelsche figueren, ofte afbeeldingen van al de gedenckweerdige historien, ende andere geschiedenissen des Ouden ende Nieuwen Testaments.
Amsterdam, Gerrit Jansz., 1662. Oblong 4to (19 x 6 cm). With 97 (of 119) engraved and etched Bible scenes printed from 32 (of 38) Old Testament and 42 (of 50) New Testament plates (plate size 10 x 22.5 cm) by Pieter van der Borcht (31 of this edition's New Testament engravings contain 2 scenes each, so that its 88 engravings contain 119 scenes). Early 19th-century half vellum.
€ 5,000
Very rare 1662 edition (first issue), in the original Dutch, of an important and influential interpretation of the stories of the Old and New Testament, in the popular form of (originally) 119 engraved illustrations by Pieter van der Borcht (1535-1608), from Mechelen, and explanatory text by the anti-denominational Dutch mystic Hendrik Jansen (van) Barrefelt, also known as "Hiël" (ca. 1530-1594?).
Barrefelt initiated two series of engravings for pictorial Bibles around 1582, believing that the contemplation of the biblical images would speak to a wide audience and bring them closer to God, though he also believed that other pictorial Bibles distorted the Bible's meaning. He enlisted Van der Borcht to produce two sets of etched and engraved illustrations of Bible stories and wrote brief commentaries to help people understand the images. Hamilton convincingly argues that the present series B was designed to appeal more to Protestants and the other series A to appeal more to Catholics. Hamilton calls these pictorial Bibles Barrefelt's "most successful" publications, "both in his lifetime and after."
Lacking 7 leaves with 14 engravings, and heavily trimmed at the head. Fortunately the text of Barrefelt's commentaries is unaffected and the pictorial images of Van der Borcht's engravings almost unaffected. Several leaves are detached and there are several other defects. Since only one or possibly no complete copy of this issue is known to survive and only one complete copy of the later issue of this edition, one must be grateful that the present copy has survived with all preliminary leaves and with about 85% of the engravings and commentaries.
A. Hamilton, "From Familism to Pietism: the fortunes of Pieter van der Borcht's biblical illustrations and Hiël's commentaries ...", in: Quaerendo XI (1981), pp. 271-301, at pp. 294-295; KVK & WorldCat (3 copies, at least 2 incomp.); New Hollstein ... Pieter van der Borcht, p. 133, 5.
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