Collection ID



Bible - Printed Book




London, England




Printed on Paper


15.5 × 12 × 1.5 in. (39.4 × 30.5 × 3.8 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

First edition. Printed by Richard Crafton and Edward Whitchurch. In 1534, the Upper House of Convocation of Canterbury petitioned King Henry VIII to authorize a Bible in the English language. Miles Coverdale was asked to revise the “Matthew’s Bible” and make a new translation to be placed in every church in England. This Bible, known as the Great Bible, due to the page size (roughly 14 by 9 inches), is the only Bible ever to be ‘authorized’ in Britain. The title page includes God quoting Isaiah 55:11 and Acts 13:22 above a seated Henry VIII who passes the Bible to Archbishop Crammer and Vicegerent Cromwell.

Printed in 1539, by Richard Crafton and Edward Whitchurch, London, England. Acquired by Richard Lovett (1851–1904), England; [1] Purchased at auction in London by Edward Peterson (1869–1943), Stratford, Iowa; [2] By descent in 1943 to Harriet Lundquist, Stanhope, Iowa; [3] Purchased at auction in 2007 by David C. Lachman, bookseller, Philadelphia; Privately purchased in 2010 by Green Collection; Donated in 2017 to National Christian Foundation (later The Signatry) under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] A handwritten note (undated and unsigned) on the front free endpaper states that it was from a “Mr. Lovett’s Library.” This probably refers to Rev. Richard Lovett (1851–1904), whose collection, which included a 1539 Bible, was auctioned by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge in 1907. The description in the auction catalog matches that written in the present text. [2] A newspaper article from the Des Moines Register (John Karras, ‘The Great Bible’ [unknown date]) notes that Harriet Lundquist inherited the Bible through her father Edward Peterson, a banker and mayor of Stratford, Iowa. He purchased the Bible at a London auction sometime at the turn of the 20th century. It is highly likely, given the timeframe and description, that he purchased it in 1907. [3] Lundquist sold the Bible at auction through Jackson’s on December 5, 2007, lot 0855.

Museum of the Bible Publications:

Jennifer Atwood and Stacey L. Douglas, eds., Passages: Exploring the Bible in Four Movements - An Exhibition Guide (Oklahoma City: Museum of the Bible, 2015).

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