A Geneva Bible

This lavishly bound Geneva Bible was presented to Elizabeth I by the printer Christopher Barker on New Year’s Day 1584. Embroidered and textile bindings were popular in England in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, a popularity that may have been partly due to Elizabeth I, who favoured textile over leather covers, and may even have made embroidered bindings herself at a young age. She received frequent gifts of finely bound books from those who knew her preferences. A visitor to the Royal Library at Whitehall in 1598, Paul Hentzner of Brandenburg, noted that its books were ‘all … bound in velvet of different colours, though chiefly red, with clasps of gold and silver; some have pearls, and precious stones, set in their bindings’.