Sturt’s Silver Penny

Some time ago (February and March 2015), I posted a couple of notes about ‘sombre’ bindings, one of the areas of interest here at ZHQ. The March post was mainly about the engraved, on silver plates, edition of a Common Prayer by John Sturt.

Sturt was apprenticed to White, himself a pupil of Loggan’s, was well known for his miniature work, “it was said that he could engrave the creed on a silver penny, a claim amply reinforced by his best-known works: engraved versions of the Book of Common Prayer and of Laurence Howell’s The Orthodox Communicant, published respectively by subscription in 1717 and 1721. The first of these books, executed on 188 silver plates adorned with borders and vignettes, had a frontispiece portrait of King George I, the lines for which were composed of the creed, the Lord’s prayer, the ten commandments, a prayer for the royal family, and Psalm 21, all inscribed in minute characters” (ODNB)

At the recent PBFA Cambridge book fair, we found an engraving of the Sturt Silver Penny for sale with James of Alastor Rare Books – www.alastorrarebooks.com – now happily ensconced inside the Common Prayer.

Sturt's Silver Penny

It is a remarkable piece of engraving, with the Lord’s Prayer in full within a circle with a diameter of 10mm. The engraving as a whole has a diameter of 50mm

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