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[Henry VIII, King of England from the fontispiece of the Great Bible] 1539

Woodcut | 35.0 x 23.7 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 600837

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  • Woodcut of Henry VIII, King of England from the frontispiece of the Great Bible. Whole length figure of the King at the top centre of the page, enthroned and surrounded by figures. With Latin and English inscriptions. Plate from the first edition of the Great Bible, published by Grafton and Whitchurch in 1539.

    The Great Bible was published in 1539, fourteen years after the Tyndale New Testament, and was the first authorised edition of the Bible in English. The Great Bible, so called for it's size, was the physical manifestation of Henry VIII's new position as head of the Church of England. His supreme status is illustrated through the frontispiece which pictures Henry VIII receiving the word of God, which he then bestows upon his subjects, handing the new Bible to his Bishops and Archbishops. Below, are scenes of the Great Bible being shared amongst the populous with Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury handing a copy to the clergy and Thomas Cromwell offering the text to the nobility. Below, the word of God reaches the masses with a final scene of the clergy preaching the word of God from the pulpit.
  • Medium and techniques



    35.0 x 23.7 cm (sheet of paper)