Royal Devotion: Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer at Lambeth Palace Library

By Ben Miller | 22 May 2012
An image of an illustration of a biblical mother figure cradling and feeding a child
Woodcut Virgin breast-feeding Christ Child sewn into Thysprymer of Salysbury (1534)© Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library
Exhibition: Royal Devotion: Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer, Lambeth Palace Library, London, until July 14 2012

For 402 years, Lambeth Palace Library has held the library and records of the Church of England, lauded as “a monument of fame” by James I and a place of astonishing literary and historic depth by a clearly-impressed Peter the Great.

An image of a colour illustration from a bible showing a monarch inside a palace
Christian prayers and meditations (1569)© Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library
Earlier this year, to mark a visit by the Queen for an interfaith summit and the 350th birthday of the Book of Common Prayer, various items of royal provenence held at these historic headquarters were collated for a look at the relationship between royalty and religion.

It’s extensive enough to stretch back to Medieval times, punctuated by versions revised by the hand of Charles I, a book used at the wedding of Queen Victoria and tomes once leafed through by Richard III and Henry VIII.

Perhaps the star exhibit is the original first edition, by Thomas Cranmer in 1549.

But there’s also a 1662 one, close-up manuscripts, copies bearing monarchical markings in their margins and insights into the controversial and occasionally violent history surrounding a book which has had rulers put to death in its name and overseen rebellion, civil war, banning orders and page burning.

More pictures:

An image of an illustration of the inside of an ancient manuscript
Guy Fawkes and the Eye of Heaven. Oxford: University Printers (1710)© Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library
An image of a black and white illustration of a King praying from inside a bible
Charles Martyr from Basilika: the workes of King Charles the Martyr, with a collection of declarations, treaties and other papers concerning the difference betwixt His said Majesty and His two Houses of Parliament. London: James Flesher for R Royston (1662). This copy was expurgated by the Portuguese Inquisition© Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library
An image of an ancient manuscript in black ink
Royal commission to review the Book of Common Prayer© Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library
An image of a colour illustratio of royals and religious figures overseeing a christening
Christening of the Princess Royal (The baptism of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter)© Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library
An image of a black and while illustration of an important royal occasion in a courtyard
James II and Queen Mary from: FrancisSandford. In the Savoy, printed by Thomas Newcomb (1687)© Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library
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