The spirit of renewal that permeated the visual arts during the Gilded Age and is embodied in Tiffany’s work was also manifest in the interconnected fields of Bible translation and Bible publication. The exhibition More Precious than Fine Gold: the English Bible in the Gilded Age explores its impact on the text itself of the English Bible and on the design, printing and illustration of the volumes that made it accessible to the public. The 20 volumes on display in this exhibition include mainstream versions, such as the English Revised New Testament of 1881 and the American Standard Version of 1901, and innovative or unusual ones, such as Ballentine’s “Modern American Bible” or Julia Smith’s Bible, the first woman to translate the entire text of the Scriptures. Also on display are Bibles illustrated by famous artists such as Gustave Doré and James Tissot and limited editions produced by private presses such as William Morris’ Kelmscott Press, the Doves Press, and the Essex House.
Exhibition and preservation of the Rare Bible Collection @ MOBIA are made possible, in part, by the generous support of the American Bible Society. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.