Roger Bartlett Mosaic Binding
Oxford, 1678. On: The Holy Bible
London J. Bill, C. Barker, R.T. Newcomb, & H. Hills, 1678.
Purchased as the gift of Julia P. Wightman, 1969
Bartlett is among the best-documented binders of the Restoration era. He originally worked in London but migrated to Oxford after the Great Fire of 1666. He worked at Oxford until his retirement, ca. 1690, and died in his native Watlington in 1712.
One of Bartlett's finest works is this Bible, bound using many of his documented tools in his characteristic cottage-roof pattern. The interesting fore edge painting, visible when the leaves are fanned, is a flower-wreathed portrait of a young woman. She is very likely the book's first owner, who signed her name on the title page as Mary Alston and as Mary Clayton, with the date 1678. The change in name in the inscription makes one suspect that this binding was a marriage present.