400th anniversary exhibition of the King James Bible

One of the largest collections of old bibles in the UK is currently being showcased at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library in an exhibition to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the production of the King James Bible in 1611.

The exhibition’s centre piece is two different issues of the first edition of the most widely-acclaimed English Bible translation of all time.  Produced in 1611 at the request of James VI and I to improve existing English translations, it eventually reigned supreme in the English-speaking world until the late nineteenth century.

The majority of exhibits featured come from the unique Euing Collection of Bibles in Glasgow University Library’s Special Collections.

William Euing (1788-1874), underwriter and marine insurance broker in Glasgow, was an avid book collector. He bequeathed his collection to the university library in 1874. It includes one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Bibles, psalters, prayer-books and hymnbooks ever assembled by one individual. His English Bibles alone account for around 1300 volumes.

The display of these King James Bible originals is accompanied by the presentation of some priceless precursors and successors in English and other languages, ancient and modern, some published in Scotland. Among them are medieval Latin Bibles produced by hand. There is also the first published Greek text of the New Testament, Luther’s German New Testament, as well as the first complete Scottish Gaelic New Testament.

The exhibition, being held at in Glasgow until 14th January 2012, is a partnership between The University of Glasgow and Glasgow Libraries.

The Exhibition’s Curator, Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies, Professor Ian Hazlett said “This exhibition provides an opportunity to display to the wider public part of a famous collection bequeathed to the city at the University of Glasgow by a benefactor like William Euing.  It enables access to historical, religious and cultural book-treasures of international significance. Some of the Bibles are beautifully illustrated and reflect important developments in art and book history as well.”

Enda Ryan, Principal Librarian at Glasgow Libraries, said: "The Mitchell is Europe's largest public reference library and home to some of the most significant publications and texts in Scotland and the UK. This exhibition highlights the cultural significance of the King James Bible and its place in history, revealing a fascinating insight into what would have been a marvel in its day."





For more information contact Cara MacDowall in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 3535; 07875 203387 or email cara.macdowall@glasgow.ac.uk

First published: 30 November 2011