Saturday night was our annual Taylor Family Christmas gathering. Several were not able to make it this year, so we only had 3/4 of our family present. Even so there were still 28 of us present. This year Mom made a big pot of “grandma soup” and Dad bought some barbecue. Not exactly standard Christmas fare, but it was still good.
Last week a cousin of mine gave my father our grandfather’s family Bible so he could pass it along to my brother Stephen. Steve brought it along to our gathering to show off share.
On the pages between the Testaments on finds the family records section. My grandfather and grandmother’s wedding certificate can be found there. They were married in Gray Court in 1912, with the Rev. N. J. Holmes officiating. The Bible bears an 1892 publication date, but I suspect my grandfather purchased or received it upon the occasion of his wedding.
In addition to this marriage certificate was a record of births and marriages in my father’s family. I learned a couple of things I didn’t know about my family, such as my Aunt Mary’s marriage relatively late in life. I had always assumed that as the eldest daughter she had married early. Turns out she was the last in the family to marry.
As we carefully turned the pages of this old Bible, we came across several striking illustrations.
All of us immediately had a visceral reaction to these images. I remember seeing them in Bibles as a child and being terrified of the stark illustrations. My sister Susan had the same reaction. There were about twenty of these woodcut prints scattered throughout the volume.
After a bit of research I found that the engravings are the work of Gustave DorÃ©, a French artist from the 1800’s. In 1866 DorÃ© published an illustrated version of the Vulgate, with 200+ Biblical illustrations. DorÃ©’s Bible was so popular that the illustrations became the standard for Bibles printed for the next several decades, including my grandfather’s. Another catalog of DorÃ©’s biblical illustrations can be found online here.
I took as many photos of the Bible as I could. However, I only posted those specific to my family since better scanned versions of the illustrations couldbe found elsewhere. I’m glad Steve has been entrusted with this bit of family history, and that he was able to share it with us at our Christmas gathering.