One of Owen Jones most interesting illuminated books is his 1849 edition of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes published under the title The Preacher, consisting of 35 hand-colored, fully illuminated pages. It is one of the most poetic and most often quoted sections of the Bible, presented here in a somewhat modernized text of the King James version.
“Vanity of vanities saith the Preacher. Vanity of vanities all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun. One generation passeth away, another generation cometh: but the Earth abideth forever. The sun also ariseth and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth towards the south, and turneth about toward the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.”
Possibly an ironic chocie of verses for a work so lavishly decorated that it might be considered vain.
Stylistically the design is similar to Jones’ illustrated edition of Gray’s Elegy with similar lettering and foliage motifs. But unlike Gray’s Elegy which features a limited set of standardized page frames, each page in The Preacher is a completely unique design with custom decoration tailored to the text. This makes it more challenging to extract elements for use in other projects, but we have preserved all the complete pages as well as selected decorative elements and usable pages. Also included in the package is a complete high-quality ebook of The Preacher and digitally cleaned and corrected copies of all the pages in high resolution.
There are also design elements in common with Jones’ Illustrated Initials from Early Manuscripts, particularly some of the highly intricate feathery design embellishments accompanying the illuminated capital letters. The fascination with this sort of illumination is a peculiar characteristic of Jones’ work and it is shown off to extraordinary effect in The Preacher.
You can download a PDF preview of selected pages from The Preacher to take a look at selected illuminations. The package also comes with the complete ebook of The Preacher in PDF format. The complete package can be ordered for just $49 from our ONLINE STORE and downloaded right away. We also now offer a combined package of all of our current Owen Jones collections at a substantial discount.