Cover, "The Whole Duty of Man"


Gold-stamped black leather binding

7 1/8 x 4 inches

This handsome yet appropriately somber leather binding with colorful endpapers appears on a copy of a very popular and influential evangelical religious text that the inscription on the flyleaf reveals was presented to a young man upon his entering an apprenticeship as a haberdasher. The seal on the cover contains the words "The gift of the Haberdasher's Company," so the book was presented to the young aspprentice — John Bovington — by an organization that was a nineteenth-century survivor of the medieval system of craft guilds. This volume, which one may assume was the handsomest book the young man owned, was intended to give him religious guidance so he could become the kind of person praised in Hogarth's series of engraving on the good and bad apprentice, for as the first lines of the text explain: "The only intent of this ensuing TREATISE is, to be a short and plain direction to the very meanest of Readers, to behave themselves in this world, that they may be happy for ever in the next" (i). [GPL].