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The Ceremonies And Religious Customs Of The Various Nations of the Known World: Together with Historical Annotations, And several Curious Discourses Equally Instructive and Entertaining. Vol. I. ... (-VII. ...) Written originally in French, and illustrated with a large Number of Folio Copper Plates, all beautifully Designed By Mr. Bernard Picart, And curiously Engraved by most of the Best Hands in Europe. Faithfully translated into English, by a Gentleman, some Time since of St. John's College in Oxford.

Bernard Picart

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Histoire des Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde., English.]


London:: Printed by William Jackson, for Claude Du Bosc, Engraver at the Golden Head in Charles-Street, Covent Garden., MDCCXXXIII. (-MDCCXXXIX.)

Physical Description

7 vols. in 6; 442 mm. (Folio).

General Note

Vol. I: [iv], viii, [vi], 450, [16] p., engr. dedic., [36] pl. (5 dble.) - Vol. II: [viii], 364, [16] p., [27] pl. (2 dble.) - Vol. III: [xii], 495, [29] p., [44] pl. - Vol. IV:[iv], ix, [v], 514, [18] p., [57] pl. (7 dble.) - Vol. V:[vi], 470, [24] p., [19] pl. (5 dble.) - Vol. VI: [vi], 228, [6] p., [13] pl. (5 dble.) - Vol. VII: [viii], 164, [8] p., [26] pl. (7 dble.)


Each volume contains an index and a list of plates.

Responsibility Note

Parts of the text are stated to have been written or translated by earlier authors - Leo of Modena, M. de Simonville, F. Simon, Revd. Mr. [Henry] Lord, Rev. Abraham Roger, Fr. P. Bouchet, S.J., Reland.

Fourteen plates are unsigned. Most are signed as engraved by C. Du Bosc, and drawn by B. Picart; but in the first volume four are signed as drawn by Seb. le Clerc and one as drawn by Petrus Lucatellus, and in the sixth and seventh volumes several are signed by other draughtsmen (J. v. Schley, L.F. Dubourg, J. Folkema) and engravers (J. v. Schley, P. Tanjé, B. Bernaerts, F. Morellon La Cave, J. Folkema, Cl. Duflos). The engraved dedication and most head- and tail-pieces are signed as drawn by Gravelot and engraved by G. Scotin (two are signed as engraved by Du Bosc); several decorated initials are signed as drawn and engraved by Gravelot.

The printer is named on the title-pages of Volumes I-IV only; the imprint of Volumes V-VII reads simply, 'Printed for Claude Du Bosc'.

The work is dedicated by Du Bosc to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington.


J. Housen, 'Bernard Picart', in Livres d'images (Bruxelles: 1998), p.13-16; D. Pregardien, 'L'Iconographie des Cérémonies et coutumes de B. Picart', in Etudes sur le XVIII siècle, vol. hors série 3, L'Homme des Lumières et la découverte de l'autre (ed. D. Droixhe) (1985), p. 183-190.

A.D. Momigliano, 'Historiography of religion', in Encyclopaedia of religion, vol. 6 (1987), p. 383-90; The rise of modern mythology 1680-1860, ed. B. Feldman (1972).
ESTC, T137604

Summary Note

Publication-dates of 1733, 1734, 1734, 1733, 1736, 1737 and 1739 are carried by the several title-pages. A few plates carry dates (1722, 1729, 1731, 1733). The work was originally published in French at Amsterdam in seven volumes, 1723-1738.

The seven volumes describe the religions of 1. the Jews and Roman Catholic Christians; 2. Roman Catholic Christians; 3. 'idolatrous' nations (Americans, east Indians, Banyans, Bramins); 4. 'idolatrous' nations (Banians, Chinese, east Asians, Icelanders and Lapps, Persians, Africans); 5. Orthodox Christians, non-Chalcedonian Christians, Reformed Churches; 6. Reformed Churches; 7. Muslims, &c.


A microfilm version was published in 1986 (Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications).


Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

19th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; black morocco spine-labels lettered, with incorrect numeration, 'Picart's Religious Ceremonies II (III, I, IV, V, VI.-VII)'. The fourth volume was rebacked, recornered and relabelled in the 20th century.


Religions - Comparative religion - Ceremonies - Anthropology of religion - History
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century