SOLOMON GIVES A SWORD TO A YOUTH, historiated initial 'D' and large initials on two leaves from a Bible, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Paris, 2nd half 13th century]
232 x 160mm. Two leaves from a large-format bible, from Wisdom and Ecclesiastes, 51 lines in two columns written in brown/black ink in a neat gothic bookhand between four verticals and 52 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: 170 x 110mm, rubrics in red, running headings and chapter numbers in alternate blue and red, guide letters for chapter numbers in margins. The first leaf with 10-line initial on the verso showing David enthroned to the left, handing a sword to a youth with outstretched hand, against a plain pink background, the initial with stave of pink with white decoration on a patterned blue ground and burnished gold with accompanying extension into the upper margin, with four further similar illuminated initials with scrolled infills, three with grotesque-head terminals. The text contains the end of the Song of Solomon, chapter VI, verse 10 to Wisdom, chapter II, verse 15 (light dampstain across upper left column of verso affecting text and touching David initial).
The second leaf with four three-line initials with scrolling infills, two with grotesque-head terminals. The text is from Ecclesiastes, from chapter II, verse 18 to chapter VI, verse 3. Both leaves window-mounted.
Provenance: From a Bible owned by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), his Western MS 116, exhibited at Trinity College, Dublin, in Western Illuminated Manuscripts from the Library of Sir Chester Beatty, 1955, no.10. It consisted of 187 leaves out of an original 547 when sold at Sotheby's, 3 December 1968, lot 14. It has been suggested that this was the salvaged portion of a manuscript damaged by flooding in 1846 when in the famous collection of John Boykett Jarman (on whom see J. Backhouse, 'A Victorian Connoisseur and his Manuscripts: The Tale of Mr. Jarman and Mr. Wing', British Museum Quarterly, 32 [1967-68], pp. 76-92. The manuscript was broken-up soon after this sale and leaves appeared at Sotheby's as early as 9 July 1973, lots 1-2. (2)