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BIBLE, with Prologues, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, mid-13th century]
BIBLE, with Prologues, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, mid-13th century]
BIBLE, with Prologues, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, mid-13th century]
BIBLE, with Prologues, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, mid-13th century]
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BIBLE, with Prologues, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, mid-13th century]

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BIBLE, with Prologues, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, mid-13th century]

The quintessential 13th-century Parisian pocket-Bible: a delightful portable manuscript of the Old and New Testaments decorated with 81 historiated initials by a favoured Parisian workshop.

117 x 79mm. x + 613 leaves, complete, contemporary foliation 1-585 in top right hand margin (omitting foliation of Psalter). 46 lines of text in two columns, ruled space: 93 x 26mm. 81 historiated initials opening the books of the Bible, illuminated initials opening the Prologues, often inhabited by grotesques, penwork initials in red and blue extending into margins throughout (border of historiated initial on f.1 rubbed and damaged, expert repair to lower margin of f.4, the initial opening Deuteronomy on f.76v never supplied, running headers and foliation occasionally cropped). Late 16th-century gilt-stamped calf over wooden boards, brass clasps (scuffed, small wormholes, one catch loose, the other missing).

Provenance: Erased 16th-century inscriptions on f.1 and 613v: ‘Collegii Societatis I[esu]’ and the date ‘1599’ – Jan Pietr Suchtelen (1751-1836), Dutch-born Russian bibliophile, nobleman, and ambassador to Stockholm: his bookplate on the front pastedown, black ink stamp ‘Bibliotheca Suchtelen’ at the bottom of f.x, and no 7753 – Count Nikolai Alexandrovich Kushelev-Bezborodko (1834-1862), art collector, senator, state controller and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences: his partially cropped blue ink stamp ‘Biblioteka grafa Nikolaja Aleksandrovica Košeleva’ on f.1 and no 3285 – Russian bookplate on f.i (‘No 2151’) and rear pastedown (for a similar bookplate and line of provenance from Suchtelen to Kushelev-Bezborodko, see a French Roman de la Rose now at Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 79) – Manuscrits avec Miniatures, Paris: Jules Meynial, 30 November 1925, no 11.

Content: Index of Books of the Bible (in a 15th-century hand) ff.vii-ix; Bible ff.1-613v.

Illumination: The charming historiated initials are in the style of the Johannes Grusch atelier, the Parisian workshop in operation from the late 1230s to the 1260s (see R. Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris during the Reign of Saint Louis, 1977, pp.82-6). The atelier encompasses a diverse collection of styles, its output displaying constant variation and influences from illuminators belonging to other workshops. This pocket-Bible is close in style to a Breviary of about 1250 (Paris, BnF, Latin 15613).
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