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[Bologna, c.1310-1315]
305 x 220mm. 541 leaves preceded and followed by marbled paper bifolia: 19 (of 10, i a cancelled blank), 2-5210, 53-546, COMPLETE, catchwords on most final versos except the added first and final two gatherings and gathering 24 with the end of Psalms, the catchwords within decorative framings, including a fish (9) and human faces (21), various series of signatures, usually in ink in the lower right-hand corner of leaves; two columns of 48 lines in brown ink in a round gothic bookhand between four verticals and 49 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: approx. 205 x 68-13-70mm (the Interpretations of Hebrew names in three columns), prickings survive frequently in the upper and lower margins, rubrics in red, capital letters stroked in red, numerous guides to the rubricator survive in the margins, OPENING PAGE WITH LARGE HISTORIATED INITIAL AND A THREE-SIDED ACANTHUS BORDER INCORPORATING DROLLERIES AND TWO HISTORIATED ROUNDELS, GENESIS PAGE WITH A MINIATURE, LARGE CREATION INITIAL AND A MINIATURE IN THE LOWER BORDER, a further SIXTY-SEVEN LARGE HISTORIATED INITIALS WITH FOLIATE EXTENSIONS INTO THE MARGINS, chapters and most prologues with three-line initials alternately red and blue with penwork of the other colour, chapter numbers and running titles written in letters alternately red and blue (staining to gutters of first two gatherings from binding paste? affecting the borders on f.10 and 13, slight darkening to margins, occasional inconsequential spotting, small hole in f. 286, top corner of f. 244 torn off). Central or eastern European 16th-century panelled brown leather over wooden boards, borders and central lozenge tooled in blind with a foliate roll between ruled fillets, the upper cover with Christ Crucified and the lower cover with the Virgin and Child on a Crescent Moon at centre, two catches, spine overlaid with ?18th-century brown reversed calf, itself over an older repair; remains of a 19th-century orange leather title-piece lettered in gilt "VET. ET [...]" (lacking clasps and straps, head and tail of leather at spine missing, extremities rubbed). In a fitted cloth box.


1. Signed by the scribe Cabrinus of Cremona at the end of the main biblical text and also at the end of the Interpretations of Hebrew names: 'Gratia domini nostri Ihesu Christi eiusdemque matris virginis Marie, magister Cabrinus de Cremona hunc librum scripsit. Deo gratias' (f. 495r) and 'Expliciunt interpretationes bibliotece. Deo gratias Cabrinus scripsit' (f. 534). From his title 'magister' Cabrinus had presumably studied at the university in Bologna or Paris; the fact that he described himself as 'of Cremona' suggests either that he was working somewhere else (e.g. Bologna), or else if he wrote the book in Cremona, he knew that the book was for a patron somewhere else. The style of illumination suggests that the book was decorated in Bologna (about 80 miles south-east of Cremona). The large size of the book and grand scale of script and decoration may indicate an institutional use, and the three depictions of Carmelites (ff. 10r, 13r, 241v) suggest that it could have been made for San Martino, the Carmelite house in Bologna.

2. The added texts at the front and back suggest that the volume was still in institutional ownership in the fifteenth century. The style of the script and decoration indicates that the manuscript had by then moved north of the Alps.

3. In the 19th century the volume seems to have been owned by a Russian resident in France who wrote 'Ex libris F[ratris?] Alex Balaschewitch [/Balaschewitch Balasetiewitch]' in the gutter of f.538. There is a 19th-century red wax customs seal with three fleurs-de-lis under a closed crown (somewhat damaged) on the front endleaf.

4. In an English private collection since the early 20th century.


SUMMARIUM BIBLICUM, the versified summary of the contents of each chapter of the books of the Bible often attributed to Alexander de Villa Dei, headed, Incipit compendium tocius biblie. Genesis. Capitulum primum. and opening 'Sex prohibet peccant abel enoch et archa', followed on 9v by a concordance of Christ's miracles and miraculous signs, opening, 'Mutacio aqua in vinum...' ff.1v-9v.

Old Testament, with most of the usual prologues and some extra less common ones for the Minor Prophets ff.10-400v. The Prologues are as follows, with reference to F. Stegmüller, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, 11 vols (Madrid, '1940' [1950]-1980): S.284, S.285, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, S.311, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, S.323, I Kings, II Kings, III Kings, IV Kings, S.328, I Chronicles, II Chronicles ending with the Prayer of Manasses, S.330, I Ezra, II Ezra, III Ezra, S.332, Tobit, S.335, Judith, S.341+343 run together, Esther, S.344, S.357, Job, Psalms 1-150, followed by the first two ferial canticles (Confitebor tibi..., and Ego dixi...), S.457, Proverbs, S.462, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, S.468, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, S.482, Isaiah, S.487, Jeremiah, Lamentations, S.491, Baruch, S.492, Ezekiel, S.494, Daniel, S.500, S.507, Hosea, S.511, S.510.1, Joel, S.515, S.512, S.513, Amos, S.519+517 run together, Obadiah, S.524, S.524, Jonah, S.526, Micah, S.528, S.527, Nahum, S.531, S.529, Habakkuk, S.534, S.532, Zephaniah, S.538, S.535, Haggai, S.539, S.540, Zechariah, S.543, S.544, Malachi, S.552, S.551, I Maccabees, II Maccabees. ff.10-400v; New Testament, without Laodiceans, with most of the usual prologues and some extra less common ones ff. 400v-495. The prologues are as follows: S.590, Matthew, S.607, Mark, S.620, Luke, S.624, John, S.675, Romans, S.685, I Corinthians, S.699, II Corinthians, S.707, Galatians, S.715, Ephesians, S.728, Philippians, S.736, Colossians, [Laodiceans is absent], S.747, I Thessalonians, S.752, II Thessalonians, S.765, I Timothy, S.772, II Timothy, S.780, Titus, S.783, Philemon, S.793, Hebrews, S.640, S.631, Acts, S.807, S.806, S.809, James, I Peter, II Peter, S.822, I John, S.823, II John, S.824, III John, S.11852.1, Jude, S.834, S.829, Apocalypse; Interpretation of Hebrew names, beginning with 'Aaz apprehendens...' and ending with Zuzim ff.495v-434 (Stegmüller, no 7709).

Table of biblical readings throughout the year, ff. 534-540v, arranged according to the Temporale, the Sanctorale, the Common of Saints, for the Dedication of a Church, for the Consecration of an Altar, for the Sick, and for the Dead: opening, 'Dominica prima. In Adventu domini. Epistola ad Romanos. xiij'.

The first and last texts are 15th-century additions written in a northern European script to the complete original manuscript written by Cabrinus of Cremona.


The style of both illustration and decoration has all the hallmarks of Bolognese illumination of the first quarter of the fourteenth century. The wide range of colours, thin coiling acanthus, mock-kufic decoration and the compact little figures with their carefully modelled drapery and heavily shaded faces can all be compared with the body of work associated with followers and colleagues of the illuminator identified as Jacopino da Reggio from a signature in a copy of Gratian's Decretum (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1375).

The historiated initials of this Bible appear to be the work of two artists painting in closely related styles. Their work here is so like illumination in the Vatican Gratian itself that it suggests that they were among Jacopino's collaborators on that manuscript. One of them may be the illuminator christened by Conti the Master of 1311 from his later work on the Statuti dei Merciai (Bologna, Mus. civico, ms 631): A. Conti, La miniatura bolognese: scuole e botteghe 1270-1340, 1981, pp. 50-52 and M. Medica in Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani, ed.M. Bollati, 2004, p.472. Details of the execution of the Genesis initial - for example, the beaded white lines that edges drapery - point towards another of Jacopino's collaborators, the illuminator known as Modenese from his work in a Bible in New York (Pierpont Morgan Library, ms M.436): La minatiura a Padova dal medioevo al settecento, 1999, pp.76-80.

This Bible can be placed in the mainstream of prestigious Bolognese manuscript production at a time when the city and its artists dominated the book arts throughout Italy. With its rich and profuse illumination, large format and excellent condition it is a splendid testament to their highest achievements.

The subjects of the historiated initials are as follows:

f.10 St Jerome at a desk, wearing a mitre, writing; the stem of the initial with a clambering man; the lower margin of the page with a man with a cross-bow, and two roundels containing a Carmelite holding a scroll above his head, and a bearded man holding a scroll (General Prologue).

f.12v Jerome wearing the pallium, holding an open book (Prologue to the Pentateuch).

f.13 The Seven Days of Creation in seven roundels; the lower margin with a miniature depicting the Crucifixion with St Mary and St John and two kneeling figures: a nimbed female (Mary Magdalene?) and a Carmelite (Genesis).

f.33 Moses and the Israelites (Exodus).

f.48 Moses and Aaron making an offering at an altar; God above (Leviticus).

f.58v Moses being addressed by God, before the Israelites (Numbers).

f.73v Moses instructing the Israelites (Deuteronomy).

f.88v Joshua addressed by God (above) and the Israelites Crossing the Jordan (below) (Joshua).

f.98v Judah and Simeon confronting a Canaanite (Judges).

f.108 Elimalech setting out on a journey (above), Naomi leading their sons Mahalon and Chilion by the hand (below) (Ruth).

f.110 Elcanah and her young son, Samuel (I Kings).

f.124 King David rends his clothes, the kneeling Amalekite presenting him with Saul's crown (II Kings).

f.135 King David, as an old man, embracing Abishag (III Kings).

f.148v Elijah addressing the messengers of Ahaziah (IV Kings).

f.161 The kings of Edom and ?Mehitabel (I Chronicles).

f.172 King Solomon surrounded by his subjects including judges (II Chronicle).

f.186 King Cyrus enthroned (above), two labourers building the Temple (middle), and men with offerings (below) (I Ezra).

f.190 Nehemiah seated holding a scroll, two men to each side (II Ezra).

f.195v Josiah and two other men celebrating passover at a table (above) a group of priests and monks (below) (III Ezra).

f.201 Tobit kneeling at an altar; God above (Tobit).

f.205 Arphaxad, king of the Medes regarding the city he had built (Judith).

f.210 King Ahasuerus enthroned, with his sceptre (Esther).

f.215v Job sitting on the dung-heap, visited by his wife (Job).

f.225v ?Goliath about to kill an Israelite (Psalm 1).

f.229v A man with pen and ink-pot, raising his pen towards a youth's eye (Psalm 26).

f.231v King David pointing to his mouth as he kneels before God (Psalm 38).

f.234 A fool with a club in one hand and bowl of food in the other (Psalm 52).

f.236 King David lying in water; Christ raising him up (Psalm 68).

f.239 King David playing two bells (above), two musicians playing psalteries (below) (Psalm 80).

f.241v A Carmelite, a Franciscan and other religious singing at a lectern (Psalm 97).

f.244 God the Father and God the Son seated next to each other (Psalm 109).

f.250 Solomon instructing Reheboam (Proverbs).

f.258v Solomon, addressing a youth (Ecclesiastes).

f.261v The Madonna and Child (Song of Songs).

f.263 One man with a sword about to behead another (Wisdom).

f.269 A scribe writing the word of God (Ecclesiasticus).

f.285v Isaiah being sawn in half (Isaiah).

f.305 Jeremiah with a scroll (Jeremiah).

f.327 A small building. (Lamentations, first verse "How doth the city sit solitary")

f.328v Baruch with a scroll (Baruch).

f.331v Ezekiel and the hand of the Lord (Ezekiel).

f.352 Daniel with a scroll between two lions (Prologue to Daniel).

f.352v King Nebuchadnezzar addressing Ashpenaz, master of eunuchs (Daniel).

f.361v Hosea, dressed as a lawyer, taking Gomer as his wife (Hosea).

f.364v God addressing Joel (Joel).

f.365v Amos and his flock of sheep (Amos).

f.368 Obadiah holding a scroll (Obadiah).

f.368v Jonah preaching from a pulpit (Jonah).

f.369 Micah holding a scroll (Prologue to Micah).

f.369v Micah in a building (Micah).

f.371 Nahum, half-length (Nahum).

f.372v Habakkuk, half-length (Habakkuk).

f.373v Zephaniah addressed by God (Zephaniah)

f.374v King Darius, full length, with crown and sceptre (Haggai).

f.375v King Darius, full length, with crown and sceptre (Zechariah).

f.378v Malachi, half-length, grasping the stem of the initial (Malachi).

f.380 A king on horseback spearing another king on horseback (I Maccabees).

f.392 Soldiers killing civilians (II Maccabees).

f.400v The marriage of Joseph and Mary (Matthew).

f.401 St John the Baptist, dressed in his camel-skin cloak, holding a scroll incribed "Vos [sic] clamantis in deserto" (Mark).

f.420v St Luke writing his Gospel (Luke).

f.433 St John writing his Gospel (John).

f.433v St Paul addressing the Romans (Romans).

f.448 St Paul with his sword (I Corinthians).

f.452v St Paul with his sword (II Corinthians).

f.455v St Paul with his sword (Galatians).

f.457 St Paul with his sword (Ephesians).

f.459 St Paul with his sword (Philippians).

f.469v The Apostles (Acts).
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