BIBLE with the Prologues attributed to St Jerome and Interpretation of Hebrew names, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[northern France, perhaps Picardy, second quarter 13th century]
148 x 96mm. 545 leaves, lacking one leaf, and two leaves 14th-century replacements (ff.239 & 493), guide letters to chapter numbers visible in brown ink in lower margins, foliation in brown ink at upper right corner (ff.1-501 only), two columns of 50 lines written in black ink in a small gothic bookhand between four verticals and 51 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: 111 x 67mm, an additional pair of horizontals in upper margin, rubrics in red, versal initials touched in red (intermittent), versal initials in the Psalter, letters of running headings and chapter numbers alternately of red or blue, two-, four- and five-line chapter initials alternately of red or blue with flourishing of the contrasting colour, EIGHTY-TWO LARGE AND ELABORATE FLOURISHED INITIALS of varying sizes with geometric patterned staves of red and blue, ONE ILLUMINATED INITIAL with blue and dark-pink stave heightened in white on a contrasting ground with orange-red and yellow foliate terminals and grey dragon-heads (opening initial corroded, small unobtrusive tears to margins of 6 leaves, small repair in margin of f.300, small loss affecting text f.417, occasional slight cropping of flourishing in lower margin and running titles, stain in Calendar). French 18th-century olive morocco gilt, bordered with triple fillet, spine gilt in seven compartments tooled with tasselled leaves and fleurons and with citron and red lettering-pieces (wormhole at foot of spine). Black morocco box by Rivière.
1. Inscription recording gift opening 'iste liber e[st] dono p. grande ?com[mune] ?sedum' in lower margin of f.2, and on f.210 'anno domini m ccc xliiii iste lib[e]r e[st] ?sedum'.
2. Sotheby's 8 December 1944, lot 25
Vulgate Bible with the customary Prologues ff.1-501: lacking end of Chapter xi to verse 49 of Chapter xiii of the Book of Daniel; Interpretation of Hebrew names ff.501-539; Calendar ff.539v-542; table for computing the date of Easter f.542v
Marginal annotations include scribal corrections within decorative penwork surrounds and notes in 14th-century hands.
All but one of the openings of the Books of the Bible and the divisions of the Psalter are marked with large initials with divided 'puzzle' staves and two-coloured flourishing of red and greeny-blue. The exception is Psalm 109 which opens with an illuminated initial with coiling dragon-headed serpents. Elsewhere the flourisher has drawn a fish (f.142) and a beast (f.320).