BIBLE with the Prologues attributed to St Jerome and the Interpretation of Hebrew names, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[northern France, probably Paris, mid-13th century]
238 x 156mm. 649 leaves: 1i+ 8, 22, 316, 4-718, 8-2020, 2122, 22-2920, 3022, 3120, 328, 33-3420, 3510, 368, COMPLETE, two columns of 42 lines written in black ink in a small gothic bookhand between four verticals and 43 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: 163 x 100mm, an additional pair of horizontals in upper and lower margins, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, versal initials alternately red or blue, letters of running headings and chapter numbers alternately of red or blue, two-line chapter initials alternately of red or blue with text-height flourishing of red and blue, SIXTY-EIGHT ILLUMINATED INITIALS sometimes including birds, serpents or dragons and painted in pink, blues and burnished gold introduce the Prologues, and EIGHTY-TWO HISTORIATED INITIALS of the same colours open the Books of the Bible (lower margin of f.591 excised, corrosion to final folio). 18th-century limp vellum, spine with later gilt-stamped title, edges gilt to a scrolling design (upper two-thirds of hinges split).
1. Guide letters for the initials, chapter numbers and rubrics survive in many margins and are written in the same hand as the invocation --'Explicit Liber Scriptor Sit Crimine Liber[us]' - written at the end of the text on f.591v.
2. William Walsgrave: inscription on f.2 'Collegii Anglorum Ulissiponensis ex dono Dns Gulielmi Walsgrave' in an early 18th-century hand
3. English College, Lisbon: inscription as above. William Walsgrave may have been related to one of the several members of the Waldegrave family recorded as attending the College of Sts Peter and Paul, otherwise known as the English College, in Lisbon in the second half of the 17th century: Lisbon College Registers: 1628-1813, ed. Michael Sharratt (1991).
4. College of Strasbourg: shelf-mark on spine Collegium Argentoratense, Tom III
5. Sotheby's 23 November 1943, lot 432, as the property of an Ecclesiastical Institution
List of the number of chapters in each Book of the Bible, 15th-century addition, f.1v; Gospel concordance, 15th-century addition, ff.3-5; Lections for the feasts of the temporal and sanctoral, 15th-century addition, ff.6-9; Epistles for the feasts, early 14th-century addition, ff.10-10v; Bible with the Prologues attributed to St Jerome ff.12-591v; Interpretation of Hebrew names ff.592-641v; Summary of the contents of each chapter of the Books of the Bible, 15th-century addition, ff.642-649; List of the Books of the Bible f.649v
The simple, strongly defined contours, restrained ornament and selective palette of these initials is the work of Branner's 'Vie de Saint Denis' atelier: R. Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris during the reign of Saint Louis (1977), pp.87-93. Except for the additional roundel with the Virgin and Child, the Genesis initial repeats the layout and iconography usual in Bibles of this workshop (for example Branner's figs 244 and 245), and one of the marked features of the people in these initials, their broad, heavy-jawed faces, is one of the defining characteristics of the style. Branner identified the workshop as one of the most productive in Paris in the period 1230-1250 and emphasised the range of texts that it decorated and the clients for whom it worked. He stressed its apparent popularity with local institutions including the Cathdral, St Martin des Champs and the Carthusian convent in Paris and others slightly further afield. It may have been for one such that the present Bible was illuminated.
The subjects of the historiated initials are as follows:
f.12 St Jerome (Prologue); f.15v Seven Days of Creation above the Virgin and Child (Genesis); f.38v Moses leading group of Jews (Exodus); f.57v Offering of sacrifice at altar (Leviticus); f.71 Moses holding the Tablets of the Law (Numbers); f.90 Moses showing the Tablets of the Law to two Jews (Deuteronomy); f.106v God addressing Joshua (Joshua); f.118 Judah addressing God (Judges); f.129v Elimelech and Naomi migrating to Moab (Ruth); f.132 Beheading of son of Heli and the theft of the Ark (Kings I); f.148 Beheading of Amalekite before David (Kings II); f.160v Attendant bringing Abishag before David (Kings III); f.175v Ahaziah falling from a tower (Kings IV); f.190 Four Jewish Patriarchs (Chronicles I); f.203v Solomon enthroned (Chronicles II); f.220v Cyrus standing before the Temple (Ezra I); f.224 Artaxerxes enthroned (Nehemiah); f.230v Asperging of an altar (Ezra II); f.237v Tobit lying in bed, with swallow (Tobit); f.242 Judith beheading Holofernes (Judith); f.248 Ahasuerus showing clemency to Esther, with Haman hanging below (Esther); f.254 Job on the dunghill (Job); f.265v David harping (Psalms); f.269 Samuel annointing David (Psalm 26); f.272 David praying (Psalm 38); f.274v Fool, holding bat and bread (Psalm 52); f.277 God above; David in the water below (Psalm 68); f.280 David playing bells (Psalm 80); f.283 Singers (Psalm 97); f.285v God in Majesty (Psalm 109); f.293 Solomon enthroned, instructing a youth (Proverbs); f.302v Solomon enthroned, instructing a kneeling youth (Ecclesiastes); f.306 Virgin and Child (Song of Songs); f.308 Solomon enthroned (Wisdom); f.315 Ecclesia holding a chalice (Ecclesiasticus); f.334v Sawing of Isaiah (Isaiah); f.357 Lapidation (Jeremiah); f.383 Jeremiah (Lamentations); f.385v Baruch writing (Baruch); f.388v Ezechiel in bed, with Tetramorph above (Ezechiel); f.413v Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel); f.423v Prophet addressing God (Hosea); f.427 Prophet (Joel); f.428v Prophet (Amos); f.431v Prophet addressing God (Obadiah); f.432 Jonah in the mouth of a whale, Nineveh above (Jonah); f.433 Prophet addressing God (Micah); f.435 Prophet (Nahum); f.437 Prophet holding a book (Habakkuk); f.438 Prophet holding a book, addressing God (Zephaniah); f.439v ?Cyrus enthroned, with temple above (Haggai); f.440v Prophet (Zechariah); f.444v Prophet holding a book (Malachi); f.446v Beheading of the idolatrous Jew (Maccabees I); f.462 Prophet preaching (Maccabees II); f.473 St Matthew writing (Matthew); f.488v St Mark, holding a book (Mark); f.499 St Luke asperging the altar (Luke); f.516 St John, holding a book, with eagle below (John); f.528v St Paul holding a sword (Romans); f.535 St Paul (Corinthians I); f.541 St Paul holding a book (Corinthians II); f.544v St Paul holding a sword (Galatians); f.546v St Paul (Ephesians); f.548v St Paul holding a sword (Philippians); f.550 St Paul holding a book (Colossians); f.551v St Paul (Thessalonians I); f.552v St Paul (Thessalonians II); f.553 St Paul (Timothy I); f.554v St Paul (Timothy II); f.556 St Paul (Titus); f.556v St Paul (Philemon); f.557 St Paul instructing a man (Hebrews); f.561v Three apostles (Acts); f.577v Prophet holding a book (Jacob);f.579 St Peter holding a key (Peter I); f.580v St Peter (Peter II); f.581v St John writing (John I); f.583 St John holding a book (John II); f.583v St John (John III); f.583v St Jude holding a book, (Jude); f.584v St John writing (Revelations)
The illuminated initials are on folios 15, 106v, 131, 189v, 203, 220, 237, 241v, 247v 253v, 292v, 302v, 308, 315, 334, 357, 385 (2), 387v, 388v, 412v, 423 (2), 426v, 427, 428, 428v (2), 431, 431v (2), 432 (2), 433, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440v, 444v, 446 (2), 446v, 473 (2), 488v, 498v (2), 516, 528v, 535, 540v, 544v, 546v, 548v, 550, 551, 552v, 553, 554v, 556, 556v, 557, 561v, 577, 584 and 592