BIBLE with the Prologues attributed to St Jerome, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[northern France, probably Paris, c.1260]
156 x 113mm. 587 leaves + ii paper endleaves (lacking at least 6 leaves), two columns of 43 lines written in black ink in a small gothic bookhand between four verticals and 44 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: 118 x 78mm, an additional pair of horizontals for running headings, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, versal initials in the Psalter, letters of running headings and chapter numbers alternately of red or blue, two- and five-line chapter initials alternately of red or blue with flourishing of the contrasting colour, FIFTY-NINE ILLUMINATED INITIALS painted in dark pinks, browns, blues, greens, whites and gold, incorporating dragons or dragonhead terminals, SEVENTY-TWO HISTORIATED INITIALS, including large Genesis initial in the same colours (running titles cropped, many folios darkened and stained especially at outer corners, lead white and red lead darkened in many initials, around a dozen initials excised, ten folios with cuts or loss restored, four affecting text, a few small marginal tears). Modern red morocco.
1. Although the manuscript was most likely made in northern France, the numerous annotations in the margins and additions on the final paper endleaves include prayers or devotions in English in hands of the 16th and 17th centuries. The manuscript must have been in England by that date.
2. Lord Saltoun: sold for him Sotheby's 19 May 1958, lot 75
Vulgate Bible with the customary Prologues: lacking 6 folios with Chapters i-iv of the Prologue, the end of Chapter l of Genesis, Chapters i-ix and the beginning of x of Exodus, Chapters i-ii and the beginning of iii of Proverbs, the end of Chapter vii and Chapter viii of Canticles, Chapter i and up to verse 20 of Chapter ii of Wisdom, most of Chapter ii and Chapters iii-iv of Timothy II, and verses 1-7 of Chapter i of Titus
This Pocket Bible seems to have been illuminated in Paris and similarities can be found with features of the style of Bibles identified by Branner as produced in his Mathurin workshop, for example the form and iconography of the Genesis initial: R. Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris during the Reign of St Louis (1977), pp.75-77. The figure style and decorative details, however, seem closer to the more accomplished work associated by Branner with his Dominican Painter. One consistent inclusion on initial grounds and marginal sprays is the placing of golden disks dotted in corners or at leaf junctions.
The subjects of the historiated initials are as follows: f.3v Seven days of Creation (Genesis); f.40v Offering of a sacrificial lamb (Leviticus); f.53v Moses preaching, holding Tablets of the Law (Numbers); f.72v Moses preaching, holding Tablets of the Law (Deuteronomy); f.89 Joshua leading group across the Jordan (Joshua); f.100v God, with Gideon holding a sword (Judges); f.112 Elimelech and Naomi migrating to Moab (Ruth); f.114v Beheading of the son of Heli and the theft of the Ark (Kings I); f.144 Attendant bringing Abishag to David (Kings III); f.159v Elijah addressing Ahaziah on his deathbed (Kings IV); f.175 Five Jewish patriarchs (Chronicles I); f.188v Solomon praying at altar (Chronicles II); f.206 Building of the Temple, with Cyrus below (Ezra I); f.218 Asperging of the Temple (Ezra II); f.225v Tobit with Raphael (Tobias); f.230 Judith beheading Holofernes (Judith); f.236v Ahasuerus showing clemency to Esther (Esther); f.243v Job on the dunghill (Job); f.255 David harping (Psalms); f.259v Samuel annointing David (Psalm 26); f.262 David pointing to his mouth (Psalm 38); f.265 Fool holding bat and bread, addressed by David (Psalm 52); f.267v God above, David in the water below (Psalm 68); f.271 David playing bells (Psalm 80); f.274 Two singers (Psalm 97); f.293v Solomon enthroned, instructing a youth (Ecclesiastes); f.297v Virgin and Child enthroned (Song of Songs); f.306 Seated prophet with scroll (Ecclesiasticus); f.326v Sawing of Isaiah (Isaiah); f.350v Jeremiah beside a boiling cauldron (Jeremiah); f.379 Jeremiah lamenting Jerusalem (Lamentations); f.381v Baruch writing (Baruch); f.384v Ezechiel sleeping, with Tetramorph above (Ezechiel); f.409 Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel); f.419v Seated prophet with scroll (Hosea); f.423 Prophet holding scroll (Joel); f.424v Amos tending sheep, addressing God (Amos); f.427v Seated prophet with scroll (Obadiah); f.428 Jonah in the mouth of a whale, with Nineveh above (Jonah); f.429 Seated prophet with scroll (Micah); f.431 Seated prophet with scroll (Nahum); f.432v Habakkuk with stones held in cloth (Habakkuk); f.434 Seated prophet holding scroll (Zephaniah); f.435v Prophet holding book (Haggai); f.436v Prophet holding book (Zechariah), f.440v Seated prophet holding scroll (Malachi), f.442v Beheading of the idolatrous Jew (Maccabees I), f.457v seated man with messenger (Maccabees II), f.468v Tree of Jesse (Matthew), f.484v St Mark holding open book, with lion (Mark), f.494v St Luke asperging altar, with angel (Luke), f.511v St John holding open book, with eagle below (John); the following folios with St Paul holding a sword and scroll: f.523v (Romans), f.530 (Corinthians I), f.540 (Galatians), f. 542 (Ephesians), f.544 (Philippians), f.545v (Colossians), f.546v (Thessalonians I), f.548 (Thessalonians II), f.549 (Timothy I), f.550v (Timothy II), f.551v (Philemon); f.552 St Paul addressing group (Hebrews), f.556v Ascension (Acts), f.571v Jacob holding scroll (Jacob), f.574 St Peter (Peter), f.576 St Peter holding key and scroll (Peter II), f.578v St John holding scroll (John II), f.578v St John holding scroll (John III), f.579 St Jude holding book (Jude), f.580 St John writing (Revelations).
The illuminated initials are on folios 3, 88v, 113v, 174, 188, 205v, 225, 230, 236v, 242v, 243, 293v, 305v, 326, 350v, 381v, 384v, 408v, 419 (2) 422v (2), 424 (2), 424v, 427, 428, 429, 431, 432, 433v, 436, 440v, 441v, 442, 442v, 468v (2), 484, 494 (2), 511, 523v, 530, 536, 540, 542, 544, 545, 546v, 548, 548v, 550v, 551v (2), 556v, 572v, 577, 579v.