BIBLE with the Prologues attributed to St Jerome and the Interpretation of Hebrew names, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Paris, third quarter 13th century) 184 x 120mm. 675 leaves: 1-424, 520, 6-724, 818, 9-1020, 1124, 12-1320, 14-1524, 1622, 1724, 1822, 1924, 2022, 2126, 2222, 2326, 2418, 2526, 2620, 2726, 2816, 2930, 3017(including final blank, of 22, xvii-xxi cancelled blanks), COMPLETE, 15th-century foliation in arabic numerals in brown ink in centre upper margin jumps from 120 to 122, correct modern foliation in upper corner of first folio of a gathering followed here, two columns of 47 lines written in black ink in a small gothic bookhand between four verticals and 48 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: 126 x 82mm, rubrics in red, many never supplied, versal initials touched red, versal initials in the Psalter 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 extensive flourishing of the contrasting colour, corrections in margins outlined in red, guide letters for some historiated initials in blue, SIXTY-THREE ILLUMINATED INITIALS painted in pinks, blues, green, orange and burnished gold and many including dragons or serpents, SEVENTY-SEVEN HISTORIATED INITIALS of the same colours (first five folios somewhat darkened, first folio creased affecting initial, oxidisation to some initials, occasional marginal spotting, strip excised from lower margin of f.523). 18th-century black panelled morocco gilt, spine gilt in six compartments with thistles and fronds, lattice panels at head and foot, two brass clasps and catches (crack at head of upper joint and slight rubbing to extremities). Blue morocco-backed box.
1. C.S. Ascherson: his bookplate annotated 'Sotheby's 3.2.1919'
2. Charles Harry St John Hornby (1867-1946): bookplate, 'From the Library of C.H. St John Hornby/Shelley House, Chelsea', inside upper cover, his name and address, in his own hand, on first endleaf, and his note of purchase 'sad/-/- Q. 1908' (i.e. £120 at Quaritch in 1908) on verso of endpaper. Hornby began to purchase illuminated mansucripts in 1903.
3. H. Harvey Frost: his bookplate inside upper cover
Vulgate Bible with the customary Prologues ff.1-628; Interpretation of Hebrew names ff.629-674v
The fine parchment and extensive series of lively and engaging illustrations identify this as the product of one of the most specialised of the groups of professional craftsmen making books in Paris during the third quarter of the 13th century. Various features of the illumination show it to belong among those classed by Branner as the work of the Soissons atelier, a shop that seemed to concentrate on Bible illustration: R. Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris during the Reign of Saint Louis (1977), pp.77-78 and 216-217. In comparison with many of the other contemporary styles a wider range of colours were employed -- orange and light green join the ubiquitous pinks and blues -- and initial grounds and infills were scattered with decorative groups of white crosses and dots. Branner pointed out the iconographic individuality of the shop. The provision of the Death of Joshua as the subject for the opening of Judges, and the omission of the Death of Artaxerxes for Nehemiah are distinctive features also found in this Bible, as is the representation of God as a three-quarter-length figure in all the scenes of Creation.
The subjects of the historiated intitials are as follows:
f.1 St Jerome (Prologue); f.5 Seven Days of Creation (Genesis); f.31v Moses leading group (Exodus); f.53 God with Moses holding the Tablets of the Law (Leviticus); f.67v God addressing Moses who holds the Tablets of the Law (Numbers); f.87v Moses holding the Tablets of the Law and preaching to Jews (Deuteronomy); f.105v God appearing to Joshua by the River Jordan (Joshua); f.117v Death of Joshua (Judges); f.130 Elimelech and Naomi migrating to Moab (Ruth); f.132v Beheading of son of Heli and theft of the Ark (Kings I); f.148v Saul falling on his sword (Kings II); f.161v Attendant bringing Abishag to David (Kings III); f.176v Ahaziah falling from a tower (Kings IV); f.192v Three Jewish patriarchs (Chronicles I); f.207 Solomon enthroned, holding a sceptre (Chronicles II); f.219v Building of the Temple with Cyrus overseeing its construction below (Ezra I); f.230v Nehemiah standing before city (Nehemiah); f.237v Asperging of the Temple (Ezra II); f.245v Tobit lying in bed, with swallow above (Tobias); f.250v Judith beheading Holofernes (Judith); f.247 King Ahasuerus, with Haman hanging below (Esther); f.264v Job on the dunghill (Job); f.277 David harping (Psalms); f.281v Samuel annointing David (Psalm 26); f.284v David pointing to his mouth (Psalm 38); 287v Fool holding bat and bread (Psalm 52); f.290 God above, David in the water below (Psalm 68); f.293v David playing bells (Psalm 80); f.297 Two singers (Psalm 97); f.298v Trinity (Psalm 109); f.305v Solomon beating a youth with a birch (Proverbs); f.316 Solomon in judgement (Ecclesiastes); f.320 The Virgin as bride of The Church (Song of Songs); f.321v Solomon enthroned, teaching two men (Wisdom); f.329v Prophet holding a staff (Ecclesiasticus); f.349v Sawing of Isaiah (Isaiah); f.373 God addressing Jeremiah, beside a boiling cauldron (Jeremiah); f.403 Jeremiah lamenting Jerusalem (Lamentations); f.405v Baruch writing (Baruch); f.409 Ezekiel in bed, the tetramorph above (Ezekiel); f.434v Daniel in the lions' den (Daniel); f.445v Hosea and Gomer embracing (Hosea); f.449v Joel preaching to group of Jews (Joel); f.451 Amos tending sheep, addressing God (Amos); f.454 Prophet teaching (Obadiah); f.455 Jonah in the mouth of a whale (Jonah); f.456 Micah standing before a city (Micah); f.458 Nahum lamenting the fall of Nineveh (Nahum); f.460 God addressing Habakkuk who holds a vessel (Habakkuk); f.461 God addressing prophet (Zephaniah); f.462v Prophet standing before Temple (Haggai); f.463 Cyrus addressing God before Temple (Zechariah); f.468 Prophets in discussion (Malachi); f.470 Beheading of the idolatrous Jew (Maccabees I); f.487 King giving a letter to a messenger (Maccabees II); f.498v Tree of Jesse (Matthew); f.515v St Mark accompanied by lion (Mark); f.526 St Luke asperging the altar (Luke); f.544 St John accompanied by eagle (John); f.557 St Paul seated, holding a sword (Romans); f.563v St Paul holding a sword (Corinthians I); f.570v St Paul (Corinthians II); f.575 St Paul holding a sword (Galatians); f.577 St Paul holding a book (Ephesians); f.579 St Paul holding a sword (Philippians); f.581 St Paul holding a book (Colossians); f.582v St Paul holding a sword (Thessalonians I); f.583v St Paul (Thessalonians II); f.584v St Paul holding a book (Timothy I); f.586 St Paul holding a sword (Timothy II); f.587v St Paul holding a sword (Titus); f.588v St Paul addressing two men (Hebrews); f.593v Ascension (Acts); f.613 St Peter holding a key (Peter I); f.615 St Peter holding a book (Peter II); f.616 St John writing (John I); f.618 (2 initials) St John holding a book (John II); f.618v St Jude holding a book (Jude); f.620 St John writing (Revelations)
The illuminated initials are on folios 4v, 105v, 131v, 192, 206v, 218v, 245, 250, 247, 263v, 264, 307v, 318, 331, 351v, 354v, 405v, 409, 434v, 445 (2), 449 (2), 450v, 451 (2), 454, 454v, 456, 458, 459, 461, 462v, 463v, 468, 469v, 470 (2), 498, 498v, 525v, 544, 557, 563v, 570v, 575, 577, 579, 581, 582v, 584v, 586, 587v, 588 (2), 588v, 593, 611, 613, 619, 619v, 629