BIBLE WITH THE PROLOGUES ATTRIBUTED TO ST. JEROME, THE INTERPRETATION OF HEBREW NAMES, IN LATIN, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM.
[Paris, mid-13th Century]
153 x 100mm., 586 leaves (of 588) [lacking opening folio and first folio of GENESIS each with historiated initial], 44 lines, double column, ruled in metalpoint, justification 97 x 68mm., written in black ink in a very small gothic hand, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, versal initials in Psalms and the Interpretation of Hebrew Names alternately red and blue, headings and chapter numberings in alternate letters of red and blue, two-line chapter initials alternately red and blue with contrasting flourishing extending the height of the page, FIFTY-NINE LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS, many incorporating dragon-grotesques, SEVENTY-EIGHT HISTORIATED INITIALS often with extensive leaf or dragon terminals, contemporary textual corrections often framed in red in the margins, other medieval notes, (slight cropping of some headings but generally in very good condition, the initials fresh and bright), German 16th-century blind-stamped goatskin over wooden boards, later clasps, gilt edges (rebacked).
1). Presumably written and illuminated in Paris.
2). Marginal notes in high German identifying each Book are in a 16th-century hand.
3). There is a 17th-century small Dutch portrait miniature on ivory of a man pasted inside the upper cover.
This handsome pocket Bible was illuminated in Paris by one of the finer artists of the Johannes Grusch atelier as defined by Robert Branner (Manuscript Painting in Paris in the time of St. Louis, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1977, pp. 82-6, figs. 212-43). The workshop was named after the Canon who in 1267 copied one of the Bibles illuminated in this manner. The earliest datable work in this style, in a Missal in Rouen Cathedral (Y-50 ), can be placed between 1235 and 1245. The present manuscript was produced closer to this date. Figures are well drawn and carefully modelled and many of the initials include coiled or twisting dragons or grotesques as part of their decoration. The range of colours in the historiated initials is wider than is ususal and is combined with a frequent use of burnished gold, sometimes even for drapery.
THE SUBJECTS OF THE HISTORIATED INITIALS ARE:
Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law (f.23); Offering of sheep (f.40v); God and Moses (f.52v); Moses putting the Tablets in the Ark (f.70); God and Joshua (f.85v); Gideon in Mail (f.96v); Elimelech and Naomi (f.108); Son of Heli about to be beheaded (f.110); Beheading of Amalekite (f.125v); Attendant brings Abishag to David (f.138); Ahaziah falls from tower (f.153); Two Israelites (f.167v); Solomon seated (f.1871); Prophet and Cyrus (f.197v); Nehemiah presents gold cup to Artaxerxes (f.201v); Asperging altar (f.208); Tobit sleeping (f.215); Judith and Holofernes (f.219v); Ahaseurus and Esther (f.225); Job and Comforter (f.231v); David harping (f.242v); David crowned (f.247); David pointing to his mouth (f.249v); Fool (f.252); David drowning (f.254v); David with bells (f.258); Two singers (f.261); Christ in Majesty (f.264); Solomon and Rehoboam (f.271); Solomon handing a fleur de lys to a boy (f.280v); Virgin and Child (f.283v); Solomon handing sword to youth (f.285); Solomon (f.291v); Isaiah sawn (f.309); Stoning (f.329v); Jeremiah lamenting (f.353); Baruch writing (f.353); Ezekiel sleeping, tetramorph above (f.356v); Daniel in the lions' den (f.378v); Hosea seated (f.387); Joel seated (f.390v); Amos seated (f.392); Obadiah (f.394; Jonah in the sea (f.395); Micah with a scroll (f.395v); Nahum (f.397v); Habbakuk (f.399); Zephanaiah (f.400); Haggai (f.401); Zecharaiah (f.402); Malachi (f.406); Beheading of idolatrous Jew (f.407v); Messenger sent with a letter (f.421); Jesse asleep (f.431); St. Mark and his lion (f.444v); St. Luke (f.453v); St. John and his eagle (f.468); St. Paul with a sword (f.479); St. Paul with a sword (f.484v); St. Paul seated (f.490); St. Paul seated (f.493v); St. Paul seated (f.495); St. Paul seated (f.497); St. Paul seated (f.499v); St. Paul seated (f.500v); St. Paul seated (f.501v); St. Paul seated (f.502v); St. Paul seated (f.504); St. Paul seated (f.504v); St. Paul with a Jew (f.504v); Pentecost (f.509); St. James (f.523); St. Peter (f.525); St. Peter with a key (f.526); St. John (f.527); St. John (f.528v); St. John standing (f.528v); St. John on Patmos (f.530).