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Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes, large historiated initial on a leaf from the Chudleigh Bible, in Latin, manuscript on vellum
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16
Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes, large historiated initial on a leaf from the Chudleigh Bible, in Latin, manuscript on vellum
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Details & Cataloguing

Western Manuscripts and Miniatures

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Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes, large historiated initial on a leaf from the Chudleigh Bible, in Latin, manuscript on vellum

a single leaf, 283mm. by 192mm., large 13-line initial ‘A’ (opening of Judith), 44mm. by 36mm. plus long extension, showing Judith and an attendant cutting off the head of Nebuchadnezzar’s commander Holofernes as he lies in bed in his tent, finely painted in colours and highly burnished gold with extension into the lower margin, on a leaf from a Bible, 53 lines, written-space 185mm. by120mm., rubricated, red and blue initials, marginal corrections in red cartouches (a very distinctive feature of this manuscript), a second large illuminated initial ‘A’ enclosing a dragon (“Apud hebreos …”, prologue to Judith, Stegmüller 335), slight wear at edges, loosely enclosed in a mount


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Catalogue Note

An attractive narrative miniature from one of the well-known first-generation one-volume thirteenth-century Bibles.   The volume was sold by Lord Clifford of Chudleigh in these rooms, 7 December 1953, lot 51, and reappeared on 8 July 1970, lot 104.  It was dispersed soon afterwards.  Although it is tempting to attribute these luxurious early gothic Bibles to Parisian workshops, where volumes like the Bibles Moralisées were probably being made, the Chudleigh Bible fits closely into a group of illuminated manuscripts associated with the abbey of St-Vaast in Arras, and it was perhaps made there.  It is cited in R. Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris during the Reign of Saint Louis, 1977, p.30, n.17, and in L.M.C. Randall, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery, I, France, 875-1420, 1989, p.43, comparing Walters, W.61.  A detail of the manuscript’s marginal corrections is pl.36 in C. de Hamel, Scribes and Illuminators, 1992, p.43.

Western Manuscripts and Miniatures

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London