50
50
Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1250-60]
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
50
Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1250-60]
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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London

Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1250-60]
565 leaves (plus 5 modern flyleaves at each end), 155mm. by 103mm., complete, quire signatures and occasional catchwords enable the collation: i24, ii-iv23, v22, vi23, vii25, viii20, ix24, x29, xi13, xii-xviii24, xix22, xx24, xxi30, xxii26, xxiii22, xxiv24, paginated 1-1130, double column, 49 lines, written space 105mm. by 70mm., written in brown ink in a very small gothic hand, capitals stroked in red, rubrics in red, chapter numbers and running titles in alternate red and blue, main text ending with “explicit biblioteca” in large angular script highlighted in red, 2-line initials in red or blue with contrasting pen-flourishing, 4- to 8-line puzzle initials in red and blue with contrasting pen-flourishing, 6-line initials in red, blue and gold, often with small lacertine dragon-headed biting creatures, four historiated initials: (i) St. Jerome writing at his desk (p.1); (ii) David playing the harp (p.449); (iii) Solomon instructing his son (p.499), (iv) the Tree of Jesse (p.829); and a very large initial ‘I’ extending the whole height of the page, and enclosing seven scenes of the Creation above a small image of the Crucifixion (p.7), numerous marginalia, notes to rubricator in lower margins, some edges of leaves slightly defective and split (many repaired before the writing of the text), initials on pp.1 and 449 with pigment losses, else in good condition, blue morocco binding with two clasps by the British female bookbinder Katharine Adams (1862-1952): signed and dated 1905 inside lower cover, title gilt on spine and upper cover (boards slightly bowed), edges gilt and gauffered, two leather clasps
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Provenance

(1) C.H. St. John Hornby (1867-1946), bibliophile and owner of the Ashendene press: his MS.5, with printed bookplate inside upper cover, and ownership inscription on flyleaf.  Bought from Puttick and Simpson, December 1904.

(2) Major J.R. Abbey (1894-1969), the celebrated English book collector: his MS.3165, with his circular blue leather bookplate inside upper cover and inscription on last flyleaf noting its acquisition on 16 September 1946, when he acquired the entire Hornby manuscript collection en bloc. His sale in our rooms, 25 March 1975, lot 2950, for £650, for the present owner. See C. de Hamel in The Book Collector (Spring 2014), pp.83-91, for the most recent account of Major Abbey and his collection.

Catalogue Note

text

This is a fine example of a Parisian Bible. The text is that of a normal thirteenth-century Bible as catalogued by Ker (MMBL, I, pp.96-97), with the exception of the prologues of St. Jerome before II Chronicles, Tobit and the second and third prologues before I Maccabees. This is followed by the standard Interpretations of Hebrew names, opening “Aaz apprehendans …”.

 illumination

The style of the manuscript can be closely compared to that of the Mathurin atelier, who was active in Paris in the 1240s and 1250s (Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris, 1977, pp.75-7), and specialised in the illumination of Vulgate Bibles. Characteristic are the silhouettes encased in black lines and white faces with long and straight noses. Very small initials are common for this workshop and easy legibility was therefore essential. Branner also notes this workshop’s production of Genesis initials in the form found here, with a Crucifixion with Mary and John at its base and short horizontal terminals at the top and bottom composed of simple, loose interlace.

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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London