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Details & Cataloguing

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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London

Josias keeps the Passover, a historiated initial on a leaf from the Chudleigh Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [north-eastern France (perhaps Arras), c.1220-30]
single leaf, 286mm. by 193mm., with a 12-line historiated initial ‘E’ in light pink and blue with white penwork decoration on contrasting grounds, enclosing Josias celebrating the Passover with the inhabitants of Jerusalem against a burnished gold ground (for the opening of the Book of Esdras), double column, 54 lines in a gothic bookhand, written space 185mm. by 120mm., capitals stroked in red, rubrics in red, running headers and chapter numbers alternately in red and blue, 2-line initials in red or blue with contrasting pen-flourishing, with wide margins, small stains, else in excellent condition
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Catalogue Note

This is an appealing leaf from the profusely decorated Chudleigh Bible, sold by Baron Clifford of Chudleigh in our rooms, 7 December 1953, lot 51, reappearing again, 8 July 1970, lot 104. It was dispersed soon afterwards, and leaves later appeared in Quaritch, cat.1147, 1991, no.15; Maggs, cat.1167, 1993, no.2; and in our rooms, 6 December 2005, lot 16. The Bible fits into a group of illuminated manuscripts associated with the abbey of St.-Vaast in Arras and was perhaps made there, although cross-references with the Alexander atelier in Paris are also apparent (Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris, p.30, n.17; see also L.M.C. Randall, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, I, 1989, p.43). The monumental size and the abundant use of burnished gold attest the high prestige of a grand commission.

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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London