(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.
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 …”.
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.
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