Four leaves from a monumental lectern Bible, illuminated manuscript in Latin, on vellum
4,000 - 6,000 GBP
bidding is closed
four leaves (2 bifolia: Obadiah 1, and end of Luke, and opening of John), each leaf 485mm. by 330mm., double column, 42 lines in dark brown ink in a single early gothic bookhand, rubrics in red, some readings underlined on one bifolium, the other with numerous small coloured initials in alternate blue and red, the Old Testament bifolium with a 7-line historiated initial 'V' (opening 'Visio abdie ...') formed of coloured and decorated column and a long necked winged animal, and enclosing a full length seated portrait of the prophet, his robes in red with blue and white details, his face, hands, feet and cloak left in pen and ink, with small touches of gold on his bracelets and staff, all on a pale green ground heightened with groups of black dots, the New Testament bifolium with a 9-line historiated initial 'I' (opening 'In principio erat verbum ...'), enclosing a full-length portrait of the evangelist John, standing and holding a staff, his robes in red checked pattern, his cloak, bracelets and halo touched in burnished gold, his face a soft pink, all on blue ground within red and white frame, some minor splashes of water-damage to text, and slight rubbing to both initials with some loss of gold, else good condition
These are fine examples of twelfth-century French art. The face and composition of John is close to that of a figure on a leaf from an antiphonal made at Jumièges at the end of the eleventh century, now BnF. lat. 13765, fol.b (Gousset, Enluminures médiévales, 2005, p. 18), and the use of a muted green agrees with other examples of contemporary French work (see Getty, MS. 38;89, 45, made c. 1131-65; Kren, French Illuminated manuscripts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007, p. 5).