Lot 6
  • 6

The Old Testament, in Latin

18,000 - 25,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Glossed Sapiential Books of the Old Testament, in Latin. [France (Paris), c.1260]
  • vellum
Vellum (ca. 13 1/5 x 9 1/4 in.; 335 x 235 mm), iii+i+180+iii leaves, COMPLETE, 16 quires of 12 leaves except i8, vi10, xiv8 and xvi10, 3 columns, 24-26 lines with marginal and interlinear glosses, 6 LARGE PUZZLE INITIALS at beginnings of books and prefaces (ff.1r, 49r, 64v, 91v, 92r(x2)), small flourished initials and paraph marks, a few leaves stained, several leaves towards end with irregular margins, split in lower margin of f.135 repaired with tape, generally in very good condition with wide margins, bound after 1896 in dark blue morocco signed by W.J. Mansell


The characteristic script and penwork decoration indicate production in Paris ca. 1260, and the extensive annotations in the wide margins suggest that this manuscript was owned by a student of theology at the university, or a scholarly Parisian ecclesiastic — Plummet notes suggest a possible connection with Bayeux (ff.126v, 129v, lower margins) — Gilles de Roye (1415–87), chronicler and abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Royaumont, about 30 miles north of Paris, received the volume in February 1459 (n.s.) from one of the four libraires principaux of Paris, Jean Guymier (on whom see R.H. and M.A. Rouse, Manuscripts and Their Makers, I, pp. 324–6, II, pp. 72–3, 405); Gilles exchanged it for duplicate manuscripts from the monastery library: inscribed "Ce livre a este acquis par frere Gille de Roye \abbe de Royaulmont/ de Jehan Guymier, libraire de Paris, par eschange fait avec luy des iiii l(ivres) des Rois et de Lucas et Johannes glosati, lesquelx estoient doubles en la librairie de Royaulmont, et n’en y avoit point de pareil a ce present. Fait le moys de Fevrier l’an Mil CCCCLVIII" (f.180v) — The Cistercian abbey of Les Dunes (Ten Duinen), between Bruges and Dunkirk: apparently taken there by Gilles de Roye after he resigned the abbacy of Royaumont (see Huglo, 2005) — The Cistercian abbey of Aulne-sur-Sambre, in the diocese of Liège, about 100 miles south-east of Les Dunes: — Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872), his Catalogue, nos. 4734 and 20567: acquired "Ex Bibl. Monasterii de Alna" with about 115 other Aulne manuscripts (most of which were acquired after his death by the Bibliothèque Royale, Brussels); Phillipps sale in our London rooms, 21 March 1895, lot 87, bought by Nichols for £56; in H.S. Nichols’ catalogue, 1896, no. 29, priced £95 (clipping, inscribed by Sydney Cockerell, stuck to f.iii verso); — Harold Baillie Weaver (1860–1926): his sale at Christie’s, 29 March 1898, lot 146, bought by Tregaskis for £15 — Michael Tomkinson (1841–1921), of Franche Hall, Kidderminster, with his bookplate; his sale in our London rooms, 3 July 1922, lot 1105, bought by Davis and Orioli for £13 10s; sold by them two weeks later to: — Eric George Millar (1887–1966), scholar, collector of medieval manuscripts, and Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum, with his flyleaf notes and printed book label, and with his detailed typescript description inserted loosely; his sale in our London rooms, 18 June 1962, lot 114, bought by Quaritch (three days after the sale, Millar wrote to Sotheby’s that "the prices were very satisfactory, especially the £520 for the Sapiential books, for which I had paid £20!!"); Quaritch, Catalogue no.833, 1962, no.2 pl.II, priced £800 or $2240; — sold by them to Philip C. Duschnes (d.1970), of New York. acquisition: Warren Howell, April 1964


Formatting the Word of God 11.1; M. Huglo, "La Dispersion des manuscrits de Royaumont II: Gilles de Roye," Revue Bénédictine, CXV, 2005, pp. 205–10; M. Huglo, "La Dispersion des manuscrits de Royaumont", Revue Bénédictine, CXIII, 2003, pp. 365–406, especially the "Excursus: Recherches sur le manuscrit de Gilles de Roye" at pp. 399–406; D. Turner, "List of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Owned by Eric Millar," in The George Eric Millar Bequest of Manuscripts and Drawings, 1968, at p. 15 no. 63, mistakenly stating that the manuscript had been acquired by the Bibliothèque royale, Brussels

Catalogue Note

The main text consists of the biblical books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom, and the Song of the Songs, with extensive glosses between the lines and on all sides. The biblical text ends on f.179r, and is followed by a "Sermo de Sancto Andrea" on 2 Maccabees 6:19 (“But he, choosing rather a most glorious death than a hateful life, went forward voluntarily to the torment”), added on formerly blank pages (for the possible significance of this sermon, see Huglo 2005).