Lot 9
  • 9


25,000 - 35,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • bound book - ink on parchment
c.300x200mm, vellum, iii+38+iii leaves, COMPLETE, collation: i6, ii-v8, with catchwords, prickings preserved in all three margins, 3 columns with 19 lines of biblical text in a central column, c.205x70mm, with the gloss between the lines to each side, and further side-notes in the margins, numerous natural flaws, some later staining, bound in plain 18th-century pasteboard covers, the endpapers with watermark ‘1763 VALLEGARD’(?), the vellum spine inscribed ‘B. Johani Apocalipsis Sec. XII.’, title-page in capitals ‘Apocalypsis Beati Ioannis Apostoli cum notis interlinearibuis et marginalibis MS’

Catalogue Note

PROVENANCE (1) Count Gustavo Camillo Gallétti (1805-68), editor of ancient texts and bibliophile: with his ink stamp; his library was acquired in 1879 by: (2) Baron Horace de Landau (1824-1903), Rothschild banker and bibliophile: his bookplate with HL monogram and coronet (Lugt, Marques, no.1334c), stamped ‘3581 / 3582’; Catalogue des livres manuscrits … de M. Horace de Landau, I, 1885, p.266; dying childless he bequeathed his collections to his niece: (3) Mme Hugo Finaly, née Jenny Ellenberger: Landau-Finaly sale by Hoepli and Kundig, Geneva, 25-26 June 1948, lot 103. (4) Albert W. Blum (1882-1952), engineer and collector of Old Master prints, of Switzerland and Short Hills, New Jersey: with his ink stamp (Lugt, Marques, no.79b); thence by descent.


The main text opens with a rubric and Revelation 1:1, ‘Incipit liber Apoc. Iohannis apostoli. [Q]uam dedit illi deus palam fecere …’; the first gloss to the left is ‘Littera sic ac si ita commoneret, attendite hanc visionem …’, and on the right ‘Materia status ecclesie Asiane, et totius presentis ecclesie …’ (Stegmüller, no.11853) ending ‘… Gratia Domini nostri Iesu Christi cum \vobis/ omnibus. Amen. Christo placeat senper [sic] fiat’.

Until it became common in the 13th century to have the complete Bible in a single volume, it was normal for Bibles to be bound in two, three, or four large volumes, and for glossed books of the Bible to be grouped in considerably smaller textual units, such that a complete set might consist of about thirty volumes. While the Gospels, Pauline Epistles, and Catholic Epistles formed natural groupings, the relatively short and very idiosyncratic text of Revelation, the Apocalypse, was paired with a variety of different Old or New Testament books, and is sometimes encountered on its own, as in the present example (another 12th-century Italian example is New York, Morgan Library, MS M.631).

The layout of glossed books of the Bible evolved over the course of the 12th century, partly to minimise crowding on some pages and excessive blank space on others; the layout using three columns of unchanging width, seen here, is the oldest format, which was superseded by the middle of the century; the only hint of any evolution in the layout is the occasional sub-division of the Gloss columns into two narrower columns on the final few leaves. The use of decidedly mediocre parchment and lack of decoration suggests that the present volume was produced at a provincial monastery, eagerly trying to copy for its library the Gloss being disseminated from the school of Laon via Paris.