Books and Manuscripts, Medieval to Modern

Books and Manuscripts, Medieval to Modern

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 168. Bible in Latin | Illuminated manuscript on vellum, England (probably Oxford), second third of the 13th century.

Bible in Latin | Illuminated manuscript on vellum, England (probably Oxford), second third of the 13th century

Lot Closed

December 13, 03:08 PM GMT


24,000 - 30,000 GBP

Lot Details


Bible with prologues, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum

[England, Oxford, mid 13th century]

ii+445+iii leaves, c.185×130mm, apparently complete despite varying quire sizes, collation: 1–212, 318, 4–1516, 1614, 17–2116, 2214, 2316, 2414, 25–2716, 2814, 2910 many quires with contemporary quire signatures in roman numerals, some with catchwords, some traces of leaf signatures, written in 2 columns of 51 lines, the ruled space c.120x75mm, DECORATED WITH PAINTED INITIALS IN COLOURS to each book of the Bible, sometimes with dragons or animal heads, once with a human head wearing a hat, puzzle initials to each prologue, and flourished initials to each chapter; sewn on five bands and bound in modern brown leather, the spine with title “Holy Bible”, in a slip-case; intermittent stains and signs of wear, the headers often cropped, margins sometimes dirty, some natural and later flaws with repairs, the first leaf lacking one corner and more dirty than the rest, but overall in good condition


1.        The style of illumination and especially the palette, plus the non-Paris order of books, the absence of the Interpretations of Hebrew Names, etc., point to production at Oxford.

2.        Philip, chaplain of Eitorf (a few miles east of Bonn): the final page with late 15th-century donation inscription in red: ‘Laus deo. Istam bibliam dedit nobis venerabilis dominus Philippus de Eyttorp alterista et capellanus ibidem. Oretis fideliter pro eo in visceribus Ihesu Christi. Anno domini .1138. [sic]’

3.        Francisco Pascual Chiva, canon of San Juan, Valencia; sold in The Hague as part of the Bibliotheca Chivaeana Hispano-exotica, ou Catalogue raisonné d'une très curieuse collection de livres ... dont le recueil a été fait par Franc. Pascual Chiva, 3 September 1759 and following days, lot 1 on p. 22.

4.        Joseph Ermens (1736–1805), of Brussels: Description bibliographique de la bibliothèque de Joseph Ermens, imprimeur-libraire: Tome 1, 12 November 1805, and following days, lot 114.

5.        Louis-Marie-Joseph Duriez (1753–1825), of Lille (one whom see the blogpost for 22 July 2016 at, sold in Paris in 1927: Catalogue des livres composant la bibliothèque de feu M. Duriez, 22 January 1828, lot 5

6.        Jean Marthe Félicité (1785–1832), Marquis de Bruyères-Chalabre (on whom see the blogpost for 29 January 2013 at; he bequeathed his library to Anne-Françoise Boutet (1779-1847), an actress known as “Mademoiselle Mars”, who sold it in Paris in 1833: Catalogue des livres imprimés et manuscrits et des autographes, composant le cabinet de feu M. de Bruyères Chalabre, 6 May 1833, and following days, lot 1.


The books and prologues mostly follow the Paris order, but: Joshua has no prologue; Hosea has only the first of two usual prologues; the second and third prologues of Amos are written as one; the two prologues of Obadiah are not treated as one; the two prologues to Maccabees are those often attributed to Rabanus Maurus (‘Domino excellentissimo’ and ‘Reverendissimo et omni caritatis’); the Canonical Epistles precede the Pauline Epistles and Acts; the prologue to Deuteronomy follows Revelation.

The final page has an added 15th-century verse mnemonic list of the books of the Bible in the normal Paris order (not that of the present manuscript), ‘Biblia quem retinet sequitum sic metricus ordo …’. This is followed by a verse found in several incunable printed editions, beginning ‘Fontibus ex Graecis hebraeorum quoque libris …’, but here the word ‘impressa’ has been altered to ‘inscripta’.