A large 13th century-Bible from the Doheny collection
9 Biblia latina with the interpretations of the Hebrew namesIlluminated manuscript on vellum. Southern France (Toulouse?), last quarter of the 13th century.
356 x 242 mm. 533 leaves (including one blank), plus modern flyleaves, complete: I-XLIII12, XLIV10, XLV8-1 (blank VIII cancelled), early foliation (followed here) beginning at fol. 4 (Genesis). Horizontal catchwords in red cartouches. – Written space 228 x 147 mm, double columns of 53 lines.Written in a Southern Textualis Libraria in brown and dark brown ink, ruled in plummet, rubrics in red, capitals touched in red. One-line capitals in Psalms and the Interpretation of Hebrew names alternately red and blue, two-line chapter initials throughout alternately red and blue with contrasting red, blue and purple penwork. Approximately 69 large illuminated initials in elaborate foliage designs, often including dragon, animal or human heads and long marginal extensions, in pink, red and blue on pink and blue grounds with touches of orange, green and yellow, fine white-line tracery and burnished gold bezants. 78 large historiated initials in burnished gold frames on blue and pink grounds with foliage and grotesque extensions, including three full-length initials (fol. i, 1, and 391v). – Marginal corrections in contemporary hands in black and brown ink, guide numbers for chapter numbering in outer margins. Some creasing and slight spotting of margins, occasional medieval repairs, staining and worming of first three folios, in general in very fine condition with wide margins. – 19th-century blind-tooled morocco binding by Bedford, edges gilt, in a brown fitted quarter morocco case.
PROVENANCE: 1. Probably in an institutional collection in the 16th or 17th century; with a pressmark, apparently 27:53 on the fore edge. 2. Sir Thomas Brooke (1830-1908), his armorial bookplate inside front cover (A Catalogue of Manuscripts and Printed Books collected by Thomas Brooke and preserved at Armitage Bridge House, near Huddersfield, I, 1891, p. 50);W. lngham Brooke sale, Sotheby’s, 7 March 1913, lot 2. 3. Quaritch, A Catalogue of Illuminated and Other Manuscripts together with some works on Palaeography, 1931, pp. 10-11, no. 14, with folding plate. 4. Countess Estelle Doheny (1875-1958); presented to the Edward Laurence Doheny Memorial Library, St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, California; their sale, Christie’s, 2 December 1987, lot 150. 5. J. R. Ritman Collection (Bibliotheca Philosophica
TEXT:De Ricci ascribes the manuscript to southern France, and the rounded Southern Textualis Libraria is paralleled in a number of manuscripts from Toulouse and Languedoc dating from the late 12th and early 13th century (Avril 1998, pp. 329-334, nos. 229, 230, 231 and 233). The most remarkable feature of the volume is its very large size, which sets it apart entirely from the small single-volume bibles produced in Paris from the 1220s. Nevertheless, it was clearly produced with an awareness of these Parisian bibles: the text is> written in two columns of dense script, and is divided and marked by small initials. It follows the standard Paris order of the biblical books, with chapter numbers in the text columns and running headings. Prologues have been systematically inserted throughout.The text of the alphabetical interpretation of Hebrew names, which was added at this time and is usually attributed to Stephen Langton, is found in its customary place at the end of the volume.
ILLUMINATION:Historiated initials on fol. i, 1, 20v 36, 46v, 62v, 76v 86, 96, 98, 112, 123 136, 148v, 160, 174v, 178v, 184, 190, 194, 199, 205, 214v, 218, 220v, 222v, 224v, 227v, 230, 233, 238, 247v, 249v, 251, 257, 273, 292v, 315, 317, 320, 341, 350, 353, 354v, 357, 357v, 358v, 360v, 361v, 362v, 364, 365, 368v, 370, 382v, 391v, 404, 412v, 425v, 435v, 440v, 445v, 449, 450v, 452, 453v, 454v, 455v, 456, 457, 458v, 459, 459, 463, 476v, 477v, 481v, 482v. The decoration can be attributed to the circle of artists who illuminated the Bible of Jean de Cardaillac (Stuttgart,Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Cod.bibl.2° 8, cf. Avril 1998, no. 230; exh. cat. Stuttgart 1996, pp. 366-75, no. 94) and a large Breviary (Paris, BN, n.a.lat. 2511, cf. Avril 1998, no. 229). This group can probably be located in Toulouse, where a university which rivalled that of Bologna had been located since 1229: the closest parallels for the style are with a number of manuscripts with legal content, such as the Gratian Decretals in Berlin (Staatsbibliothek, ms. lat. f° 4), usually regarded as having been produced in Toulouse. The illuminators of this circle, while clearly influenced by Parisian illumination, exhibit a number of distinctive features, in particular the range of grotesque figures with comic faces perched on long curling bar borders which are characteristic of south-western French production. The very extensive decoration of the present manuscript is arranged to indicate the relative importance of the various texts, so that full or almost full-page initials mark the openings of the first prologue, Genesis and the first Gospel, while historiated initials mark the beginning of each book and illuminated initials mark the Prologues. The complex Genesis initial is particularly close to that in the Cardaillac Bible, although the structure of the marginal extensions shares some features with the decoration of English manuscripts of the William of Devon group. One of the most meticulously executed miniatures is the figure of St Jerome on fol. i, in a style which, with its refined drawing and subtle modelling of deep drapery folds, anticipates the quality of illumination of the imposing Languedocian manuscript of Gratian’s Decretals of c. 1320 (Paris, BN, lat. 3898, cf. Avril 1998, no. 233). The distinctive metallic yellow and soft grey of the palette, the latter also seen in the Cardaillac Bible, are indicative of the increasing range of colours available to artists in the later years of the 13th century.The majority of the initials were executed by an artist whose figure style is characterised by variety of pose, lively gestures, physiognomies with almond-shaped eyes and> the use of shading to give a three-dimensional quality to drapery, all also features of the illumination of the Cardaillac Bible.
LITERATURE: 1. De Ricci/Wilson I, 1935, p. 21, no. 4; exh. cat. Los Angeles 1935, no. 2. Exh. cat. Stuttgart 1996, pp. 28-29;Avril 1998.