An illuminated French Bible leaf

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£ 1 890
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12.12.2022 00:00 UTC +00:00
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ID 869475
Лот 73 | An illuminated French Bible leaf
An illuminated French Bible leaf
The Creation in a historiated Genesis initial on a leaf from a Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [France (Paris ?), mid 13th century].
An unusual variant of a common iconography for the Seven Days of Creation.

243 × 168 mm. 2 columns of 49 lines, written below top line, capitals stroked in red, the text comprising the end of a prologue to the Pentateuch and Genesis 1:1–2:12 (‘est illud. Ex Egypto […] illius optimum’), running title and chapter number in blue and red, illuminated with a historiated initial extending above and below the columns of text, the verso with a large initial in red with penwork flourishing extending almost the full height of the page (the lead white pigment used for faces in the initials mostly flaked, minor cockling, dirt, and wormholes).

Provenance:
(1) Maggs Bros, with their pencil acquisition note dated December 1985; offered in their European Bulletin 13 (July 1986), no. 41 (full-page ill.); another leaf was no 42, and on p. 1 they note “we have in stock several examples of some of the items – these include nos. […] 41 […]’.
(2) Colker MS 376; acquired in 1986 from Maggs.

Illumination:
As is often the case, it is difficult to be sure exactly what is represented in each tiny compartment of the initial, especially as illuminators did not always follow the biblical sequence closely. Often the final scene, at the bottom, is God Resting on the Seventh Day, or a Crucifixion; here, however, it appears that the top scene shows God Resting: he is enthroned, blesses, and holds an orb of the Earth (divided into three parts by an inverted ‘T’-shape). In the remaining scenes he stands: the separation of dark and light (?), the separation of the Earth from the firmament (?), the Creation of the Sun and Moon (? God holds a crescent), the Creation of trees and plants, the Creation of animals, and the Creation of Adam and Eve.
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