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Article

Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Thirteenth-century Ashkenazi illuminated Bible (Milan, Ambrosiana, MSS. B.30–32 INF). One of the earliest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts originating in Germany, it is a giant manuscript in three volumes, containing the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. As attested by a colophon at the end of the first volume, the Bible was commissioned by Joseph ben Moses from Ulmana, possibly referring to Ulm in Swabia or to Nieder-Olm in the Rhineland. The Bible was copied by Jacob ben Samuel and was massorated and vocalized by Joseph ben Kalonymus in collaboration with another masorete. The first part was completed between 1236 and 1238. The three volumes were illuminated by two artists, whose style is related to the 13th-century school of Würzburg. Illustrations with biblical scenes are located mainly within the initial word panels of the various biblical books, or at their end. Some of the illustrations carry a messianic or eschatological meaning. A broad cosmological composition occupies an opening at the end of the third volume, suggesting an impressive climax for the entire Bible. The full page miniature on the right illustrates the seven heavens, accompanied by the four animals of Ezekiel’s vision and the luminaries (fol. 135...

Article

Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (1309–61), the 6th Earl of Hereford and 5th Earl of Essex and his nephew Humphrey de Bohun VII (1342–73), the 7th earl of Essex and 2nd Earl of Northampton, Humphrey VII’s wife Joan Fitzalan (d 1419) and their daughters Eleanor (1366–99), who married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (see Plantagenet, House of family §(5)), son of King Edward III, and Mary (c. 1369–94), who married Henry of Bolingbroke (1366–1413; from 1399 King Henry IV), son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Known to have been active between c. 1360 and ...

Article

Katherine Forsyth

Illuminated Gospel book (Cambridge, U. Lib., MS. Ii.6.32) made in the 10th Century. This is the oldest extant Gospel book with a securely Scottish provenance. Housed since 1715 in Cambridge University Library, it belonged in the early 12th century to the monastery of Deer, Aberdeenshire, as shown by a series of property grants recorded in its margins. These notes constitute, by some three centuries, the oldest surviving documents in Scottish Gaelic. The Book is a small-format, abbreviated Gospels intended for personal devotion and intimate pastoral use. As such it is an exceptional survival from the period. It contains the complete Latin text of John’s Gospel, and the beginnings of the other three. At an early date the text of a communion service for the sick and dying was inserted on a separate leaf. The Book was produced c. 900 in a Gaelic-speaking milieu at an unknown location, possibly in north-east Scotland, perhaps at Deer itself. The scribe appears also to have been the artist. Despite its small size, the Book follows many of the conventions of Insular book art and is comparatively heavily illuminated. Its programme consists of ‘three cruciform pages, five Gospel incipits with decorated initials, five full-folio and one half-folio figurative miniatures, and a variety of marginalia’ which relate to points of significance in the text (Henderson ...

Article

Ben C. Tilghman

Irish illuminated Gospel book (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. 4. 23. (59)), with a short Missa pro infirmis inserted between the gospels of Luke and John, made in the 8th century. It consists of 74 folios and measures 175×142 mm, and is one of the distinctively Irish manuscripts known as ‘pocket gospels’, due to their small format. The traditional association of the manuscript with Dimma, a scribe and later bishop who miraculously wrote a copy of the gospels in 40 days for the 7th-century saint Cronan, cannot be sustained. The inscriptions in which his name appears include evident signs of erasure, indicating that the name of the original scribe was replaced with ‘Dimma’ in perhaps the 10th or 11th century, possibly at the same time that the Missa pro infirmis was added. The manuscript is in fact the work of several scribes. The synoptic gospels are written in an insular miniscule script alternating between bookhand and cursive forms, highly abbreviated and cramped in some places. The script for John is bolder, more regular, and refined. As with most other pocket gospels, each gospel is written on a separate quire, and each gospel begins with an evangelist portrait facing a page with display lettering. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are each represented as men holding books, while John is again differentiated by being represented as his symbol, the eagle. The book was enshrined in a ...

Article

Ben C. Tilghman

Illuminated manuscript (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. 4. 15. (57)) containing the Vulgate translation of the four Gospels, plus prefatory material derived form the Old Latin tradition, made in the 7th century. It measures 247×228 mm, contains 248 parchment folios, and is in a modern binding. No firm internal evidence indicates the date and location of the manuscript’s production, and the question of its origins has a contentious history, influenced occasionally by nationalist ideologies. A later colophon attributing it to St Colum Cille [St Columba] cannot be accepted as fact, but it is widely assumed that the book was made in a Columban monastery, whether in Ireland, Scotland, or Northumbria. It can be dated to the 7th century on stylistic and palaeographical grounds. The main body script is an Irish half-uncial, punctuated by display lettering at six major textual divisions and letters ringed in red dots at minor divisions. The programme of illumination includes a full-page depiction of the four evangelist symbols together around a cross, full-page depictions of each of the evangelist symbols (e.g. ...

Article

Christopher de Hamel

Late medieval prayerbook containing, as its principal text, psalms, and devotions (primarily invoking the Virgin Mary) for the eight canonical hours of the day: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. They were intended for private reading and meditation by the laity, forming a shorter version of the cycle of daily prayers and psalms recited from the Breviary by members of religious orders. Each office is usually no more than a few pages long, and the books are generally small and portable, often of octavo size. Most surviving Books of Hours were made in the 15th century and early 16th, and they were produced in such numbers that they still form the most common surviving group of European illuminated manuscripts.

The offering of psalms eight times a day can be traced back to early monasticism, and parallel forms of worship are found in lay devotions (see Service book...

Article

Roger Stalley

Manuscript of the four Gospels, in Latin, written and illuminated on vellum probably in the second half of the 8th century ad. It is the most extravagant and complex of the Insular Gospel books, representing the climax of a development that began in the 7th century ad with such manuscripts as the Book of Durrow (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 57; see fig.). The 340 folios (originally about 370; present size 330×255 mm) are now bound into four volumes (Dublin, Trinity Coll. Lib., MS. 58). As well as the four Gospels the manuscript contains a sequence of ornate canon tables, decorated with architectural frames and symbols of the Evangelists, and other introductory material. St Matthew’s Gospel opens with a whole page devoted to the symbolic beasts (fol. 27v), one of several such pages designed to underline the harmony of the four Gospels. This is followed by a portrait of ...

Article

M. A. Michael

The elaboration of the margins of a manuscript with decorative or figural motifs. The development of decoration for otherwise blank margins on a page with text is associated with the evolution of the decorated and historiated initial (see Initial, manuscript; for borders accompanying full-page miniatures, see Miniature §I). It forms part of a developing scheme of hierarchies in the decoration of the manuscript, which in turn is linked to the page design and punctuation of the text. In its earliest phase, border ornament was closely tied to the form of the initial, so that by the 12th century parts of the initial were elongated to the extent that they affected the design of the page. In the Gothic period, however, borders became a more independent form of decoration, and pages of lesser importance were also included in the decorative scheme.

Another factor in the development of border decoration was the use of penwork initials, particularly in the Canon law and theology books copied at the university towns of Bologna, Paris, and Oxford in the Early Gothic period. In these textbooks, the decoration of initials of varying importance formed part of the visual organization of the page to enable easier reference. This hierarchical system of decoration for secular texts may have influenced the introduction of a similar system into the growing numbers of liturgical books owned by the laity. In addition, there seems to have been an association between the increased decoration of a text and its veneration, so that Psalters and Books of Hours, in particular, used as part of a programme of private devotion, were lavishly decorated both in a way that made them more accessible to the layman and in order to emphasize their sacredness. The amount of decoration used in a book can also help to gauge the cost of its production. This consideration, combined with the hierarchy of borders that had emerged by the end of the 13th century, was important in shaping the decorative programme of a manuscript; whether borders covered one or more margins on a page would depend on the amount of money spent and the relative importance of the text they framed....

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Liturgical book containing the psalms, readings from the scriptures, the Church Fathers or the lives of the saints, antiphons, and prayers that constitute the Divine Office for each day of the Christian Church year (see Service book). The Divine Office comprises the daily devotions observed at the eight canonical hours of the day (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline), arranged around the psalms, so that all 150 psalms are read each week. Its text covers two distinct sections: the Temporal (or Proper of Time), containing the offices for Sundays and festivals commemorating the life of Christ and the weekdays of the year; and the Sanctoral (or Proper of Saints), with offices for the feast days of saints. Supplementary offices for certain occasions, for instance the Office of the Dead and Little Office of the Virgin, were sometimes added to the daily office, and a full version of the Breviary usually includes the whole ...

Article

Kathryn B. Gerry

Illuminated Gospel book (210×272 mm; London, BL, Harley MS, 76) made in the first half of the 11th century, probably at Canterbury, Christ Church. This is one of a group of manuscripts associated with the scribe and monk Eadui and several other unnamed scribes; other manuscripts in the group include the Eadui Codex (Hannover, Kestner-Mus., WM XXIa 36) and the Eadui Psalter (London, BL, Arundel MS. 155). The script in the Bury Gospels has not been attributed to these particular scribes, but the style of the remaining ornamental work is similar to others in this group. It is likely that the book was produced at Canterbury for export, either to Bury St Edmunds or some other house, perhaps commissioned by King Canute (reg 1016–35) and Queen Emma (d 1052). The manuscript was at Bury St Edmunds by the end of the 11th century, as shown by added material related to that house copied by a Bury scribe (fols 137...

Article

Nigel J. Morgan

Manuscript (514×353 mm; Cambridge, Corpus Christi Coll., MS. 2) identified with a Bible recorded in the Gesta sacristarum of Bury St Edmunds Abbey. It is described as having been commissioned by the Sacrist, Hervey, in the time of his brother, Prior Talbot (c. 1125–38), and illuminated by Master Hugo. From this information a date of c. 1135 has been suggested for its production. Full-page painted miniatures (see Romanesque, §IV, 2, (vi)) survive at the beginning of six of the biblical books, and there are also historiated initials. These are painted in strong colours dominated by reds, blues, greens, and purple. Although this palette is in some ways similar to that of the St Albans style evident in the Life and Miracles of St Edmund (New York, Morgan Lib., MS. M. 736), a manuscript produced at Bury a few years earlier and probably painted by the artist of the St Albans Psalter (...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

As applied to medieval manuscripts, a list of the principal feast days of the Church and the commemorative feasts of the saints throughout the liturgical year. It was an essential part of books used to celebrate Mass (the Missal, Pontifical, and Benedictional) and the Divine Office (the Psalter and Breviary), as well as of books of prayers used for private devotion (e.g. Book of Hours). Major Church feasts (e.g. Christmas and Easter), the commemorative days of the Apostles and other major saints or the names of saints particularly important in the diocese for which the book was made might be highlighted by being written in red, gold, or blue. The text usually begins with an embellished KL (for Kalends, the Latin name for the first day of the month); the days of the week are indicated by lower-case letters a–g, accompanied by abbreviations of Ides (the 9th day before Nones) and Nones (the 13th or 15th day of the month). Golden numbers (i–xix) might also appear in the left column for calculating the date of the Paschal moon (relevant to the date of Easter). Normally the text for such a calendar, with a line allocated to each day, occupied the ...

Article

Don Denny

Numerical list of concordant passages in the Gospels, devised in the early 4th century by the historian Eusebios of Caesarea. Such tables indicate passages to be found in all four Gospels, those found in two or three of the Gospels and those unique to a particular Gospel. In medieval manuscripts they appear as a series of pages, varying from seven to as many as nineteen, placed at the front of Gospel books and often included, preceding the Gospels, in full Bibles. It was customary to surround them with ornament and, despite the wide geographical and chronological range of this practice, the basic decorative format remained fairly constant. The tables are divided and framed by representations of architectural columns surmounted by arcades or, occasionally, pediments; pictorial matter is concentrated in the upper part of the design, which might contain decorative and symbolic bird and plant motifs as well as more explicit illustrative features, such as the Evangelist symbols or the Twelve Apostles. In Eastern manuscripts the tables are sometimes preceded by two or three pages of introductory text, similarly framed by architectural designs, and a further page of related ornament (e.g. a tempietto) might be included at the beginning or end....

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript (Moscow, Hist. Mus. MS. D.29). It is a small Marginal Psalter (195×150 mm) of 169 folios, in which broad spaces were left blank on the outer edges of the pages to be filled with numerous unframed illustrations, glossing the biblical text in various ways (see Early Christian and Byzantine art, §V, 2, (iv), (f)). The original text and captions to the illustrations were elegantly written in a small uncial script around the mid-9th century ad. In the 12th century, however, most of the text was crudely overwritten in minuscule, giving the book a messy appearance. This evidence of continued use over a long period is also reflected in the state of the miniatures, many of which are heavily worn and flaked, yet the manuscript is still more complete than two other roughly contemporary Psalters (Paris, Bib. N., MS. grec 20; Mt Athos, Pantokrator Monastery, MS. 61)....

Article

Robert G. Calkins

As applied to the Christian liturgy, a book containing the words and music for the chants sung during the celebration of Mass or the Divine Office. Several types of choir-book evolved during the Middle Ages. A Gradual contains all the chants sung by the choir during the celebration of the Mass. These normally include the antiphons for the Introit (opening phrase), Offertory, and Communion chants, as well as the gradual (an antiphon or response sung between the reading of the Epistle and Gospel), after which the book was named. The Gradual was usually written in large format so that it could be placed on a lectern in front of the choir and be read by all the members. Lines of musical notation usually alternate with those of the text and with dense passages of instructions, written in smaller script. The organization of the Gradual is similar to that of the ...

Article

Marina Vidas

French illuminated manuscript (295×140 mm, 174 fols; Copenhagen, Kon. Bib., GKS 1606 4°), made in Paris c. 1230 with later additions. Its original textual components are: a Calendar, the Psalms, Canticles, Hymns, Litany, and Collects. In its present state the pictorial programme consists of 24 calendrical medallions representing the signs of the zodiac and the labours of the month and 24 Christological miniatures on burnished grounds, preceding the Psalter proper. The Psalter text is illuminated with eight historiated initials, of which six show Davidian subjects, as well as with many decorative initials and line endings. The manuscript is named after Princess Christina of Norway (1234–62), the daughter of Håkon IV (reg 1217–63), who in an early 14th-century inscription on the pastedown of the back cover is stated to have owned the Psalter. Manuscript evidence—the Cistercian saints in the Calendar, the Litany made for the use of the royal abbey of St‑Germain‑des‑Prés, the employment of three miniature painters who worked on the three-volume ...

Article

Heather Pulliam

French illuminated manuscript (Amiens, Bib. Mun., MS. 18) containing the Gallican Psalter, canticles, litanies, and Fides Athanasii in Latin, in Maurdramnus script and made in or near Corbie c. 800. Elaborate initials, approximately 60 of which contain human figures, begin each psalm and canticle. The illumination fuses Merovingian, Byzantine, Sasanian, Insular, Lombard, and Carolingian styles. The iconography is multivalent and ranges from biblical persons to monks at prayer. Like the Utrecht and Stuttgart Psalters, the Corbie Psalter’s complex word–image relationships offer a rare glimpse into early approaches to Psalter illustration. The manuscript, along with the Vespasian Psalter, St Petersburg Bede, Gellone Sacramentary, and the Book of Kells, provides a significant witness to the development of historiated initials and predicts forms and motifs found in Romanesque initials.

The initials of Psalms 1, 50, and 100 are given special emphasis, suggesting a tripartite division of the psalms in the Irish manner. Scholars have also associated the Corbie Psalter with two manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (MS. lat. 13025 and lat. 4884), suggesting the possibility of a common artist or artists. The manuscript’s incomplete colour has been incorrectly described as unsophisticated, possibly due to the deteriorated state of many of its pages and the fact that the first few folios of the manuscript appear to have been crudely over-painted. In the small number of pages where the original colour survives in good condition, the careful application of naturalistic colour resembles that of the Lindisfarne Gospels while the layering of matte and iridescent colours matches the artistry found in the Book of Kells....

Article

Lawrence Nees

Carolingian Psalter (192×120mm; Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. 1861) made in the late 8th century. This remarkable illuminated Psalter has two poetic dedications, from Dagulf, the scribe who wrote it, to Charlemagne, and from Charlemagne to Hadrian (Pope Adrian I (reg 772–95)). It is the earliest royal gift to a pope to survive, although apparently it was never delivered. Adrian’s sudden death in 795 is probably the reason the book never arrived in Rome, and is one of the reasons it is likely to have been written in that year. Some scholars have thought that it was written as much as a decade earlier and the dedication poems added later, but this seems on the whole unlikely. It contains all of the Psalms, and the associated Old Testament canticles, and, as prefaces, an unusual and long series of Creeds and other texts. The two ivory panels that formed part of the manuscript’s original covers survive separately (Paris, Louvre; ...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Hebrew Bible (Jerusalem, National.. Library of Israel., MS. Heb 4°790, and a single page in Toledo, El Transito Synagogue and Sephardic Museum), copied c. 1260, perhaps in Toledo by Menachem ben Abraham ibn Malikh for Isaac bar Abraham Hadad, both members of known and documented Toledan families. At some later stage further decorations were added, apparently in Burgos. The Damascus Keter is an outstanding exemplar out of approximately 120 decorated Bibles from Iberia and belongs to a group of three very similar codices from the middle of the 13th century, produced in Toledo. It thus represents a rich tradition of Jewish art flourishing between the 13th and the 15th centuries. These Bibles were used either by scholars for private study, or for biblical readings during synagogue services.

Typical of numerous Bibles from the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula, the decoration consists of numerous carpet pages executed in Micrography and enriched by painted embellishments. This is a technique typically used in Hebrew decorated books and harks back to Middle Eastern manuscripts of the 10th century. Apart from the carpet pages, the Damascus ...

Article

M. Heinlen

Essentially a papal letter concerning a matter of canonical discipline. Throughout the Middle Ages numerous collections of decretals were compiled, which served as the basis of ecclesiastical administration and canon law; in the 12th century they began to be extensively illustrated. Between the 12th and 15th centuries illustrated canon law manuscripts, primarily comprising decretals, were made and used throughout western Europe, with major centres of production located in such university cities as Paris and Bologna. These books, along with civil law manuscripts, are numerically the most important type of non-liturgical manuscript illustrated in the medieval period, and a wide range of stylistic developments is represented in the hundreds of extant examples.

The earliest illustrations in decretal manuscripts are Trees of Consanguinity and Affinity. These full-page schemata depict degrees of familial relationships in order to demonstrate the legal implications of marriage bonds. The Tree of Consanguinity shows a man standing with outstretched arms before a tree containing the Table of Consanguinity; the affinities were similarly depicted but also included a woman. These illustrations first appeared in manuscripts of the ...