Dominican Friarís decorative Bible leaf.


Recto:  Text written in black ink on extremely thin vellum in Latin in a precise gothic minuscule script in two columns of 48 lines. The text is written in remarkably tiny and well formed letters, so small that there are five lines of text to the centimetre, or thirteen lines to the inch.  One exceptional 32-line initial ‘P’ in blue and red puzzle style infilled with red penwork foliage and highlighted by intricate blue penwork extending well into the bottom margin. One seven-line initial ‘M’ similarly decorated.  One six-line and one three-line initial alternating in blue and red with contrasting penwork.  Chapter numbers and titles in alternating red and blue initials.


Verso:   As Recto with two three-line initials alternating in blue and red with contrasting penwork beginning the chapters.


Origin:  Bologna, Italy


Date:  c. 1240


Content:  The leaf contains all of the Epistle of Paul to Philemon and a section of Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews. The large initial ‘P’ begins Philemon and the text reads: Paulus vinctus Christi Iesu et Timotheus frater, Philemoni dilecto et adiutori nostro…  (Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ and Timothy our brother unto Philemon our dearly beloved and fellow labourer…).  The decorative initial ‘M’ begins Hebrews.


Condition:  This leaf is in very good condition. The vellum (probably goatskin) is fine and clean and the illuminations remain bright and unfaded.  There is a degree of ink loss in the lower part of the text, but not at the expense of legibility.  The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Notes:  The production of small format (“pocket”) bibles flourished in Paris and, to a much lesser extent, in Bologna in the 13th century. Written on extremely thin parchment in an extraordinarily tiny script, these codices were highly portable.  The parent book of this leaf was a particularly high quality Bible used in the study of theology or preaching around the medieval countryside by a Dominican friar.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 160x110 mm.  Text and illuminated area : approx. 155x95 mm. Presented in a museum quality mat & backing, ready to frame.  Please note that packing & insured post will be invoiced separately:  within Australia: $22.50.  Overseas: ask for quote.


Item No:  MBI 023

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