Superb leaf from a luxurious Parisian Bible, c.1250.


Illuminations of dragons, Amos predicting the earthquake


Recto: Text written in black and red ink on extremely thin vellum in a precise gothic minuscule script in two columns of 50 lines.  Rubrics in red, versal initials touched in red and a heading AMOS in blue and red. Four exquisite illuminated initials, the first three beginning the prologues to the Book of Amos and the fourth beginning the Book itself.  

The first initial in the left column begins the prologue  Ozias rex, cum Dei religionem sollicite emularetur… The initial ‘O’ is in blue and white outlined in black on a ground of raised and highly burnished gold.  The interior of the ‘O’ is decorated with a winged dragon with a long, curling tail,  painted in pink, white and yellow and finished with exceptionally fine detailing in black.

The second initial begins the prologue Amos propheta pastor et rusticus… The stylised ‘A’ features a dragon with with its head appearing from behind the letter and biting into the right side of the ‘A’.  Its tail descends the length of the block of text.

The third initial begins the prologue Hic amos non fuit pater Ysaie… The elegant ‘H’ is in blue, pink, raised and burnished gold and is finished with fine white penwork.

Lastly, the fourth illuminated initial ‘V’ features an internal scene of two men listening to Amos prophesying an earthquake in Israel. The bearded prophet wears a red robe and a blue cloak and gestures towards a temple destroyed by the earthquake. 

These four initials are superbly designed and executed by a professional artist working in Paris, the most important centre for the making of illuminated manuscripts in this period.  The workmanship is exquisite and certainly places the parent book apart from many of the more everyday examples of Bibles of this type.


Verso:  As Recto with two illuminated initials and chapter numbers beginning Chapters 2 and 3. The Lombard style initials alternate in red and blue and have extensive and intricate red and blue penwork.


Source:  Paris


Date:   c.1250


Content:  The first three verses of the Book of Amos read:  Verba amos qui fuit in pastoralibus de thecuae quae vidit super israhel in diebus oziae regis iuda et in diebus hieroboam filii ioas regis israhel ante duos annos terraemotus.  Et dixit dominus de sion rugiet et de hierusalem dabit vocem suam et luxerunt speciosa pastorum et exsiccatus est vertex carmeli.  Haec dicit dominus super tribus sceleribus damasci et super quattuor non convertam eum eo quod trituraverint in plaustris ferreis galaad.

(The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Thecua: which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Ozias king of Juda, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joas king of Israel two years before the earthquake.  And he said: The Lord will roar from Sion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem: and the beautiful places of the shepherds have mourned, and the top of Carmel is withered. Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Damascus, and for four I will not convert it: because they have thrashed Galaad with iron wains.)


Condition:  This leaf is in excellent condition with fine calligraphy on high quality clean vellum, splendid illuminations and high quality gilding.  The only flaws are a repair in the bottom margin well away from the body of the text and the top margin has been trimmed hard. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 195x140 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx.155x105 mm.  Free postage world wide.


Item No:  MBI029

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