Dominican Friar’s Bible leaf, c. 1240, Italy
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 eighteen-line initial ‘I’ in blue and red puzzle style decoration, one six-line initial ’N’ in blue infilled with red penwork and with extensive marginal penwork. Three further illuminated initials. Chapter numbers and titles in alternating red and blue initials..
Verso: As Recto with Chapter 3 beginning with an illuminated initial ’N’ in blue with red penwork and Chapter 4 beginning with an illuminated ‘V’ in red with blue penwork.
Origin: Bologna, Italy
Date: c. 1240
Content: The large initial’I’ at the bottom of the left column begins the Epistle of St. James the Apostle. Iacobus Dei et Domini nostri Iesu Christi servus duodecim tribubus quae sunt in dispersione salutem. Omne gaudium existimate fratres mei cum in temptationibus variis incideritis; scientes quod probatio fidei vestrae patientiam operatur patientia autem opus perfectum habeat ut sitis perfecti et integri in nullo deficientes. (James, the servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations: Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience, and patience hath a perfect work: that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing.)
Condition: This leaf is in very good condition. The vellum (probably goatskin) is fine and clean. The hair follicles of the animal are clearly visible in the margins. The illuminations remain bright and unfaded. There is a degree of ink loss in the lower part of the text in the right column, 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. 165x110 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx. 155x90 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 026