Dominican Friar’s Bible leaf

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 Finely decorated 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. Two seven-line initials ‘I’ and ‘V’ in blue and red puzzle style, the ‘V’ infilled with red penwork foliage and highlighted by intricate blue penwork extending well into the bottom margin.  One two-line initial ‘E’ in blue with red penwork similarly decorated.  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 ’S’ in blue with red penwork


Origin:  Bologna, Italy


Date:  c. 1240


Content:  The large initial ’I’ at the top of the page begins the prologue to the Book of Jeremiah.  The elaborate initial ‘V’ begins Chapter 1: Verba ieremiae filii Helciae de sacerdotibus qui fuerunt in Anathoth in terra Beniamin quod factum est verbum Domini ad eum in diebus losiae filii Amon regis Iuda in tertiodecimo anno regni eius. (The words of Jeremias the son of Helcias, of the priests that were in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin.  The word of the Lord which came to him in the days of Josias the son of Amon king of Juda, in the thirteenth year of his reign.)


Condition:  This leaf is in very good/excellent condition. The vellum (probably goatskin) is fine and clean apart from a slight stain in the right margin..  The hair follicles of the animal are clearly visible in the right and bottom margins. The illuminations remain bright and unfaded. 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 025

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