Splendid historiated initial of Zacharia. c. 1250, Paris


Zachariah at the altar   

Bible leaf, Paris, c. 1250, Book of Luke


Recto:   Ruled in red with text written in black & red ink on vellum in Latin in a precise, gothic script in two columns of 56 lines.  Heading ‘CAS’ (half of LUCAS) in red and blue.  One superb 38-line historiated initial ‘F’ in blue and pink outlined in black with burnished gold highlights.

The historiated letter ‘F’ encases the prophet, pictured at the altar in a magenta gown and blue cloak.  He is holding the chain of a thurible in his left hand and swinging it with his right.  Incense smoke issues from the thurible.  There are two contemporary blocks of scholar’s annotations in the margin. 


Verso:   As Recto with a heading ‘LV’ and chapter number in red and blue and a two-line initial ‘E’ in red with red pen flourishes.


Origin:  Paris, France.


Date:  c. 1250.


Content:  The text contains the end of the Prologue to, and the beginning of Luke.  The historiated initial ‘F’ begins the passage:  Fuit in diebus Herodis regis Iudaeae sacerdos quidam nomine Zaccharias de vice Abia et uxor illi de filiabus Aaron et nomen eius Elisabeth.  (There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth.)

The text continues with the the story of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Zachariah as he performs his priestly duties with the incense at the altar to announce that his prayers for a child have been answered and that his wife Elizabeth, despite her advanced age, will bear a son - who became John the Baptist.


Condition:  The leaf is in fine condition.  The historiated initial is expertly composed, the hands and thurible in particular are finely detailed. The colours are vibrant and the burnished gold highlights lustrous. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 200x135 mm.  Presented in a museum quality mat, ready to frame.  Free postage worldwide.


Item No:  MBI034

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