Bible, [ca. 1270].

Uniform title
Manuscript, Book
458 leaves : parchment, illustrations ; 242 x 168 mm.


Former owner
Rare books genre
Getty AAT genre
[ca. 1270].
Summary note
Ms. Bible with a double psalter, consisting of two parallel versions by Jerome, the Gallican in the left column and the Hebraic in the right. Written and illuminated in England in the 1270s (Bennett, 1973, formerly suggested the 1260s; Morgan, 1988, pp. 184-185, no. 108, proposed the 1270s).
  • Layout: Parchment; two columns of 51 lines, ruled 3.5 mm. apart.
  • Decoration: 1-line pen-work initials in alternately blue and red for versals. 2-line pen-work initials in blue with red pen-flourishes and red with blue pen-flourishes for chapters, regular psalms, and prologue for Pentateuch (Stegmüller 285). 5-line pen-work initials in blue or red, adorned with flourishes of the opposite color, often including foliage and creatures, for 69 prologues. 8-line divided blue and red initials decorated with filigree of foliage, creatures, and figures chiefly in red and less commonly in blue, for Hebraic psalms 38, 52, 68, 80, 97, and 101, the last historiated; green color wash for figures in psalms 52 and 97. 8-line divided blue and red initials decorated with fleuronné ornament of trifoliate leaves in reserve and blue and red interstices of convoluted patterns, with figures washed with colors, for Hebraic psalms 1, 26, 51, and 109. 5-line decorated initials for two prologues of the double psalter (Stegmüller nos. 443 and 414). 8-line historiated initials for the first prologue, Frater Ambrosius (Stegmüller 284), books of the Bible, and the Gallican psalms 1, 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97, 101, and 109 of the ten-fold division. Colors of blue, rose, orange, green, pink, gray, tawny yellow, and burnished gold. Three artists, the "Chief Painter," the "Epistle Painter," and the "Minor Painter," were involved. For distribution of their work, see Bennett, 1973, p. 12; text fig. 1.
Binding note
19th-century, English, blue morocco with gold tooling, done for Obadiah Rich for 16 shillings in 1832 ; repaired in the 1970s, with two new paper leaves added at beginning and at end, but stubs of the first four leaves, visible before the repair, now covered with black tape (Bennett, 1973, p. 11). Spine-title: "Biblia MS. on Vellum."
Language note
Gothic textura rotunda.
Early provenance unknown. John and Arthur Arch (fl. 1792-1838) of Cornhill, London, Bookdealers (Catalogue, 1830, no. 259). The Arch family was discussed in "The Bookseller," June 2, 1873, according to Munby, "The Phillipps Library from 1841 to 1872," p. 69 n. 1. To Obadiah Rich (1783-1850) of 12 Red Lion Square, London, American bookseller. This Bostonian pursued two careers, as an American consul in Madrid and a London bookseller (Munby, The Phillipps Library from 1841-1872, p. 13; Knepper, pp. 112-130). To Robert Gilmor, Jr. (1774-1848) of Baltimore, Maryland; his signature and date of 1832 on f. 1r. The detached note of his acquisition in 1832 from Obadiah Rich is now gone; it was recorded in Bennett's dissertation (1973, p. 5) and reproduced, for the files of the Index of Christian Art. Robert Gilmor writes as follows: "This manuscript bible was purchased for me by Mr. O(badiah) Rich, Bookseller in London for £4.14.6 from the collection of J(ohn) & A(rthur) Arch according to their catalogue of miscellaneous books for 1830 which it is marked "no. 259. Biblia Sacra Latina, MS. upon vellum beautifully written with 70 curious illuminated capitals, vellum, £5.5. sm. folio." Mr. Rich thought the manuscript deserved a better covering & had it bound in its present volume in dark blue morocco at an additional expense of 18 shillings." Baltimore 10 Febr 1832, Robert Gilmor. It is written in the old character of the Flemish language. William Gilmor of Baltimore Maryland, bookplate. Thomas Harrison Garrett (1849-1888) of Baltimore, Maryland; bookplate, to Robert Garrett (1875-1961), Class of 1897, of Baltimore, Maryland, deposit no. 1042.
Source acquisition
Gift of Robert Garrett, 1942.
Publications about
  • Bennett, Adelaide. "The Place of Garrett 28 in Thirteenth-Century English Illumination," Diss. Columbia University, 1973 (full set of reproductions).
  • Morgan, Nigel. "Early Gothic Manuscripts (II): 1250-1285" (London, 1988), pp. 14-16, 89, 124, 141, 164, 184-185 (no. 180); ills. 395 (f. 439v), 396 (f. 443v), 397 (f. 215v).
  • Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery. "Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages and Renaissance" (Baltimore, 1949), p. 18 (no. 42).
  • Medieval & Renaissance manuscripts in the Princeton University Library, pages 12-16
  • Ricci, S. de. Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, volume 1, p. 869
  • Bond, W.H. Supplement to the Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, p. 312
Cite as
Garrett MS. 28, Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
Place name(s)
Spine title
  • Biblia MS. on vellum
Statement on language in description
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