AN ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF WITH AN EXCELLENT HISTORIATED INITIAL, FROM AN EARLY BIBLE IN LATIN.
TEXT FROM THE PROLOGUE AND FIRST THREE CHAPTERS OF EZECHIEL.(France, middle of the, 13th century). 216 x 146 mm (8 1/2 x 5 3/4"). Double column, 49 lines of text, in a fine, very small gothic book hand.
Attractively matted. Headings and chapter numbers in red and blue, verso with two two-line initials in red or blue with trailing penwork in the other color, recto WITH ONE FOUR-LINE AND ONE FIVE-LINE INITIAL IN COLORS AND BURNISHED GOLD, the four-line initial in pink on a blue background, the center filled with swirling leaves in pink, ochre, blue, and green with delicate white tracery and heightened with four dots of burnished gold, and THE FIVE-LINE INITIAL of similar design, but SHOWING EZECHIEL REVEALING HIS VISIONS TO AN APPARENTLY TERRIFIED CROWD OF MEN, the scene set against a burnished gold background. With a few marginal corrections in a very neat contemporary hand. A little minor soiling to the (generous) margins, verso with faint residue of mounting tape, gold on the historiated initial just slightly dulled, otherwise an excellent leaf, fresh and well preserved in every way.
On this leaf the stunning opening visions of the Book of Ezechiel are penned. The pink initial E, dotted with white circlets, is filled with a gold backdrop before which stands the seer, a long white veil flowing down his back and a staff in his hand. Ezechiel appears to eye his flock with some skepticism. The listeners are indicated by a cluster of overlapping faces with pointed chins. The uppermost visage is truly gargantuan, with popping eyes that show an almost comical astonishment at the prophet's utterances. Short thin bangs are indicated on his high forehead beneath a cap. Judging by the frightened looks on the men's faces, the Israelites are well aware that God is displeased with them. (CBM1013)