In an Intricate Replica Carved Ivory Binding, One of the Most Beautiful Facsimiles Ever Produced


(Lucerne: Faksimile Verlag, 2000). 387 x 279 mm. (15 1/4 x 11"). commentary volume: 290 x 210 mm (11 1/2 x 8 1/4"); prospectus(?)folio volume: 430 x 300 mm. (17 x 12"). 111, [1], 124 leaves (in the facsimile). Three volumes (including a commentary volume in German and a prospectus). No. 208 OF 333 COPIES with the special replica binding. (There were also 60 copies without the reproduction binding.).

IN AN ESPECIALLY FINE REPLICA OF THE ORIGINAL CARVED IVORY BINDING, upper cover with a headpiece showing two angels holding a medallion of Christ, tailpiece depicting the Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds, large triptych with the Virgin and Child at center flanked by a bearded saint on each side; lower cover with similar headpiece, but with the tailpiece depicting the visit of the Magi and central triptych with Christ triumphant, an angel on either side; both covers encased within metal frames; raised bands, black leather spine. In a padded black leather folding box with color medallion on upper cover. Text in gold, framed by decorative color columns bordered in silver and gold, three full pages of decorated text, and four full-page miniatures. ◆In mint condition.

This facsimile is surely among the most magnificent examples of its type, being deemed sufficiently grand to be used by Pope Benedict XVI as a present to Queen Elizabeth during his visit to Britain in 2010. A monumental work of Carolingian art, known both as the Lorsch Gospels and the Codex Aureus, the original manuscript is one of the rare books of the early Middle Ages entirely written in gold ink. Described as an "evangelium pictum cum auro scriptum habens tabulas eburneas" ("illustrated Gospel Book, written in gold with ivory covers"), it was produced ca. 810 in the scriptorium of Charlemagne at Aachen. It first appeared in a book record of Lorsch Abbey dating back to around 860. Between the text and the decoration, the book could hardly be more golden or more luminous. Reflecting the height of creativity at the time, the covers consist of two ivory plates masterfully carved at the court of Charlemagne around 810. The binding was removed when the manuscript was stolen from the Bibliotheca Palatina in Heidelberg during the Thirty Years War. The front cover is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the rear cover at the Vatican Library, which also holds the manuscript.

Price: $14,000.00