(Paris, ca. 1240 and ca. 1250). The ca. 1240 leaf measuring 161 x 109 mm. (5 7/8 x 4 1/2"); the ca. 1250 leaves measuring 178 x 124 mm. (7 x 4 7/8"). The ca. 1240 leaves measuring; the ca. 1250 leaves measuring 178 x 124 mm. (7 x 4 7/8"). Double column, 43 and 46 lines to the page, in two extremely fine gothic pearl scripts.
Attractively matted. Rubrics in red, headlines in alternating red and blue letters, chapter numbers in red or red and blue, THREE- TO SEVEN-LINE DECORATIVE INITIALS--all with extenders--in blue, pink, orange, green, and white, each of the capitals WITH SCROLLING FLORAL ELEMENTS, AND ALMOST ALL OF THEM WITH INGENIOUSLY DEVISED ZOOMORPHIC CONTENT, usually in the form of a winged dragon with an impossibly long neck, the 1240 leaf also with multiple small areas of dull gold. IN FINE, FRESH, ESPECIALLY BRIGHT CONDITION.
These especially pretty leaves come from what have come to be called "pocket Bibles," produced by scribes working mostly in commercial settings using letters tiny enough and vellum thin enough to allow the text of an entire Bible to be contained in a portable book, even to the extent of fitting into one's pocket. The demands placed on the artist, who was asked at the beginning of each biblical book to provide an initial of some complexity (in more expensive manuscripts these would comprise detailed scenes) in a space smaller than the average thumbnail, are obvious, but the considerable success that such illuminators achieved can be seen in the present examples and in similar 13th century Bible leaves advertised in this catalogue. The calligraphy here is of the highest quality, precise and graceful, in rich black ink; the fine text of the 1250 leaves is small, and the lovely text of the 1240 leaves is almost microscopic, but both are clearly legible without the aid of magnification. The initials have a blue paint that is deep yet bright, with the swirling patterns they contain betraying a rich sense of design. And the condition is remarkably fine. (ST12245)
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PJP Catalog: 70.312