Lovely Leaves Produced by an Illuminator from the Circle of Jean Pucelle

TEXTS FROM GENESIS, PROVERBS/ECCLESIASTES, AND ESTHER.

(France [probably Paris], first half of the 14th century). 292 x 216 mm. (11 1/2 x 8 1/2"). Double column, 46 lines of text in a very pleasing gothic book hand.

Headlines and chapter numbers in blue or gold with elaborate penwork in red or light blue, rubrics in red, versal initials in pink or blue with white tracery and enclosing an orange and white ivy leaf, the whole on a gold ground, a vertical bar border in the same colors and gold emanating from the versal initials and extending the length of the text, with ivy leaves in colors and gold branching into the head and tail margins, one leaf with a very fine six-line initial in pink with white tracery on a ground of blue and burnished gold, two vines with orange and white leaves curling in its center. Edges with remnants of glue and tabs for mounting, two leaves a little rumpled in bottom margin, one leaf with minor offsetting from the decoration on adjacent leaf, otherwise IN FINE CONDITION, with generous margins and glistening gold.

These leaves are from a Bible that was once in the famous English abbey of Saint Albans, just north of London, a center of Medieval learning in the 14th century. The manuscript was produced about 1330 in Paris by an illuminator from the circle of Jean Pucelle, the innovative master who painted the Hours of Queen Jeanne d'Évreux in the international gothic style. According to James Rorimer, in his introduction to a facsimile edition of that manuscript (published for the Cloisters Museum where the Hours now resides), "it was Pucelle who made available to the North the first completely intelligible French translation of Italian developments" in illumination. The Bible from which our leaf comes was probably one of the "two fine Bibles" ("duas bonas biblias") which, according to the abbey's records, were purchased by Michael of Mentmore, abbot of Saint Albans from 1335-49. For more, see C. de Hamel, "Fine Books and Book Collecting, A. G. Thomas festschrift" (1981), pp. 10-11; A. G. Watson, "Supplement to Ker’s Medieval Libraries of Great Britain" (1987), p. 51 and no. 4.
(ST12748a-d)

$1,250 to $2,500, depending on decoration.

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PJP Catalog: 70.185

TEXTS FROM GENESIS, PROVERBS/ECCLESIASTES, AND ESTHER. OFFERED INDIVIDUALLY THREE ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAVES FROM THE SAINT ALBANS BIBLE.