(France, mid-13th century). 152 x 104 mm. (6 x 4"). Double column, 50 lines in an excellent gothic pearl script.

Rubrics in red, capitals struck with red, headlines in red and blue, VERSO FEATURING A FIVE-LINE INITIAL in pink with white tracery on a pink and blue ground highlighted with flashes of orange and burnished gold dots, ITS CENTER OCCUPIED BY A CURLING BLUE SERPENTINE CREATURE WITH THE HEAD OF A DOG; THE SAME SIDE WITH A SIX-LINE INITIAL in blue with white tracery on a pink ground, with blue and pink marginal extensions accented with burnished gold, the capital CONTAINING AN IMAGE OF DANIEL IN THE LION'S DEN WITH TWO IMMENSELY CHARMING, RATHER TOOTHY, LIONS. With contemporary marginal notations in a tiny script. A VERY FINE LEAF: clean, smooth, and bright, with very well-preserved initials glittering with gold.

Historiated artwork for the opening of biblical books--Saint Paul with a sword, Saint John with a book--can sometimes be pretty tame stuff. But when it comes to the opening of Daniel, this is a place where the artist can indulge his whimsy--often (as here) with delightful results, as the lions almost invariably look more cuddly than ferocious.

Keywords: Bibles