(England: ca. 1375). 287 x 198 mm. (11 1/4 x 7 3/4). Single column, 32 lines in a small rounded English gothic hand, with rubrics in the margins.
Rubrics in red, running title in red, paragraph marks in red or blue, two initials measuring two lines in height and colored blue with red penwork. See: P. E. Beichner, "Aurora, Petri Rigae Biblia Versificata, A Verse Commentary on the Bible." ◆Remnants of mounting tape in top margin of recto, but a really excellent specimen, the hand very clear, the ink especially rich, and the vellum extremely clean and quite bright.
Written in a gothic hand heavily influenced by the English secretarial style, this leaf comes from a copy of the "Aurora," a commentary on the Bible in verse form written in the late 12th century by French poet Petrus Riga (1140-1209), a canon of Rheims cathedral. Although little is known about the author's life, Riga's text became immensely popular throughout Europe and was routinely studied in Medieval universities. According to Beichner, "for those who could read Latin, it supplied Scriptural lore in a popular form and it also served as a book of popular theology, devotional reading, moral instruction, and entertainment. Its influence was propagated by teachers, preachers, and lexicographers, by poets and other writers. It was studied, imitated, translated, and quoted. Not only was it widely read in monasteries and convents but it was also recommended reading for the sons of nobles." It is interesting to note that although Riga's work was copied numerous times in the 13th century, copies from the later Medieval period, such as the present work, are uncommonly rare. The parent manuscript containing our leaf was previously in the possession of the Dukes of Westminster, and was sold at Sotheby's on 11 July 1966 (lot 229), when it was advertised as having 267 leaves (missing the first gathering plus 13 other leaves). Bookseller Francis Edwards acquired the manuscript at that sale, removed three damaged leaves, and sold the remainder. It was thereafter broken up and dispersed. Several sister leaves are now in the collections of Marquette University, Lawrence University, and the University of South Carolina. (ST18542)