c 1250 Bible Leaf - Luke & John "In the beginning was the word"


Original leaf from a medieval manuscript pocket Bible, written in Italy (probably Bologna), c. 1250. Latin rotunda gothic script, ruled in red & written in brown ink in two columns of 50 lines on animal vellum.(197x130mm - 7 3/4 x 5 1/4'') 

Rubricated chapter numbers, three multi-lined illuminated Lombard style initials and elegant marginalia in red and blue. The text is written in extremely tiny & very well formed letters – so small that there are ten lines of text to the inch! 

Text is Luke 23:18 - John 1:13: “Tolle hunc…” (Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas...Pilate again spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus. But they cried again, saying: Crucify him, crucify him...Father, forgive them for they know not what they do...This is the King of the Jews...Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost...He is not here, but is risen...).    The elaborate illuminated ''I'' opens the book of John:  ''In principio...''  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men...).

Provenance: Ex-collection Otto Ege (1888-1951). Dean of Cleveland Institute of Art & Lecturer on History of the Book  at Western Reserve University & Northwestern University. Ege increased awareness of the history of the book through the dissemination of individual pages to schools, libraries, calligraphers and printers. Sister leaves are # 11 in the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves (Gwara HL11) - see Cary Collection  - Rochester Institute (online example) and other museums.

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-11126