Early English Luxury Bible in “Square Format”
Luxury Folio Bible from Thirteenth-Century England. Three folios on vellum. England, doubtless Oxford at this date, ca. 1240: 263 mm x 191 mm (justification 195 mm x 133 mm). Double column, 54 lines. A curious “square” format typical of English bibles at this date. Completely unprecedented are the illuminated pilcrows of extreme precision. Decoration: alternatively red and blue two-line initials with contrasting penwork; chapter numbers in blue and red with gold pilcrows of delicate and impressive execution; running heads in alternating red and blue initials. Text: 1 Macc. 4-6; 2 Kings 32-35; 1 Macc. 12-14. Provenance: completely unknown, not recorded in the Schoenberg Database and possibly from an old American collection. Condition: one slight offset and smudge on the verso of one leaf; else fine; a second leaf has a natural vellum flaw at the bottom, else fine; in the third a strip of vellum and square piece from another folio of this bible have been glued to the lower margin. This must have been done before what seems to be a nineteenth-century binding, since the added pieces are gauffered in the same manner as the rest of the folio.