Glazier-Rylands Bible thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E , Case MB3R, Shelf I, Box 29A

Glazier-Rylands Bible

Manuscript Cutting
ca. 1260-1270 (illuminated)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This leaf is from a large Bible that was made in several volumes. Its format shows that it was designed to be read on a lectern. It would have been made for a religious community rather than for a scholar. The illumination is of a high quality and was probably the work of itinerant illuminators whose work can be found in manuscripts produced in other centres. Where exactly the Glazier-Rylands Bible was made has been disputed. Cambrai has been proposed, as well as Tournai and the county of Hainaut in France. But it is difficult to locate a notional workshop in a specific area, as travelling artists were brought together for specific commissions in different places. At least three illuminators who worked on the Bible moved on to Liège (Southern Netherlands) to contribute to a magnificent Psalter that is considered to have introduced an up-to-date High Gothic style from France to that area. This Bible is now held in several locations, including the Glazier Collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, and the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.

In illuminated manuscripts, there was usually a hierarchy of initials marking important divisions in the text. These were at this time added by specialist illuminators and rubricators, in spaces left blank by the scribe. The more important initials might be historiated with a figurative picture (istoire being the term for a story), or decorated. In expensive Bibles such as this one, historiated initials at important breaks in the text were normal. The scenes in these initials were often standard ones for particular parts of the text and would be instantly recognisable to the reader. The initial P on this page shows St. Paul and introduces the First Epistle to the Corinthians.

At this time such initials had antennae that reached into the margins, on which humorous or fantasy creatures played. They often featured elongated dragons, or grotesque heads grasping the initials between their teeth. Hybrid creatures made up of two different animals or with animal bodies and human faces were also common. Images in the margins depicted a world outside the boundaries of normality; sometimes the imagery acted as metaphor, and sometimes it reversed the message of the other illumination on the page. Although it seems spontaneous, there is evidence to show that even marginal imagery followed patterns. In northern France, Flanders and England, these images were especially popular towards the end of the thirteenth century, and their style was sometimes very naturalistic.

This Bible is now scattered between several repositories. They include the Glazier Collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York and the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Water-based pigments, gold leaf and ink on parchment
Brief Description
Leaf from the Glazier-Rylands Bible (I Corinthians). French (Hainaut?); ca 1260-1270.
Physical Description
This leaf from a lectern bible shows a historiated inital P, with St. Paul holding a book addressing a seated company. He is wearing blue and pink and has a red halo. The group wear red, blue and pink. They are set against a gold background with some architectural elements in green. The blue stem of the letter has white line decoration and red trefoil flowers coming from it. has four winged dragons in pink wrapped around. A red and gold bird holding a gold ball sits at the top.



The page is divided into two columns of 26 lines of text on both recto and verso. The text is written in gothic bookhand, quadrata (textualis) in Latin. There are red highlights on the principal capital letters. Ruling on each line includes column edges, page margins, with first line ruling (i.e. above and below top line), column edge ruling and margin ruling extending the full length and width of the page.



A duplicate number MS.697 was assigned to this object in error and was subsequently cancelled.
Dimensions
  • Written space height: 307mm
  • Written space width: 215mm
Object history
From a multi-volume bible.

Part of cuttings purchased in batches from William Henry James Weale in 1883, 95 on 9 April 1883, 258 on 17 April 1883, 20 on 20 February, for the total sum of £96.7.2 (now Museum nos 8972-9042.

Cuttings from the same set of manuscripts in the V&A collection: Museum nos. 8986A, 8986B, 8986C, 8986D, 8986E, 8987A, 8987B, 8987C, 8987D.

Cuttings from the same set of manuscripts in other collections: Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, ms. II.1339 (3 leaves); Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, acc. 52.565 (1 leaf), Manchester, John Rylands Library, ms. 16) (240 leaves); New York, Morgan Library and Museum, MS G.64 (6 leaves).
Historical context
Data taken from notes compiled by Rowan Watson. The full text of the entry is as follows:



(text also refers to 8986: A to E, 8987: A to D):



"Cat. THE "GLAZIER - RYLANDS BIBLE (8986 A-E; 8987 A-D)



The leaves are from a large multi-volume Bible decorated by a number of illuminators. The Bible is now split up and kept in nine different collections. Judith Oliver relates the work to a group of MSS produced in the area around Lille, Arras and Cambrai in northern France; she identifies the workshop, from which "three artists...migrated east into the diocese of Liège, where they illuminated BN lat. 1077 and Brussels IV-1066"



France (Liège-Arras area) c. 1260-1270



'229.3

8986 D

BIBLE ( I Corinthias)



Bought from Weale, 1883

1923 cat, 58; Oliver, 1988, I, 149'



Oliver, 1988, I, 148-153, 161, 170, II, 288, 292, plates 159-160"



Individual item text
Subjects depicted
Literary ReferenceThe Bible (First Epistle to the Corinthians)
Summary
This leaf is from a large Bible that was made in several volumes. Its format shows that it was designed to be read on a lectern. It would have been made for a religious community rather than for a scholar. The illumination is of a high quality and was probably the work of itinerant illuminators whose work can be found in manuscripts produced in other centres. Where exactly the Glazier-Rylands Bible was made has been disputed. Cambrai has been proposed, as well as Tournai and the county of Hainaut in France. But it is difficult to locate a notional workshop in a specific area, as travelling artists were brought together for specific commissions in different places. At least three illuminators who worked on the Bible moved on to Liège (Southern Netherlands) to contribute to a magnificent Psalter that is considered to have introduced an up-to-date High Gothic style from France to that area. This Bible is now held in several locations, including the Glazier Collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, and the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.



In illuminated manuscripts, there was usually a hierarchy of initials marking important divisions in the text. These were at this time added by specialist illuminators and rubricators, in spaces left blank by the scribe. The more important initials might be historiated with a figurative picture (istoire being the term for a story), or decorated. In expensive Bibles such as this one, historiated initials at important breaks in the text were normal. The scenes in these initials were often standard ones for particular parts of the text and would be instantly recognisable to the reader. The initial P on this page shows St. Paul and introduces the First Epistle to the Corinthians.



At this time such initials had antennae that reached into the margins, on which humorous or fantasy creatures played. They often featured elongated dragons, or grotesque heads grasping the initials between their teeth. Hybrid creatures made up of two different animals or with animal bodies and human faces were also common. Images in the margins depicted a world outside the boundaries of normality; sometimes the imagery acted as metaphor, and sometimes it reversed the message of the other illumination on the page. Although it seems spontaneous, there is evidence to show that even marginal imagery followed patterns. In northern France, Flanders and England, these images were especially popular towards the end of the thirteenth century, and their style was sometimes very naturalistic.



This Bible is now scattered between several repositories. They include the Glazier Collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York and the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.
Bibliographic References
  • Catalogue of illuminated manuscripts : Part II, Miniatures, leaves, and cuttings, by S.C. Cockerell and E.F. Strange (London: HMSO, 1908, 1st edition).p. 65.
  • Catalogue of Miniatures, Leaves, and Cuttings from Illuminated Manuscripts. Victoria and Albert Museum. Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, by S.C. Cockerell and C. Harcourt Smith (London: HMSO, 1923, 2nd edition).p. 58.
  • Judith Oliver, Gothic manuscript illumination in the diocese of Liège (c. 1250-c. 1330), Leuven: Peeters, 1988. vol. I, pp. 148-153, 161, 170, vol. II, 288, 292, plates 159-160.
  • Watson, R. Illuminated manuscripts and their makers. An account based on the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. London, 2003.pp. 82-83.
Other Number
MS 697 - Previous number
Collection
Accession Number
8986D

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdDecember 20, 2005
Record URL