Glazier-Rylands Bible thumbnail 1
Glazier-Rylands Bible thumbnail 2
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 I, Shelf 29, Box A

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. Pages from this Bible are now held in several locations, including the Glazier Collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, and the John Rylands University Library in Manchester. The leaves from the Bible now in the V&A were acquired from the dealer and scholar W.H. James Weale in 1883.

Professionally-made books used decorative initials to signal the major divisions of text by making the heading memorable. There was usually a hierarchy of initials within any book to designate sections, chapters, paragraphs and other breaks. The initials were added either by the scribe or, increasingly in the later Middle Ages, by a specialist, in spaces left blank by the scribe. The important initials might be historiated (ie with a figurative picture, 'istoire' being the term for a story) or decorated, while the lesser initials were made up of coloured letters on coloured or gold grounds, often with flourishing in ink of a contrasting colour. This page has two initials: an initial U with a picture of a king, possibly Solomon, instructing two young men, the face of God the Father appears in the top right hand corner, and an initial M which is formed of two dragons biting their own backs. In the margins are a dog, birds, a cowled trumpet-playing figure, a fish-tailed woman wearing a hair-net and a serpent coiled round the marginal bar.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Water-based pigments, gold leaf and ink on parchment
Brief Description
Leaf with an historiated initial M and U from the Glazier-Rylands Bible; the initial U shows Solomon enthroned, instructing two youths; Southern Netherlands or north-eastern France (possibly Hainault); ca 1260-70
Physical Description
Leaf from a lectern bible with a six-line decorated initial M with grey letter-shape, two dragons biting their own backs and burnished gold leaves and a five-line historiated initial U with a blue letter-shape with a king, possibly Solomon, seated with open foliate and crown and sceptre instructing two young men, one kneeling in front of the other and the face of God looking down from the top right.



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.
Dimensions
  • Written space height: 47.1cm
  • Written space width: 31.4cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Gallery Label
LEAVES FROM A LECTERN BIBLE About 1260-70 These leaves were cut from a large Bible made for a religious community. The Bible, written out in several volumes, was meant to be read at a lectern. It was illuminated by a number of artists. They appear to have been itinerant, rather than based at a specific monastery or workshop. Southern Netherlands or north-eastern France, possibly County of Hainaut Ink on parchment, with watercolour and gold Museum nos. 8986, A-B(2009)
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



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



Individual item text



229.2

8986 B (MS 695)

BIBLE (Ecclesiastes)

Leaf, with 6-line decorated initial M (two dragon biting their own backs, burnished gold leaves) and 5-line histroiated initial U (King [Solomon?] seated with open foliate crown and sceptre, instructing two young men, one kneeling in front the other standing behind, face of God looking down top right, burnished gold ground); marginal bars with dog, birds, cowled trumpet player [monk?], woman with hair-net and fish's tail, serpent



Rubric: Explicit liber proverbiorum, Incipit prologus in libro Ecclesiastes. Memini me hoc; Explicit prologus, Incipit liber Eccl'. Verba Ecclesiastes



France (Liège area). c. 1270-1280

msd; written space 307 x 215 mm; 26 lines; 2 cols.



Bought from W. H. James Weale, 1883, £6

Pub: 1908 cat, 65; 1923 cat, 58 Oliver, 1988, I, 149'
Production
Medieval
Subjects depicted
Literary ReferenceThe Bible (Ecclesiastes)
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. Pages from this Bible are now held in several locations, including the Glazier Collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, and the John Rylands University Library in Manchester. The leaves from the Bible now in the V&A were acquired from the dealer and scholar W.H. James Weale in 1883.



Professionally-made books used decorative initials to signal the major divisions of text by making the heading memorable. There was usually a hierarchy of initials within any book to designate sections, chapters, paragraphs and other breaks. The initials were added either by the scribe or, increasingly in the later Middle Ages, by a specialist, in spaces left blank by the scribe. The important initials might be historiated (ie with a figurative picture, 'istoire' being the term for a story) or decorated, while the lesser initials were made up of coloured letters on coloured or gold grounds, often with flourishing in ink of a contrasting colour. This page has two initials: an initial U with a picture of a king, possibly Solomon, instructing two young men, the face of God the Father appears in the top right hand corner, and an initial M which is formed of two dragons biting their own backs. In the margins are a dog, birds, a cowled trumpet-playing figure, a fish-tailed woman wearing a hair-net and a serpent coiled round the marginal bar.
Associated Objects
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 695 - Previous number
Collection
Accession Number
8986B

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record createdDecember 20, 2006
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