Glazier-Rylands Bible thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery

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. Now known as the Glazier-Rylands Bible, 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. Where exactly this Bible was made has been disputed. Experts have suggested Cambrai, as well as Tournai and the county of Hainaut in France. But it is difficult to pinpoint a particular area, as travelling artists were brought together for specific commissions in different places.

In expensive bibles such as this one, historiated initials (decorated with a figurative scene) at important breaks in the text were normal. The scenes were often standard ones for particular parts of the text and would be instantly recognisable to the reader. The initial F on this page shows Hannah kneeling at an altar and Eli with a gold censor. It introduces the First Book of Kings of the Old Testament which begins with Samuel, Hannah’s son.

This Bible is now held in several locations. They include 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 F on this page shows Hannah kneeling at an Altar and Eli with a gold censor and introduces the First Book of Kings, which begins with Samuel. Samuel anointed the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. A son of Elkanah and Hannah, he was the 15th and last Judge of Israel and a prophet. His childless mother Hannah had made a vow to God that in return for a son she would give him over to the care of the high priest.

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 edges 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 Kings). French (Hainaut?); ca 1260-1270.
Physical Description
Leaf from a lectern bible with one historiated initial P, showing Hannah at the altar with Eli. The soldier wears chain mail and a yellow tunic. They are set against a pink background within the initial under two blue cusped arches. Above the arches sits an angel in blue tunic, with red wings and green halo. The initial sits in a decorated blue and pink compartment with gold border with some foliation in green red and blue. Two birds, one blue and one pink, sit along the top border. Two winged hybrid figures, one with a human head and red wing and one with a dog's head and green wing, climb up the pink P stem. The stem of the P terminates in a blue bodied dragon which bites its own leg. and a red bird, with green wing, sits on his tail as it extends down the page.



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. The text on the historiated page (recto) includes two lines of rubrics before the initial. Page headers top centre, in red and blue, are: recto 'I' and verso 'REGU'.



Ruling on each line includes column edges, page margins (double-ruled recto- top bottom and right; verso- top, bottom and left) 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. Recto page measurements between ruled lines are: (18), 97, 20, 97, 41, 5, (36) mm. Margins to first ruled lines, left: 18, right: 36, top 26, bottom 55 mm.



A duplicate number MS.698 was assigned to this object in error and was subsequently cancelled.
Dimensions
  • Written space height: 307mm
  • Written space width: 215mm
Marks and Inscriptions
dm (ms inscription in ink bottom right recto, could be leader.)
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



'229.4

8986 E

BIBLE ( I Kings)





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 Book of Kings)
Summary
This leaf is from a large Bible that was made in several volumes. Now known as the Glazier-Rylands Bible, 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. Where exactly this Bible was made has been disputed. Experts have suggested Cambrai, as well as Tournai and the county of Hainaut in France. But it is difficult to pinpoint a particular area, as travelling artists were brought together for specific commissions in different places.



In expensive bibles such as this one, historiated initials (decorated with a figurative scene) at important breaks in the text were normal. The scenes were often standard ones for particular parts of the text and would be instantly recognisable to the reader. The initial F on this page shows Hannah kneeling at an altar and Eli with a gold censor. It introduces the First Book of Kings of the Old Testament which begins with Samuel, Hannah’s son.



This Bible is now held in several locations. They include 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 F on this page shows Hannah kneeling at an Altar and Eli with a gold censor and introduces the First Book of Kings, which begins with Samuel. Samuel anointed the first two kings of Israel, Saul and David. A son of Elkanah and Hannah, he was the 15th and last Judge of Israel and a prophet. His childless mother Hannah had made a vow to God that in return for a son she would give him over to the care of the high priest.



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 edges 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.
Collection
Accession Number
8986E

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 2, 2003
Record URL