BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Beinecke MS 129 (2 vol.) Flanders, s. XV ^^3/4
Petrus Comestor, Historia Scholastica, Fr. tr. Guyart des Moulins
1. f. 1r [Table of contents:] Cy aprez sensieuent les liures
historiaux de la bible quy en ce present volume sont translatez et tout
par histores. Les escollastres...Et premiers [E]n ce present volume est
translate le livre de Genesis...les euvangilles exposees selon
histoire. f. 2 blank
2. f. 3r Cy commence le prologue. En pallais de Roy du dempereur
appartient a auoir trois mansions...[Vol. 2:] Et ce qui ensieut uisques
en la fin du liure est translate de ledition theodoce. Explicit.
Missing the beginning of Numbers (v. 1, one folio following f.
115), the beginning of 3 Kings (v. 1, one folio following f. 236), and
part of Luke (v. 2, one folio following f. 260). See S. Berger, La
Bible francaise au moyen-age (Paris, 1884) pp. 166 and passim.
Parchment, two volumes, v. 1: ff. ii (paper) + 266 + ii (paper);
v. 2: ii (paper) + 294 + ii (paper). Both volumes 424 x 332 (267 x 184)
mm., trimmed. Written in two columns, 35 lines. Ruled in red or violet
ink. For the text, 4 vertical bounding lines, 2 for each column; between
columns, three full-length bounding lines. 3 horizontal bounding lines,
2 at top and 1 at bottom of written space; for the glosses, 2 additional
vertical bounding lines in outer margin, outer full across (on many
folios, several additional lines); 2 lines full across in upper margin
for running headings; 2 in lower margin for catchwords. On some folios,
single lines doubled.
V. 1: 1^^2, II-XIII^^8, XIV^^6 ( + 1, f. 105), XV^^8, XVI^^8 (-3
following f. 115), XVII-XXX^^8, XXXI^^8 (-5 following f. 236),
XXXII-XXXIII^^8, XXXIV^^8 ( + 1 f. 264), XXXV^^2. V. 2: I-XXXII^^8,
XXXIII^^8 (-5 following f. 260), XXXIV-XXXVI^^8, XXXVII^^6 ( + 1 following
f. 293). Catchwords at the end of nearly all quires. Traces of original
quire markings and folio numbers, lower right verso.
Written in a formal batarde with some loops by one scribe.
Marginal glosses in a similar but smaller script by the same hand.
Corrections by a later hand (s. xv) in brown ink.
Miniatures and decoration by the same artist as the Cite de
(French translation of Raoul de Presles) made for Anthony of Burgundy
and dated 1466 by the scribe. The codex was divided in 1720: the part
in Turin, Bibl. Naz. MS L. I. 6 was almost completely destroyed in the
fire of 1904; the other part is Turin, Archivio di Stato MS b. III. 12
J (see A. de Laborde, Les Manuscrits a peintures de la Cite de Dieu de
Saint Augustin [Paris, 1909] v. 2, pp. 371-87 and v. 3, pls. XXIIIa-
XXVIIa and XLII-XLIII. We thank J. Marrow and A. van Buren for
assistance with this manuscript). Miniatures in v. 2 by an assistant.
One large, 2-column miniature, 18-lines, f. 3r, of three scribes, set
in a wide (25 mm.) frame, brown, decorated with a continuous garland of
flowers in gold, green and white, outlined on both inner and outer
edges with bands of pink, gold and blue, highlighted in white. Text
surrounded by a 3/4 band of pink and gold with white highlights, edged
in black. Full border: curling sprouts of blue, gold and some red and
light blue acanthus on green stems, largely confined to the corners and
centers of the border, with blossoms containing animals, devils,
knights; the intervening spaces filled with trailing vines of green and
gold leaves with varied flowers in red, blue, light blue, strawberries,
grapes and beans as well as denser vines in black ink with leaves in
gold and green, with flowers, as above; the entire border densely
filled with pen flecks, black, with gold dots.
Historiated initials (one column, 8-line), for the Seven Days of
Creation (ff. 4v, 5r, 5v, 6v, 7v, 8v and 10r), roundels, with circular
frames, brown with garlands as above, in some cases with the top and
bottom of the roundel lopped off, set against a field of acanthus
and/or flowers, as above, and set between two thin gold bands, edged in
black. Short, thin borders of acanthus, vines, and flowers as above,
divided from text by gold and pink bands, edged in black. Other
miniatures (11- or 10-line), v. 1: f. 49r (Genesis) The Selling of
Joseph; f. 63r (Exodus) Moses with the Children of Israel; f. 101r
(Leviticus) Sacrifice of Burnt Offerings; miniature for Numbers missing
(following f. 115); f. 166r (Joshua) Joshua's Dream; f. 176v (Judges)
Battle Scene; f. 196r (1 Kings) Presentation of Samuel in the Temple;
f. 217v (2 Kings) The execution of a soldier; miniature for 3 Kings
missing (following f. 236). V. 2: f. 1r (4 Kings) Elijah in the fiery
chariot; f. 41v (Job) God the Father enthroned addressed by the Devil;
f. 43r (Tobias) Death of Tobias; f. 50r (Daniel) Daniel interprets
Nebuchadnezzar's dream; f. 70r (Judith) Judith decapitates Holofernes;
f. 100v (1 Maccabees) Scene of an Army; f. 126r (2 Maccabees) Four
soldiers on horseback; f. 142r (3 Maccabees) Four soldiers on horseback
leaving a city; f. 153v (Gospels) Birth of John the Baptist; f. 285v
(Jeremiah) Jeremiah seated at a writing desk with Jerusalem in the
background; f. 289v (John) John the Evangelist holding the poisoned
chalice, with three men, one with short wings attached to his head.
Diagrams (in purple ink) of the tabernacle in lower margins of ff. 87v
and 166v. Each miniature with a 5-, 4- or 3-line initial, blue with
white highlights, filled with strapwork and blue and pink ivy with
white highlights, on irregular gold ground (cf. Waddesdon Manor, MS 9,
ff. 226-88, a Book of Hours made in Bruges ca. 1450-75, reproduced in
Delaisse, Marrow and de Wit, Waddesdon Manor, figs. 16-18). 2-line
initials throughout, gold filled with red set against a blue ground or
vice versa, trailing black hairspray with gold, red and blue dots.
Initials cruder in v. 2. Line-fillers in both text and glosses in
similar fashion. Running headings (in v. 1 only), and keys for glosses
in red throughout. Traces of tabs in outer margins.
Binding: 1981. Bound in a brown, linen buckram case in the Yale
Library Conservation Studio to replace an 18th century brown calf
binding. One board of this binding retained in box.
Written in Flanders (perhaps Bruges, judging from the miniatures)
in the third quarter of the 15th century; early provenance unknown.
Belonged to Capt. John Harrison-Broadley of Welton House, Brough, East
Yorks; sold at Sotheby's (13-14 Feb. 1922, no. 33; with illustration of
v. 1, ff. 63r and 217v). Sold by Maggs (1928, catalogue 500, no. 31).
Presented in 1949 by Louis M. Rabinowitz.
secundo folio: [of text, f. 4] Cest a dire
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 33, no. 129.
Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 242-43, no. 67, and pl. 23 (v. 1, f. 3r).
T. E. Marston, "The Comestor Manuscript," Gazette 34 (1950) pp.
Clive R. Sneddon, "The 'Bible du XIII^^e Siecle': Its Medieval
Public in the Light of its Manuscript Tradition," in The Bible and
Medieval Culture, ed. W. Lourdaux and D. Verhelst, in Mediaevalia
Lovaniensia, Series 1, Studia 7 (Louvain, 1979) p. 130, n.
Barbara A. Shailor