BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPTS
Beinecke MS 407 Italy, 1428
Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.
1. ff. 1r-612v A Bible in the usual order (see Ker, MMBL, v. 1, pp. 96-97);
numbers in parenthesis refer to prologues which precede the text, as listed in
Stegmueller: General Prologue (284); Prologue to Pentateuch (285), Genesis,
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua (311); Judges; Ruth; 1 Kings
(323), 2 Kings, 3 Kings, 4 Kings; 1 Chronicles (326 beginning: Tantus ac
talis.... + 328); 2 Chronicles + Prayer of Manasses; 1 Ezra (330); 2 Ezra;
3 Ezra; Tobit (332, beginning: Chromatio et Helyodoro episcopis iheronimus
presbiter...); Judith (335); Esther (341 + 343); Job (344, 357); Psalms (443,
beginning: Eusebius, ieronimus, sophronio suo...); Proverbs (457); Ecclesiastes
(Praefatio from Jerome, 3351); Song of Songs; Wisdom (468); Ecclesiasticus
(introduction to Ecclesiasticus, Multorum nobis..., considered as prologue);
Isaiah (482); Jeremiah (487); Lamentations; Baruch (491); Ezekiel (492; Isidore,
Prol. Ez. 5202); Daniel (494); Prologue for Minor Prophets (500); Hosea (507);
Joel (511; 510; Isidore, Prol. Hosea 5208); Amos (515; 512, beginning: Amos
pastor et rusticus ruborum mora et...); Obadiah (519, 517, 516); Jonah (524;
521; 522, beginning: Ionas interpretatur columba et naufragio...); Micah (526,
525); Nahum (528, 527); Habakkuk (531, 529); Zephaniah (534, 532); Haggai (538,
535); Zechariah (539, beginning: Secundo anno darii regis...; 540); Malachi
(543, Isidore Prol. Malachi 5219); 1 Maccabees (552, ending ...cum romanorum
ducibus atque legationum); 2 Maccabees; Matthew (590); Mark (607); Luke (620,
followed by Quoniam quidem..., treated as a prologue); John (624); Romans (669 +
Romani namque tam infirmi erant ut non intellegerent...; 677, 675);
1 Corinthians (685); 2 Corinthians (699); Galatians (707); Ephesians (715);
Philippians (728); Colossians (736); 1 Thessalonians (748); 2 Thessalonians
(752); 1 Timothy (765); 2 Timothy (772); Titus (780); Philemon (783); Hebrews
(793); Acts (639); Catholic Epistles (809); Apocalypse (835). ff. 613r-616v
2. ff. 617r-680v Aaz apprehendes...Expliciunt interpretationes biblie deo
Index of Hebrew names generally attributed to Stephen Langton; Stegmueller,
v. 5, no. 7709.
3. ff. 681r-682r Cap. XXV. De testamento Ruben et Symeon...et arguet in
electis gentium israel etc.
Chapters 25-29 of the Testament of the 12 Patriarchs. f. 682v blank
Parchment, ff i (parchment) + 682 + i (parchment), 231 x 161 (135 x 111) mm.
Written in 2 columns of 42 lines. Ruled in lead, single vertical and
horizontal bounding lines, full length.
I^^8, II-LXI^^10, LXII^^8, LXIII-LXVIII^^10, LXIX^^6. Horizontal catchwords
in center of lower margin, verso. Remains of quire and leaf signatures in lower
right corner, recto.
Written in rounded gothic bookhand.
The Bible is a splendid example of the Italian late gothic illuminated
manuscript. The decoration consists of two very richly illuminated pages (f.
5r, Genesis; f. 272r, Psalms), thirteen small miniatures (ff. 1r, 570v-576v),
and 79 historiated initials, 7 to 10-line (not including ascenders or descenders)
at the beginning of every book of the Bible, the sections of the Psalter, and a
few prologues. The miniatures are in thin gold or yellow frames. The
historiated initials are composed of acanthus, mauve, blue, pink, orange, and/or
green. The subjects are as follow: f. 1r Jerome represented as a monk in the
wilderness; f. 5r seven rectangular scenes from the Creation in two rows (four
and three); beneath, a rectangular miniature representing God the Father [?]
with a dove at his ear (Genesis); f. 27v Moses addressing a group of Israelites
(Exodus); f. 46v an Israelite, burning an offering, receives the benediction of
God (Leviticus); f. 59v Moses praying, God above in the sky (Numbers); f. 79r
Moses praying, God above in the sky (Deuteronomy); f. 96v Death of Moses, with
Joshua and God looking on (Joshua); f. 109r Death of Joshua (Judges); f. 122r
Ruth in the grainfield; bird of paradise in border (Ruth); f. 123v Bird of
paradise (Prol. 1 Kings); f. 124v Eli receives the infant Samuel from Hannah
(1 Kings); f. 142r Beheading of the Amalekite (2 Kings); f. 156r David and
Abishag (3 Kings); f. 172r Worship of Baal (4 Kings); f. 187v Numbering
of the Israelites (1 Chronicles); f. 201r Solomon and two women (the mothers?)
(2 Chronicles); f. 219r Man kneeling at an altar, God above in the sky; blue
medallion inscribed IHS in lower border (1 Ezra); f. 224r Nehemiah and
Artaxerxes (2 Ezra); f. 231v Bearded man at a lectern (3 Ezra); f. 239r Death
of Tobit, Tobias and the swallow (Tobit); f. 244v Judith decapitating
Holofernes in bed (Judith); f. 251r Mardocheus, Ahasuerus and Esther, Haman
hanging from the gallows (Esther); f. 258v Job on dunghill (Job); f. 272r Four
standing figures holding pens and books (four prophets?); three-quarter length
figure of David, playing a psaltery (Psalms); f. 276v Nimbed and bearded
figure holding a book (Psalm 26); f. 279v David points to lips (Psalm 38);
f. 282v Fool (Psalm 52); f. 285v David standing in deep waters (Psalm 58);
f. 289r David with a book (Psalm 80); f. 292r Cantors at lectern (Psalm 95);
f. 295v Christ with book inscribed [Greek] (Psalm 109); f. 303r Solomon and
Rehoboam (Proverbs); f. 313v Crowned Solomon seated on a throne, holding a book
and globe of concentric circles in blue, green and silver (Ecclesiastes); f.
317v Christ and Ecclesia (Song of Songs); f. 319v Solomon with sword and scales
(Wisdom); f. 327v A monk in black habit, a nimbed figure holding a scroll
(Ecclesiasticus); f. 348v Isaiah sawn; piece of green turf in lower border with
a fowler pursuing two rabbits, two birds perch at the edge of the turf, out of
which springs a large spray of flowers (Isaiah); f. 372v Jeremiah in prison; in
the border a man holding a crozier with a pair of bellows as his head dress
(Jeremiah); f. 399r Jeremiah lamenting, with ruined city to right (Lamentations);
f. 401r Jeremiah praying (Prayer of Jeremiah); f. 401v Baruch, dictating to a
youthful scribe; large spray of vetch with blue flowers and gold pods in left
border (Baruch); f. 405r Ezekiel's vision of God (Ezekiel); f. 429r Daniel
writing; medallion with flowers on red background in lower border (Prol.
Daniel); f. 430r Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel); f. 440v Hosea and Gomer with
God above (Hosea); f. 444r Joel and three priests facing an altar, God above;
a medallion containing a human head under a gold crown in lower border (Joel);
f. 445v Amos in a landscape with gold sheep; a blue shield charged with
an eagle beneath a gold crown in lower border (Amos);
f. 449r Obadiah and God above, burning houses; a medallion with white flowers
on red ground in lower border (Obadiah); f. 449v Jonah cast to the whale; an
elephant carrying a tower with an armed man and a medallion containing a naked
man in border (Jonah); f. 450v Micah and God; a shield charged with an eagle
under a crown, supported by two woodpeckers in lower border (Micah); f. 453r
Nahum and Nineveh, God above (Nahum); f. 454v Habakkuk suspended over a ravine
by an angel; a blue shield charged with a peacock under a crown in lower border
(Habakkuk); f. 456r Zephaniah in the foreground, a city in the background, God
above; a red shield charged with a human head in lower border (Zephaniah);
f. 457v Haggai and a mason with trowel building a house; a blue shield charged
with a grotesque head under a crown in lower border (Haggai); f. 458v Zechariah
and a man on a red horse between two rows of myrtle trees; a shield with a
man's head under a crown in outer border (Zechariah); f. 463r Malachi at a
lectern; a blue shield charged with a horse-man in lower border (Malachi); f.
464v Battle between Antiochus and the Jews (1 Maccabees); f. 479v The prophet
Jeremiah [?] writing (2 Maccabees); f. 490v Variation on the Tree of Jesse: in
the initial the Virgin is seated in the pose of Jesse; above, a panel with five
half-length figures (Matthew); f. 506r Mark writing, the lion at his feet
(vertical format); a putto riding a stag in border (Mark); f. 516r Luke and bull
(Luke); f. 533r John and eagle at his feet (vertical format) (John); f. 546v
Paul, writing, Rome in the background (Romans); f. 553r Paul preaching to a
large crowd, landscape in background (1 Corinthians); f. 559r Paul preaching to
a large crowd in basilica (2 Corinthians); f. 563r Paul preaching to a large
crowd (Galatians); f. 565r Paul preaching to a large crowd, landscape in
background (Ephesians); f. 567r Paul preaching to a large crowd, landscape in
background (Phillipians); f. 568v Paul preaching to a large crowd, landscape in
background (Colossians); f. 570r Paul with a book (Prol. 1 Thessalonians); f.
570r Paul between Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonians); f. 571v Paul with a
book (Prol. 2 Thessalonians); f. 571v Paul, Silvanus and Timothy (2
Thessalonians); f. 572r Paul with a book (Prol. 1 Timothy); f. 572v Paul,
Silvanus and Timothy (1 Timothy); f. 574r Paul with a book (Prol. 2 Timothy);
f. 574r Paul and Timothy (2 Timothy); f. 575r Paul with a book (Prol. Titus);
f. 575r Paul and Titus; naked man with a pointed blue cap in the border
(Titus); f. 576r Paul with a book (Prol. Philemon); f. 576r Paul and Philemon
above and Paul with a book below
(Philemon); f. 567r Paul with a book (Prol. Hebrews); f. 576v Paul's letter
presented to the Hebrews (Hebrews); f. 581r Luke with book (Prol. Acts); f.
581r Pentecost (Acts); f. 597v St. Jerome with a book (Prol. Catholic Epistles);
f. 597v James with staff and book (James); f. 599v Peter with book and keys
(1 Peter); f. 601r Peter with book and keys, landscape in background (2 Peter);
f. 602r John with a book (1 John); f. 603v John hands two scrolls to the people
below (2 John); f. 604r John hands scroll to two people below (3 John); f. 604r
Jude with a book, vertical format (Jude); f. 604v St. Jerome with a book,
cardinal's hat and lion at his feet (Prol. to Apocalypse); f. 605r St. John's
vision of God with the double bladed sword (Apocalypse).
At least four artists collaborated in the illustration and decoration of the
codex. The main artist, responsible for the miniatures on f. 5r and 272r, as
well as a great number of historiated initials (e.g., ff. 546v, 553r, 559r,
565r, 567r, 568v) is, as C. Huter has noted, in some ways close to the Paduan
illuminator of the Lectionary of Bishop Pietro Donato (New York, Pierpont Morgan
Lib. MS 1436), although his origins are probably Lombard. The miniature on f.
1r is also by a Lombard artist, reflecting the influence of the Vitae
Imperatorum Master. (C. Huter does not exclude the possibility that f. 1r and
f. 5r represent the shifting development of a single hand). J. J. G. Alexander
has noted the work of the Venetian illuminator Christoforo Cortese on several
folios: f. 27v, where all the decoration is by Cortese, ff. 59r and 68v, where
only the borders are his. The series of historiated initials on ff. 570r-576v
are by an artist with affinities to the Florentine illuminator Biagio Sanguini.
A further group of initials and borders (e.g., ff. 224r, 239r, 449r) seems to be
by a Franco-Flemish artist (see Exhibition Catalogue pp. 225-26, no. 49,
pl. 18 of 272r).
On virtually every folio, recto and verso, are elaborate bar borders, in
margins and/or between text columns, full or half-length, gold, blue, green,
pink, and/or orange with white filigree, some with curling acanthus, leafy
midpoints and terminals with acanthus and hair-spray extension. On folios with
miniatures or initials, more elaborate borders (full borders on ff. 1r, 5r):
curling hair-spray with gold dots and trefoil leaves, spikey ivy, pink, blue
orange and green flowers, putti, insects, birds, grotesques and, on f. 348v,
a marginal scene, lower left corner, a fowler chasing rabbits. Several of the
border decorations are by a Lombard artist (e.g., ff. 1r, 5r) and are touched
by the influential style of Cortese. They might usefully be compared to the
work of the Master of the Franciscan Breviary. In addition, A. C. de la Mare
believes that some of the borders are Florentine and may be by early Filippo
Ornamental initials (5- to 6-line) at the beginning of the prologues in red,
blue, orange, and/or green, acanthus infilled red with white filigree against
irregular gold grounds; gold against cusped pink and blue backgrounds with
white filigree; some rinceaux initials in Franco-Flemish style, pink or blue
with white highlights against cusped gold grounds. 2- and 1-line initials, gold
on red and blue grounds with white filigree. Running titles in alternating red
and blue letters or in gold against red and blue rectangular grounds with white
filigree. Line fillers (ff. 617r-682r) in red, blue and/or gold. Chapter
numbers in red or blue. Rubrics throughout.
First two leaves slightly creased.
Binding: s. xix-xx. A painted design under the gilt fore edge (see
Provenance below). Red velvet binding.
Written in Italy in 1428 by the scribe "Cazaninus Johannis de Montebellio
Bononiensis Diocesis" for Cardinal Niccolo Albergati (arms on f. 1r and on
fore-edge painting; colophon on f. 682r: "Hunc librum Biblie et plura
alia opera theologicalia scripsi ego Cazaninus iohannis de Montebellio
Bononiensis Diocesis pro Reuerendissimo et Deuotissimo patre nostro et domino.
Domino N dei Gratia Cardinale sancte crucis ierusalem cuius anima et corpus
semper in pace quiescant. Amen. yhs. Fine facto pia me benedicat virgo
maria 1428 die 13 Augusti."). According to an inscription added below the
colophon in a slightly later hand Cardinal Albergati bequeathed the manuscript
to the Certosa de Val d'Ema, Florence: "Ipsum librum donauit idem
dominus huic monasterio sancti laurentii cartusiensis ordinis in quo qui legerit
pro ipso oret deum." A document in library files, dated 28 September 1839 and
originating in "Certosa di Firenze," certifies for the purposes of sale that
Cardinal Albergati "reliquit nobis Bibliam pulcherrimam et quedam alia librorum
volumina" in 1442. Belonged to R. S. Holford, Dorchester House, Westonbirt,
Dorchestershire; bequeathed to his son, Sir George Holford (sale by executors
of his estate, 1928); The Holford Collection, Dorchester House (Oxford,
1927) v. 1, p. 17 (pls. X-XI). From the collection of A. Chester Beatty
(Western MS 79); his sale, Sotheby's, 24 June 1969, no. 61); see E. G. Millar,
The Library of A. Chester Beatty ... (Oxford, 1930) v. 2, pp. 232-44, pls.
CLXXXV-CLXXXVIII; Western Illuminated Manuscripts from the Library of
Sir Chester Beatty, exhib. cat. (Dublin: Trinity College, 1955) no. 12; R. J.
Hayes, "Contemporary Collectors XVIII: The Chester Beatty Library," Book
Collector 7 (1958) p. 257. Acquired from H. P. Kraus in 1969 as the gift of
Edwin J. Beinecke.
secundo folio: que destruitur
Bibliography: Exhibition Catalogue, pp. 225-26, no. 49, pl. 18 of f. 272r.
S. C. Cockerell, Exhibition of Illuminated Manuscripts, exhib. cat.
(London: Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1908) no. 180, pl. 122.
Barbara A. Shailor