Medieval Bible Leaf - England - John - I am the Bread of Life


Original leaf from an English manuscript pocket Bible.  Written in Latin in minute gothic book-hand script, in brown ink on animal vellum. Rubricated chapter numbers, initials and marginalia in red and blue. (160 x 115 mm - 6.4 x 4.6").

45 lines of text in double columns (12 lines per inch!). Two multi-lined illuminated initials alternating in red with delicate blue penwork, & deep blue with delicate red penwork – all extending along margins.

England, probably East Anglia, c. 1250-75.

This leaf contains John 6:42 - 8:39: ''Et dicebant...'' (And they said:  Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph...No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me...He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life.  I am the bread of life...He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him in the last day...He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her...I am the light of the world:  he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life...You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free ...).

Provenance: (Ref: Gwara hand list #245) ex-collection Otto F. Ege - Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Art & Lecturer on History of the Book in the School of Library Science, Western Reserve University.

This leaf, from a ''portable'' Bible during the period of the Crusades, would have been used in the abstract study of theology or the preaching of the Gospel around the medieval countryside.

A scarce illuminated example of 13th century English Bible production, with an attractive historiated inital and an unusual style of gothic script. This is a leaf with Ege provenance,  but leaves from the parent manuscript did not appear in the Ege portfolios, and thus are seldom encountered. Gwara cites a sister leaf with illuminated initial published and pictured in  Ferrini Catalog One (1987), as item number 21, page 38-39.

Shipped in archival 14x11'' mat.

  • Inventory Number: IM-10843