St. Luke’s Calf in a Pocket Bible from Oxford
Type: Leaves & Fragments
English Pocket Bible. Single folio on vellum. England, doubtless Oxford, ca. 1260: 160 mm x 112 mm (justification, 107 mm x 67 mm). Double column, 43 lines. Lightly ruled in plummet. Unfoliated. Visible guide letters in the margins. Decoration: A handsome brown calf, symbol of St. Luke, with black and white details in a historiated initial F, for which the calf’s body constitutes the lower horizontal stroke. The long tail of the letter extends down the margin, terminating in gold finials; three-line puzzle initial Q in red and blue with penwork; rubricated. The powder-blue background of the bull and green outline of the initial are characteristic English features. Just as distinctive is numbering by fives down the central column, which is only associated with Oxford at this date; see Rouse and Rouse, Preachers, Florilegia, and Sermons: Studies on the Manipulus Florum of Thomas of Ireland (Toronto, 1979), pp. 20-21. Our manuscript is curious because its numbers are not consecutive. Text: end of prologue (Stegmueller 620); a short prologue not in Stegmueller; Luke 1.1 Fuit in diebus … 2.9 timore. Provenance: the Schoenberg Database does not record the sale of this bible, but folios of it began to emerge about a decade ago. Condition: very good, although a series of parallel scratches affects the bull.
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