THE GERAARDSBERGEN BIBLE

MS 006/1
MS Short Title THE GERAARDSBERGEN BIBLE
Text
  1. BIBLE: 1 KINGS - 2 MACCABEES, EXCLUDING THE PSALMS AND THE PROPHETS, WITH CAPITULA AND ST. HIERONYMUS PROLOGUES
  2. BIBLE: PROPHETS, ISAIAH 5:2 - MALACHI 3:6, WITH ST. HIERONYMUS PROLOGUES
  3. BIBLE: NEW TESTAMENT EXCLUDING GOSPELS AND APOCALYPSE LACKING PHLIPPIANS-HEBREWS
Description MS in Latin on vellum, Geraardsbergen, Cambrai, Belgium, ca. 1200, 3 vols., 201 ff. (complete) + 121 ff. (-14) + 15 ff. (-50), 43x29 cm, 46x31 cm, 2 columns (33x21 cm), 41 lines in a large late Romanesque formal book script, 4 lines in display half uncials in red and green, 9 + 5 lines in display initials in blue, red and green, 682 decorated initials (2-6 lines) with marginal penwork in red and blue, 11 very large (7-26 lines) decorated initials with penwork in red and blue, extending up to the whole margin, 43 very large initials (6-31 lines), with marginal extension up to the whole margin, painted in colours in Romanesque style, one illuminated initial in gold and colours, three extremely large (near full-page height) historiated initials in gold and colours by the Geraardsbergen Bible master.
Binding Vol. 2: England, 1908, dark blue morocco gilt, sewn on 5 cords, by W.H. Smith. Vol. 3: Geraardsbergen Abbey, Cambrai, Belgium, 15th c. oak boards sewn on 5 thongs, spine covered with tanned blindtooled leather.
Context The Bible was originally around 1200 bound in 3 volumes. Volume 1 is probably lost. Psalms and Gospels were in smaller separate volumes as usual at the time, and the Apocalypse was not included. The Prophets and NT were bound together in volume 3. In 15th c the Bible was rebound in 4 volumes with Prophets as volume 3 and NT as volume 4. In 1985 volume 4, with NT on about 65 leaves and with two great miniatures, was dismembered and widely scattered worldwide among public and private collections. 15 leaves including the miniatures are in The Schøyen Collection, reassembled through 30 years.
Provenance 1. Benedictine Abbey of St. Adrian, Geraardsbergen, Cambrai, Belgium (ca. 1200-1796). Vol. 2: 2. Franz Trau, Wien (-1905); 3. Gilhofer & Ranschburg, Wien 27.10.1905:8; 4. Quaritch, London (1905-1910); 5. C.H. St. John Hornby, London, MS 15 (1910-1946); 6. Major J.R. Abbey, London, J.A. 3175 (1946-1975); 7. Sotheby's 25. 3.1975:2943; 8. British Rail Pension Fund (1975-88); 9. J. Paul Getty Jr., London (1988-89); 10. H. Tenschert cat. XXV(1990):5. Vol. 3: 2. Private collector, Switzerland (until 1984); 3. Dr. Walter Eichenberger, Beinwil am See, Switzerland (1984-1986); 4. Sotheby's 24.6.1986:78. 5. Christie's 3.12.2015:12 (5 NT leaves)
Commentary Colophon at the end of vol. 2 giving the name of Geraardsbergen Abbey: "Liber beati Adriani de Geraldi Monte -". Further two deadly curses, against those who might steal the Bible: "Si quis eum vi vel furto abstulerit aut consenserit averti, anathema sit fiat fiat. Amen" and "Si quis furetur mala morte tunc morietur". Vols. 2 and 3 of this monumental lectern Bible have been separated, probably since the dissolution of the Geraardsbergen Abbey in 1796, and were luckily reunited in The Schøyen Collection on 2 Oct. 1990.
Exhibited 1. Conference of European National Librarians, Oslo. Sept. 1994. 2. "Preservation for access: Originals and copies". On the occasion of the 1st International Memory of the World Conference, organized by the Norwegian Commission for UNESCO and the National Library of Norway, at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 3 June - 14 July 1996.
See also MS 692, The Ellesmere Bible, England, 1220-1240
Place of origin Belgium
Dates ca 1200 AD

Location