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Gospel Book: MS 45-1980

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Current Location: In storage


Gospel Book




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i modern parchment flyleaf + 154 fols. + i modern flyleaf, 265 x 185 mm (183-185 x 125 mm), ruled in hard point, 25-26 long lines, running headers, quire marks in Roman numerals, neumes added on fol. 22v, leaves lost after fols. 4, 12, 57 and 154, most of fol. 13 and lower margins of fols. 85-86 excised

BINDING: twentieth century, conserved, re-sewn on double supports and rebound in red native niger morocco over quarter-cut English oak boards in 1977 by S.M. Cockerell and Desmond Shaw, who removed the previous binding (nineteenth-century brown calf re-backed with a heavily glued spine)

SECUNDO FOLIO: sec[un]d[um] Luc[am] cap[itulum] cxvi

SCRIPT: Caroline minuscule

fols. 1r-12v Capitulary for feasts between Christmas and the feast of St Andrew (ends imperfectly)
fol. 13r-v Jerome, Letter to Pope Damasus, Novum opus (fragmentary, most of the leaf is excised)
fols. 15r-21v Canon Tables
fols. 22v-154v Gospels with prologues and capitula for St John’s Gospel (ends imperfectly)

Canon Tables within two or three columns supporting single or double (fols. 19v-20r) round arches with luxuriant acanthus, floral and geometric motifs, animals (fols. 17v-18r), birds (fol. 21v) and human busts or figures (fols. 16v-17r) drawn in brown ink and coloured in orange-red, yellow, blue and green (fols. 15r-21v).

Five full-page miniatures drawn in brown ink and coloured in orange-red, yellow, blue and green, framed (except fol. 125r, unframed) in acanthus or interlace panels with acanthus, beasts’ or birds’ heads projecting from corner-pieces (except fol. 128r, columns, arch and interlaced lower panel): fol. 14v Christ surrounded by the Evangelists’ symbols, each holding an open book on a lectern, and laying hands on two of the books, those of St Mark and St John, the angel of St Matthew in upper left corner, the ox of St Luke in lower right; fol. 22r St Matthew seated on chair with eagle-headed terminals and claws at base, laying hand on open book on lectern, God’s hand and angel holding open book appearing from clouds above; fol. 63v St Mark seated, laying hand on open book on lectern, his lion holding book above; fol. 87r St Luke seated, a scroll hung over his arm, scroll-stand with inkhorn attached to it, cross-nimbed lamb and St Luke’s ox holding book above; fol. 125r Crucifixion with two thieves on Tau crosses, Ecclesia holding up chalice (left), Synagoga holding Tablets of the Law (right), and half-length personifications of the sun and moon holding torches and shrouding their faces.

Two unframed half-page miniatures drawn in brown ink and partially coloured in orange-red, yellow, blue and green: fol. 83v St Mark’s account of the Passion, Betrayal of Christ; fol. 128r Gospel of St John, St John seated beneath a vault and writing, cross-nimbed eagle above his lectern, hand of God at top of vault, six candlesticks (three on either side) and a seventh one mostly trimmed in the outer margin.

Incipit page for the Gospel of St Matthew with the first two letters, LI[ber], formed of interlaced panels and terminating in entwined beasts and birds which bite at interlaced ribbons linking the two letters, the second letter (I) surmounted by the angel of St Matthew, the opening words written in capitals coloured in red, yellow and blue (fol. 23v).

Three zoomorphic initials drawn in brown ink and coloured in orange-red, yellow, blue and green: fol. 24v St Matthew’s account of Christ’s incarnation, [X, 4 ll.] initial standing for Christ’s monogram (‘Chi’) and formed of a flying bird; fol. 87v Preface to St Luke’s Gospel, [L, 14 ll.] initial formed of eagle perched on fish; fol. 13r Jerome’s letter to Pope Damasus, fragment of a similar initial [probably B(eato papae), approx. 14 ll.].

Initials formed of acanthus, interlace and geometric motifs, drawn in brown ink and coloured in orange-red, yellow, blue and green: fol. 1r List of Gospel readings, [I, 22 ll.]; fol. 22v Preface to St Matthew’s Gospel, [M, 6 ll.]; fol. 62v Preface to St Mark’s Gospel, [M, 11 ll.]; fol. 88v Gospel of St Luke, [Q, 5 ll.]; fol. 128r Preface to St John’s Gospel, [I, 10 ll.]; fol. 129r Preface to St John’s Gospel, [P, 14 ll.]; fol. 130r Gospel of St John, [I, 26 ll.]; opening words after initials written in Uncials or Rustic capitals coloured in red and yellow; one-line red initials; quire marks surrounded by pattern of short, wavy lines and dots.


History note: John Whitham, chapter-clerk of Ripon Cathedral and member of the Yorkshire Archaelogocial Society, by 1900 (Napier 1900); acquired in 1950 by Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence (1887-1965), his bookmark inside upper cover; to his son, Col. P.L. Bradfer-Lawrence, and daughter, Mrs B.E. Gray; purchased from them by the Museum in 1980.

Legal notes

Bought from Col. P. L. Bradfer-Lawrence and Mrs B. E. Gray, his sister

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1980) by Bradfer-Lawrence, Philip Gray, B. E., Mrs


9th Century-10th Century#
Circa 801 CE - Circa 1000 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production

Iron gall ink

Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Page Height 265 mm Width 185 mm
Text Width 125 mm

Techniques used in production

Egg tempura

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: secd' Luc' cap'
  • Type: Second folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 45-1980
Primary reference Number: 118752
Project ID: 1228
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 26 February 2024 Last processed: Monday 26 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

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