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Bible: MS McClean 11

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Current Location: In storage






PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i parchment flyleaf (foliated i) + 340 fols. + ii parchment flyleaves (foliate 341-342), 279 x 195 mm (180 x 120 mm), three columns, 68 lines written above top line (fols. 1r-11v), two columns, 60-62 lines written above top line (fols. 12r-329v), two columns, 59-60 lines written below top line (fols. 330r-339r), two columns, 48-54 lines written above top line (fols. 339v-340v), ruled in ink, pricking in both inner and outer margins, running headers, quire marks, catchwords, stitching holes and remains of thread from protective curtains (e.g. fol. 129r), one extant curtain (fol. 259r), leaves missing after fols. 11, 77, 146, 241, 251, 267, 283, 302

BINDING: eighteenth century, gold-stamped red morocco over pasteboards, with foliate design within lozenge on upper and lower covers

SECUNDO FOLIO: Amsy ursinea

SCRIPT: Gothic bookhand (textualis)

fol. i verso Table of Contents (late-thirteenth or early-fourteenth-century addition)
fols. 1r-11r Interpretation of Hebrew Names and List of Proper Names (Abigail-Zoech)
fols. 12r-329v Old and New Testaments with Prologues, Genesis - Apocalypse, omitting Psalms, with Baruch at the end of the volume (imperfect at the beginning of Jerome’s Prologue (Frater Ambrosius) and at the beginning of Ruth, Ezekiel, Esther, II Maccabees, Mark, John and Romans)
fols. 330r-339r I Esdras, Nehemiah and II Esdras (mid-thirteenth-century addition)
fols. 339v-340v I John with Prologue (late-fourteenth or early-fifteenth-century addition)

Fifty-one historiated initials in pink and blue on blue and pink patterned grounds highlighted in white, in a wide array of colours, ranging from dull grey to vibrant orange, on gold grounds, occasionally with punch dots and rosette stamps (e.g. fol. 13r), with extensions terminating in blocks of foliage, some containing concentric coils inhabited by white and red lions (e.g. fol. 13r), occasionally also inhabited by dragons or beasts: fol. 13r Gen, [I, 100 ll.] Seven large roundels of the Days of Creation, including Creation of Eve and God resting on the seventh day, each surrounded by four smaller semi-circular medallions with subjects related to each act of creation (e.g. planets, plants, animals, evangelist symbols), with small quatrefoils at the base of each roundel (except the last), inhabited respectively by white lions, four hares, eagles, cat catching mouse, hybrid monster, and centaur, with concentric scrolls inhabited by white lions at the base, outlined in gold and black, and edged with green, the initial extending much above and below the text block; fol. 26r Exod, [H, 14 ll.] Moses leading Israelites; fol. 36v Lev, [V, 14 ll.] Aaron speaking to Moses; fol. 43v Num, [L, 7 ll.] God speaking to Moses who holds Tablets of the Law; fol. 53v Deut, [H, 14 ll.] Moses, holding scroll, addressing the Israelites; fol. 64r Jos, [E, 16 ll.] Joshua leading the Israelites, with the figures holding on to the horizontal bar of the initial; fol. 78v I Kings, [F, 15 ll.] Elkanah seated, flanked by Hannah and Peninnah; fol. 88r II Kings, [F, 16 ll.] David with the Amalekite offering Saul's crown; fol. 96r III Kings, [E, 14 ll.] Abishag brought to David in bed; fol. 105v IV Kings, [C, 14 ll.] Ahaziah reclining in bed, Elijah conversing with two men; fol. 115r Isai, [V, 16 ll.] Martyrdom of Isaiah; fol. 129r Jer, [V, 14 ll.] Jeremiah’s vision of seething cauldron (damaged); fol.162v Dan, [A, 16 ll.] Daniel in lion’s den, hand of God above (damaged); fol. 168v Osea, [V, 16 ll.] Marriage of Hosea and Gomer; fol. 171r Joel, [V, 14 ll.] Joel talking to two men; fol. 172r Amos, [V, 14 ll.] Amos as shepherd; fol. 173v Abd, [V, 12 ll.] Obadiah seated, holding scroll (damaged); fol. 173v Jonah, [E, 12 ll.] Jonah delivered from whale; fol. 174v Micah, [V, 14 ll.] Micah seated in niche, holding scroll (damaged); fol. 175v Nah, [O, 13 ll.] Nahum seated in niche, holding scroll; fol. 176r Hab, [O, 12 ll.] Habakkuk seated in a niche, holding scroll; fol. 177r Soph, [V, 12 ll.] Zephaniah seated, holding scroll (damaged); fol. 177v Agg, [I, 26 ll.] Three quatrefoils, top to bottom: bishop, youth, man pointing upwards; fol. 178r Zach, [I, 30 ll.] Quatrefoil with Zechariah holding scroll; fol. 180v Mal, [O, 14 ll.] Malachi seated, holding scroll; fol. 181v Prov, [P, 13 ll.] Solomon seated, holding scroll; fol. 190r Cant, [O, 12 ll.] Solomon embracing Sheba (damaged); fol. 191r Wisd, [D, 13 ll.] Solomon addressing men (damaged); fol. 196r Ecclus, [O, 13 ll.] Solomon instructing Rehoboam; fol. 208v I Par, [A, 17 ll.] Genealogy of Adam, busts of figures (damaged); fol. 216v II Par, [C, 14 ll.] Man addressing Solomon (damaged); fol. 227v Job, [V, 14 ll.] Job on dung heap flanked by wife and friends (damaged); fol. 238r Judith, [A, 14 ll.] Judith beheading Holofernes, ape holding fruit seated on beam above; fol. 244r I Macc, [E, 13 ll.] Antiochus Epiphanes(?) with a messenger; fol. 259r Matt, [L, 5 ll.] Tree of Jesse with dove descending at apex; fol. 274r Luke, [F, 12 ll.] St Luke writing, ox reclining; fol. 290v Acts, [P, 14 ll.] St Luke writing at lectern with Theophilus; fol. 300v James, [I, 40 ll.] St James preaching; fol. 301v I Pet, [P, 14 ll.] St Peter seated, holding open book; fol. 302v II Pet, [S, 13 ll.] St Peter seated; fol. 306v I Cor, [P, 14 ll.] St Paul addressing man; fol. 310r II Cor, [P, 13 ll.] St Paul giving letter (scroll) to man; fol. 313v Eph, [P, 14 ll.] St Paul with book preaching; fol. 314v Phil, [P, 14 ll.] St Paul preaching; fol. 315v Col, [P, 13 ll.] St Paul giving letter (scroll) to man; fol. 316v I Thess, [P, 13 ll.] St Paul preaching (damaged); fol. 317v II Thess, [P, 13 ll.] St Paul preaching and I Tim, [P, 11 ll.] St Paul addressing man (both damaged); fol. 319v Titus, [P, 12 ll.] St Paul seated (partially excised); fol. 320r Philemon, [P, 13 ll.] St Paul with book addressing man; fol. 323r Apoc, [A, 16 ll.] St John seated in contemplation at a lectern with the hand of God above.

Three smaller historiated initials by a different artist, in colours and gold, the first inhabited by a dragon: fol. 330r I Esd, [I, 30 ll.] King with prophet (Ezra) above and combative dragon below; fol. 332v Neh, [V, 6 ll.] Nehemiah offering cup to Artaxerxes; fol. 335r II Esd, [E, 4 ll.] Josiah asperging altar.

Three sketches in brown ink in lower margins, the first particularly fine: fol. 168v Dragon confronting lion; fol. 177v Hound pursuing deer; fol. 238r Ape clasping fruit (possibly a guide sketch for detail of historiated initial for Judith on same folio)

Pink and blue initials [5-16 ll.] on patterned blue and pink grounds, ornamented in white with infill of foliage motifs on gold grounds, including various floral, acanthus and other foliate motifs (e.g. fol. 12v, 114v), sometimes inhabited by dragons (e.g. fol. 170v), birds (e.g. fol. 128v), animals, including white lions highlighted in orange (e.g. fols. 13r, 310r), and occasionally fish, for the Prologues; pink and silver foliate initial [A, 7 ll.] on burnished gold ground outlined in black for beginning of the Interpretation of Hebrew Names (fol. 1r); red and blue parted initial [V, 6 ll.] with pen flourishing in the same colours for added book, I Esd (fol. 330r); alternate red and blue initials [2-8 ll.] with pen flourishing in blue or red for chapters and major divisions of the Interpretation of Hebrew Names; alternate red and blue initials [2-6 ll.] with simple, linear penwork for added books, I Esd, Neh, and II Esd (fols. 330r-339r); red penwork initials [2 ll.] for added book, I John (fols. 339v-340v); alternate red and blue Roman numerals [1-2 ll.] for chapters, those on fols. 330r-339r preceded by paraph marks; alternate red and blue capitals [2 ll.] in running headers (except fols. 1r-11v); capitals highlighted in red.


History note: Ownership inscription of Nicolas II d’Origny of Troyes (c.1467-1534) on fol. i recto: Ego nicolaus dorigny asportavi hanc bibliam a trecis [Troyes] quam mihi sua gratia dignata est dare mater mea propter certas causas a.d. m.cccc.iiiixx dominica iiii post pascha xxva maii, continued beneath in a different hand: et hanc dedi Pronepoti meo et legavi mense augusto anno ab Incarn. Domini Millo quinquagesimo tricesimo quarto. N. …trier?; erased inscription on fol. i verso; fifteenth-century note referring to St Remaclus of Stavelot, near Liège (inside lower cover); Quaritch, 6 January 1902, Catalogue 211, no. 44; Frank McClean (1836-1904); his bequest, 1904.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Frank McClean

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


13th Century, first half
Circa 1210 CE - Circa 1230 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production

Iron gall ink

Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Text Height 180 mm Width 120 mm
Page Height 279 mm Width 195 mm

Techniques used in production

Egg tempura

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: amsy ursinea
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 11
Primary reference Number: 118789
Project ID: 816
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Bible" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-21 04:40:41

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