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Bible: MS McClean 8

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Object information

Current Location: In storage






PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i paper flyleaf + 188 fols. + i paper flyleaf, 513 x 325 mm (333-344 x 199-208 mm), two columns, 32 lines, text written above top line, ruled in plummet and hard point, pricking in upper, lower and outer margins on most leaves, numerical quire marks, running headers

BINDING: eighteenth century, paper with leather spine and trim over pasteboards, paper label with ‘34’ in brown ink on spine, faint red and dark-blue stripes on yellow ground on edges.

CONTENTS: fols. 1r-188v Bible, Ezechiel 13:7 - Lamentations 5:18, with prologues.

DECORATION: Historiated initial with open frame in yellow with dark red, on dark purple, turquoise and green ground: fol. 93v Prologue to Isaiah, [N, 14 ll.] Isaiah standing holding scroll, accompanied by several lines of text written in coloured display capitals

ORNAMENTATION: Two open frame initials in yellow with red, stylised foliage, geometric patterns and occasional beasts, birds, fish and mask heads in red-brown, brown and green penwork, blank parchment patterns, on red-brown, green and blue framing grounds: fol. 71r Abd [U, 11 ll.]; fol. 71v Jonah [E, 7 ll.].

Nine red, blue and green initials [9–12 ll.] with geometric and stylised floral patterns on blank parchment with occasional minor red penwork decoration for other books and prologues (fols. 37r, 38r, 57r, 57v, 63v, 78r, 80r, 137r, 137v); red, blue, green and turquoise initials [1–4 ll.], some with red, blue and green dots and stripes, all with blank lines forming patterns within main body of letter, for most chapters; red, blue and green penwork initials [2 ll.] with contrasting red, blue and green decoration for incipits of books and first words of prologues and books; red, blue and green penwork initials [1–3 ll.] with red decoration for lists of chapters in books (e.g. Dan 3:51 - 3:90, Hab 3:1-3:19, fol. 79r, and sections of Lam); rubricated incipits and explicits for prologues and important sections in books; red and blue one-line penwork initials; running headers in red (except on fols. 56v-94v); sketch of a tonsured head within initial (fol. 185r); quire marks decorated with brown (and occasionally red) penwork fleur-des-lys, hearts and bull's-eye motifs; red chapter numbers in margins (not throughout) and end of list of chapters.


History note: Cistercian Abbey of Morimondo in Lombardy, the manuscript can be identified almost certainly with one part of a five-volume Bible listed in the library inventory of before c.1174-1175 (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University, Houghton Library, fMS Typ 223; Cambridge, Mass. 1988, 11-13, no. 1); probably acquired by Frank McClean (1837-1904) in 1892 from Ulrico Hoepli in Milan, the source of the other Morimondo manuscripts in his collection (MSS McClean 29, 58, 113, 116, 117; Ferrari 1993, 299); his bequest, 1904.

Place(s) associated

  • Milan ⪼ Italy
  • Morimondo ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

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


12th Century, third quarter#
Circa 1160 CE - Circa 1175 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: [exten]dam manum meam
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 8
Primary reference Number: 118820
Project ID: 819
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 8 October 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Bible" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-20 09:00:37

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{{cite web|url= |title=Bible |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-20 09:00:37|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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