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Biblia figurata: MS 11

An image of Bible

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Biblia figurata




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, iii modern paper flyleaves + 83 fols. + iii modern paper flyleaves, 158 x 109 (142 x 110) mm, ruled in black ink.

BINDING: 19th century, gold tooled stiff-board vellum, leather tabs at beginning of biblical books.

CONTENTS: fols. 1r-2r Three short passages from the works of Ovid (Ex Ponto, III, 1, 157-8; Tristia, II, 31-2; Ex Ponto, III-IV, 79-82) and extracts from a letter of St Jerome, Epistula Ieronymi ad Paulinum de omnibus divinae historiae libris;
fols. 2v - 82r Abridged text of each book of the Latin bible, excluding 2

DECORATION: 1343 pen and ink drawings coloured in green, red, blue and yellow, and summarizing in a mnemonic fashion the contents of biblical books from Gn to Apc, chapter by chapter. The opening words of each chapter are written in red above the corresponding image. The drawings, normally 10 per page, are arranged mostly in four rows forming an hour-glass or tower shape consisting of three rectangular compartments in the top row (a, b, c), two circular ones in the second row, two rectangular compartments in the third row, and three in the fourth. The drawings illustrate a key word or phrase in the chapter or a narrative detail. An almost contemporary hand has written explanations in Latin within the compartments from Gn 1 to Sam 17, and more sparsely after that.


History note: Eighteenth-century ownership inscription including the name Johan Henrics, possibly a pharmacist (fol. 1r); Peter, Count von Salis-Soglio, 1828 (ownership inscriptions, fols. 1v, 82v); F.S. Ellis; his sale at Sotheby’s, London, Nov. 1885, lot 554; purchased by Quaritch; Samuel Sandars (1837 – 1894); his gift to the Museum, 1892

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1892-10-18) by Sandars, Samuel


15th Century, Late
Circa 1490 CE - Circa 1500 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Text Height 142 mm Width 110 mm
Page Height 158 mm Width 109 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Erat autem terra
  • Location: Fol. 3r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 11
Primary reference Number: 169658
Project ID: 45
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 April 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 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) "Biblia figurata" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-23 08:01:32

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