Picture-book of the Life of St John and the Apocalypse

The British Library, London




Shelfmark: Add. Ms. 38121
Date: c. 1400
Provenance: South of the Netherlands
Size: ± 320 x 200 mm
100 pages, 94 miniatures illuminated with gold
Brown leather binding
Full-colour commentary volume, written by internationally renowned experts.
Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.
Picture-book of the Life of St John and the Apocalypse The British Library, London The British Library, London

Shelfmark: Add. Ms. 38121
Date: c. 1400
Provenance: South of the Netherlands
Size: ± 320 x 200 mm
100 pages, 94 miniatures illuminated with gold
Brown leather binding
Full-colour commentary volume, written by internationally renowned experts.
Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.



Description

Picture-book of the Life of St John and the Apocalypse The British Library, London


Illustrated Apocalypse containing, as an introduction and colophon, a series of illuminations about the life of its author, St. John the Evangelist. The manuscript was created around 1400, probably in the North of France or the South of the Netherlands. Its iconographic cycle is very similar to some thirteenth-century picture-book Apocalypses made in England, such as Ms. M. 524 in the Morgan Library or the Bodleian Library´s Ms. D. IV. 17.

Not only are the manuscript´s illustrations numerous, but they are particularly attractive for their use of colour, freshness and dynamism. In addition, the narrative eloquence of the images conveys the iconographic tradition of illustrated stories whilst providing great entertainment. Their pleasant, joyous tone could be linked to the didactic intention of the artist or commissioner of the manuscript. The clear predominance of images over text and the insertion of textual inscriptions within the miniatures would support this theory.

The codex belonged to Alfred Henry Huth (1850- 1910), English collector and bibliophile from a family of bankers, who helped found the Bibliographical Society of London. Possessing a great fortune, Alfred Henry Huth devoted himself to the study and collection of books, like his father, Henry Huth. Huth stated in his will that upon his death the British Museum would have the right to choose 50 volumes from his collection. Huth´s ex libris, pasted inside this book, indicates that this was one of the 50 volumes chosen by the British Museum in 1910.


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