Latin Bible. Strasbourg, c. 1468

[LATIN BIBLE]. 2 vols.
[Strasbourg: Heinrich Eggestein,
not after 1468]. (06123)

Bridwell Library’s copy of the third Strasbourg edition of the Latin Bible features early Netherlandish illumination. In volume I, the initial F of St. Jerome’s prefatory epistle contains an image of its recipient, St. Paulinus, Bishop of Nola (c. 354–431). At the lower left of this page, the decorated margin includes Moses before the Burning Bush. Tending to his flock, Moses (with horns and a halo) holds a scroll inscribed “Vadam et videbo visionem hanc magnam” (“I will go and see this great sight” – Exodus 3:3). From within the burning bush the Lord calls out “Moses, Moses.”

In volume II, the illuminator copied several motifs from a set of engravings produced c. 1440 by the anonymous “Master of the Playing Cards.” This German engraver’s deck of cards, with suits consisting of birds, flowers, deer, beasts of prey, and wild men, supplied patterns that inspired numerous German, Swiss, and Netherlandish book illuminators. The two hungry birds on the exhibited page were derived from the engraved card of the “Three of Birds.” Elsewhere in the Bible, climbing bears copy the “Nine of Beasts,” and a reclining buck recalls the “Nine of Deer.” First recorded in an eighteenth-century priest’s collection near Antwerp, these volumes later were owned by the founder of the Kelmscott Press, William Morris (1834–1896), a champion of Gothic revival and ardent admirer of richly illuminated books.

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Detail of birds in vol. II

Printing in Germany
Latin Bible. Strasbourg, c. 1468