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Parker Library On the Web Manuscripts in the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 002III: The Bury Bible.

IIIF Drag-n-drop purl.stanford.edu/dt053nh0820
Title:
Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 002III: The Bury Bible.
Alternate Title:
Bibliorum Pars I
Language:
Latin
Extent:
ff. 357
Approximate Date:
[ca. 1100 - 1199]
Collection:
Parker Manuscripts
Description:
This great Bible, CCCC MS 2, one of the most famous of the books in the Parker Library, is now bound in three volumes (2I, 2II, 2III), although once was a single volume. 2I contains ff. 1r-121v with Jerome’s Prologue and the books from Genesis to Joshua; 2II contains ff. 122r-241v with the books from Judges to Isaiah; 2III contains ff. 242r-357v with the books from Jeremiah to Job. The single volume thus contained the books of the Old Testament from Genesis to Job, and the second volume with the remainder of the Bible has not survived. It can be identified with a Bible commissioned by Hervey, the sacrist, for his brother, Talbot, prior of Bury St Edmunds Abbey, c. 1135-8, which was illuminated by Master Hugo. The miniatures and some of the illuminated initials are painted on separate pieces of vellum stuck to the page, and the description of the Bible in the Gesta Sacristarum attests that master Hugo 'was unable to find any suitable calf-hide in these parts' and had to purchase parchment from Ireland. Six large full-page or half-page miniatures preface some of the books, whereas the others have historiated or ornamental initials. Six of the large pictures have been removed from the book and are lost. It is a prime example of the very large luxury Bibles made in the twelfth century for monastic houses. The artist, Master Hugo, was influenced by Byzantine painting, and may have seen either illuminated manuscripts opr wall-paintings, such as those of Asinou in Cyprus which most closely resemble his style. The faces are modelled with shading in green and grey, and the folds are divided into sections reflecting the position of the limbs. This has been called the 'damp-fold' style and influenced many other artists working in England in the period c. 1140-70 at Canterbury, Winchester and elsewhere. After the dissolution of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds at the Reformation the Bible eventually came into the hands of Matthew Parker.