Parchment, a single large leaf, c.410×272mm, ruled in plummet for two columns of 50 lines, written in formal gothic bookhand including a top-line cadel of a squirrel, running headers and chapter numbers in red and blue characters, illuminated with a large (16-line) historiated initial, a four-line prologue initial and two three-line chapter initials, each with foliate bar-extensions running the full height of the text, various medieval and later marginal annotations; one area of text excised and repaired.
(1) The parent manuscript was likely written for a Carthusian house (perhaps the Chartreuse de Vauvert, Paris), with the punctus flexus punctuation typical of Cistercian and Carthusian books, and later added Carthusian markings in the margins.
(2) When 210 disbound leaves, with 8 historiated initials, were sold at Sotheby s, 11 December 1984, lot 39, Christopher de Hamel read several partially erased inscriptions and deduced that the Bible had been bequeathed in 1450 by Mirmellus Arnandi , lawyer and judge, to an unidentified Dominican convent. François Avril has recently identified both the donor (whose name was not Mirmellus Arnandi) and the Dominican convent; his findings will be published in the forthcoming catalogue of the Naito Collection at the Museum for Western Art, Tokyo.
(3) The Property of a Gentleman Resident on the Continent , Sotheby s, 7 July 1931, lot 389.
(4) The property of an Italian Private Collector, sold at Parke-Bernet, New York, 30 November 1948, lot 326, where it was still substantially complete and described as having 503 leaves and 86 historiated initials; bought by Philip C. Duschnes and/or:
(5) Otto F. Ege (1888 1951), of Cleveland, broken-up by him, and with his(?) (partially erased) pencil description in the lower margin of the verso.
(6) Sotheby s, 10 July 2012, lot 2(b), the initial reproduced in colour in the catalogue; bought by:
(7) Robert Weaver, London; recently deaccessioned.
The main text is from Acts 27:40 to the end of Acts, a prologue to James (Stegmüller no. 809), and the start of James as far as James 2:4, but a portion of text has been cut out and replaced by a patch of parchment from the following leaf of the same manuscript, containing parts of James 2:10 3:9 and 4:8 5:20. This leaf both confirms that Acts appeared between Hebrews (the last of the Pauline Epistles) and James (the first of the Catholic Epistles), and that Acts had an historiated initial. Illumination Previously attributed to eastern France, and perhaps Metz, and dated to various periods from c.1280 to c.1330, the style of illumination should in fact be attributed to Paris, c.1300, as François Avril kindly informed us. The parent manuscript is discussed, and the known leaves listed, by Peter Kidd, The McCarthy Collection, III: French Miniatures (London, 2021), no 60, pp.199 202, citing the present leaf on p. 201, no. 80, when still in the collection of Robert Weaver. This is a leaf from a very grand Bible, written and decorated on a scale rarely found after the late twelfth century, by which time most monasteries were already equipped with such books for reading in the choir and the refectory.