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Walters Ms. W.751, Corvey Gospel fragment

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Shelf mark

W.751


Manuscript

Corvey Gospel fragment


Text title
Gospel fragment

Abstract

This manuscript consists of four folios from a Gospel Book that was likely made at the monastery of Corvey in Western Germany during the last quarter of the tenth century. Dating to the reign of Otto I, these pages are a magnificent example of early Ottonian manuscript illumination. The heavily ornamented pages, which introduce the Gospels of Luke and John, shine with gold and jewel-like colors against dyed purple grounds. These pages combine monumental classicizing square capitals on purple grounds with rich and complex interlace. This fragment contains the opening pages of Luke (fols. 93-94) and John (fols. 137-138) that were originally part of Rheims, Bibliothèque Municipale, Ms. 10, a Gospel Book originally owned by the Chapter Library of the Cathedral of Rheims until it was confiscated, along with the rest of the cathedral's manuscripts, during the French Revolution. Related manuscripts include Pierpont Morgan Library Ms. M. 755 and New York Public Library Ms. 1.


Date

Third quarter of the 10th century CE


Origin

Corvey, Germany


Form

Book


Genre

Scriptural


Language:

The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.


Support material

Parchment

Thick, with suede surface on flesh side


Extent

Foliation: iii+4+ii

Two sets of foliation: seventeenth or eighteenth-century ink foliation upper right corners (fols. 93, 94, 137, and 138); modern pencil foliation very top right corner which reflect current fragmentary condition


Collation

Formula: iii, 1(2), 2(2), ii

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Fragment consists of two bifolia


Dimensions

24.2 cm wide by 31.2 cm high


Written surface

19.7 cm wide by 25.3 cm high


Layout
  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 27
  3. Hard point ruling

Contents:
fols. 1v - 4v:
  1. Title: Gospel fragment
  2. Incipit: Inicium sancti evangelii secundum Lucam
  3. Text note: Incomplete; only contains incipit pages for Luke, fols. 1v-2v; incipits for John, fols. 3v-4v
  4. Decoration note: All illumination consists of heavily decorated incipit text in gold letters on purple ground within interlace-filled frames, with letters ranging from one to twenty-two lines in height; large initial pages for Luke, fol. 2r, and John, fol. 4r, with intertwining letters decorated with knotwork and interlaced foliate designs; "Inicium" page for John, fol. 3v, has interlace cross with roundels containing birds in four quadrants, and roundels with beasts in corners; palette of gold, purple, yellow, red, blue, lavender, and green

Decoration:

fol. 1v:

  1. W.751, fol. 1v
  2. Title: Frontispiece for the Gospel of Luke
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to St. Luke

fol. 2r:

  1. W.751, fol. 2r
  2. Title: Incipit page for the Gospel of Luke
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to St. Luke

fol. 2v:

  1. W.751, fol. 2v
  2. Title: Decorated page
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Continuation of the incipit of the Gospel of St. Luke

fol. 3v:

  1. W.751, fol. 3v
  2. Title: Frontispiece for the Gospel of St. John
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to St. John

fol. 4r:

  1. W.751, fol. 4r
  2. Title: Incipit page for the Gospel of St. John
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to St. John

fol. 4v:

  1. W.751, fol. 4v
  2. Title: Decorated page
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Continuation of the incipit of the Gospel of St. John

Binding

The binding is not original.

Modern English crushed dark blue morocco by W.H. Smith and Son, first half of the twentieth century; gold tooled outer fillet and lettering, which read "EVANGELIORUM FRAGMENTA MS. SAEC. IX;" inside: wide borders of morocco with triple fillet gold tooled; vellum doublure and flyleaves


Provenance

Written in the Monastery of Corvey on the Weser River in Germany ca. 940-975, during the reign of Otto I, based on style and paleography

Originally part of a Gospel Book belonging to the Chapter Library of the Cathedral of Rheims until the French Revolution, now Ms. 10 in the Rheims Municipal Library

Sir Thomas Phillips, London, ca. 1855 (Ms. 14122), noted on bottom of fol. 1r

A. Chester Beatty, acquired privately from Phillips collection in December, 1920


Acquisition

Walters Art Museum, Oct. 1952, from Mrs. Chester Beatty through Maggs Brothers


Bibliography

Greene, Belle da Costa and Meta P. Harrsen. The Pierpont Morgan Library Exhibition of Illuminated Manuscripts. New York: Private print, 1934, p. 6, no. 11.

Schardt, Alois J. Das Initial: Phantasie und Buchstabenmalerei des frühen Mittelalters. Berlin: Rambrandt-verlag, 1938, pp. 58-61.

Miner, Dorothy E. The New Purple Gospel Manuscript. 5 no. 3. Bulletin of the Walters Art Gallery, 1952, pp. 1, 3-4.

Queens College. The World as Symbol: an Exhibition of Medieval Art. Flushing: Paul Klapper Library, 1959, p. 26, no. 82.

Faye, C. U. and W. H. Bond. Supplement to the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. New York, 1962, pp. 198-199, no. 567.

Wixom, W. "Twelve Masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance Book Illumination: A Catalogue to the Exhibition: March 17 - May 17, 1964." Vol. 51. Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1964, pp. 43-45, no. 1.

Korzus, Bernard. Kunst und Kultur im Weserraum, 800-1600; Ausstellung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen. Vol. 2. Münster in Westfalen, 1966, pp. 477-478, cat. no. 164, fig. 162 (fol. 3v).

Miner, Dorothy. "Since de Ricci - Western Illuminated Manuscripts Acquired since 1934: A Report in Two Parts: Part 1". XXIX-XXX. Journal of the Walters Art Gallery. 1966:68-103.

Calkins, Robert G. A Medieval Treasury: An Exhibition of Medieval Art from the Third to the Sixteenth Century. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University, Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art, 1968, pp. 114-115, no. 23.

Phillipps, Sir Thomas. The Phillipps Manuscripts: Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum in bibliotheca D. Thomae Phillipps, bt. London: Holland Press, 1968, no. 14122.

Randall, Lillian M.C. Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. Baltimore: Walters Art Gallery, 1984, pl. 1.


Contributors

Principal cataloger: Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Cataloger: Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editors: Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William

Copy editor: Bockrath, Diane

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


Publisher

The Walters Art Museum


License

Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.