|Manuscript Title:|| ||Apocalypsis etc|
|| ||Life of St John; Apocalypse; Life of Edward the Confessor
|Physical Description:|| ||Double columns, usually half-pages of 17 lines.|
|Provenance:|| ||Probably from Westminster: at the end are pictures of the life of St Edward the Confessor.|
|| ||Westminster, Middlesex, Benedictine Abbey
|Donor:|| ||Given by Whitgift. In the list of his MSS. in R.17.8, two apocalypses are noted.|
|Collation:|| || a12 b8 c6 d8 e8 f? (2 left).|
I. f.1 The Apocalypse preceded by a Life of St John
Latin text in black, gloss in red: illuminated with half-page pictures, rather poorly drawn but well coloured: grounds left uncoloured.
The first quire is perhaps lost. The text begins with a letter from the proconsul of Ephesus to Domitian accusing St John.
Piissimo cesari et semper augusto
-secundum imperiale preceptum sibi assumeret iudicium.
f.1b. Tunc proconsul secundum imperiale preceptum
-et uidit et scripsit.
f.2. Domicianus eodem anno
-christum ante mariam non fuisse.
f.2b. Dictus apostolus precantibus
-et deus erat uerbum.
f.3. Incipit textus uisionis prime apocalipsis beati Iohannis apostoli
Gloss. Tempus uidelicet iudicii. Nam si tempus ab aduentu domini etc.
Ends f.38b. Text. et de ciuitate sancta et de hiis que scripta sunt (the rest supplied in margin in cent. xv).
Gloss ends quia ex eius progenie processit secundum carnem.
II. Pictures (xv early) of the Life of St Edward the Confessor: the main colours are green, brown, two reds, and gold: but much is in plain outline.
The illustrations in the volume are as follows:
I. 1. John before Domitian.
2. John in the caldron of oil, the fire heated by men with tube and bellows.
3. John in a boat (sent to Patmos): man with winged helmet.
4. A similar picture: John landed on Patmos.
5. John on Patmos, with angel.
6. He writes, and looks at seven angels in seven castles (churches).
7. He adores Christ.
8. Christ in mandorla: the four beasts: the Elders: the seven lamps.
9. Angel with scroll. An Elder pulls John's robe.
10. Christ in vesica. The Elders cast down their crowns.
11. The Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes.
12. The Lamb opens the book.
13-16. John sees the four horses and their riders. In each one of the beasts appears.
17. The souls under the altar.
18. The sixth seal.
19. Angels on the four corners of the lozenge-shaped earth.
10. The great multitude of Rev. vii.
21. The Trumpets given to the Angels.
22. The censer cast into the earth.
23-26. The first four trumpets.
27. The eagle flying in the heaven.
28. The fifth Trumpet.
29. The Locusts: they have maidens' heads and horses' bodies.
30. The sixth Trumpet.
31. The horsemen, mailed.
32. The Angel of Rev. x., not of unusual form.
33, 34. John is told to take the book, and takes it.
35. He measures the Temple.
36. The Two Witnesses preach.
37. They are killed.
38. Men rejoice over them.
39. They ascend.
40. Seventh Trumpet. Christ adored.
41. The Temple open. Hail.
42. The woman clothed with the sun.
43,44. The fight with the Dragon.
45. Wings given to the woman.
46. The Dragon casts out a flood.
47. The beast slays the saints.
48. Men worship the beast.
49. The Lamb on Mount Sion.
50. Elders, or Saints. Christ in the sky.
51. Virgins. The Lamb on Sion.
52. An angel flying in the heaven.
53. Babylon falls.
54. The Lamb. Altar, rayed, with chalice. Angels.
55. Beati mortui. The blessed dying in bed, their souls received by angels.
56. Angel reaping.
57. Angel gathering grapes: Devils in the grape-juice.
58. Seven angels in heaven.
59. Harpers standing on glassy sea with flames in it.
60. The Lion gives vials to the Angels.
61-3. The first three Vials. 64. The Fourth: Angel at altar.
65. The Vial (4th) poured into the Sun.
66. The Fifth: men gnaw their tongues.
67. The Sixth poured on Euphrates.
68. The three Frogs.
69. The host coming up: fire is cast on them.
70. The beast put into the pit.
71. The dead, nude, with open books before God.
72. The new Jerusalem.
73. John is led to see it by an angel with a vial.
74. The river of Life flowing from the mandorla, and the trees of Life.
75. John forbidden to worship the Angel.
76. He adores Christ: an Angel flies downwards with a crown.
In these pictures, John is often, but not always, bearded: in several cases he stands outside the picture.
II. The Life of St Edward the Confessor.
These pictures closely resemble the sculptures on the cornice of the screen in Westminster Abbey, which are figured in Carter's Ancient Sculpture and Painting, I. pp.5, 9, 17, 19, 27.
f.39a. 1. King in bed with hands joined: a Bishop reads from a book held open by an attendant, a queen and four others stand at the foot of the bed.
2. A Queen facing L., followed by a Bishop and others, is met by an Archbishop with crosier, and Deacon. (The ordeal of Queen Emma. Carter p.5.)
f.39b. 3. Birth of Edward. The Queen sits up. At the foot of the bed a bearded man, a nurse, and a child. (Carter ibid.)
4. Edward with sceptre and crown throned between two Bishops: a crowd between each. (Carter ibid.)
f.40a. 5. Edward and a crowd: a small man in front of three casks from which gold pours out. The devil sits on the top, shaggy and horned, holding an iron hook. (The casks contained the Danegeld. Carter p.9.)
6. Edward in bed speaks. A man kneels at the foot and takes a bag out of a chest. (Edward spares the thief. Carter ibid.)
f.40b. 7. Attendants. Edward kneels facing R. A Priest at the altar celebrates. (Carter ibid.)
8. A ship full of armed men: a boat attached to it: anchor out. A king falls headlong into the sea. (The King of Denmark's death. Carter p.19.)
f.41a. 9. Four attendants: Edward carries on his back a crook-legged cripple whose trestle-shaped crutches fall to the ground. They are met by a priest before an altar over which hangs a triple crown of gold.
10. A feast. Edward full-face: two seated on each side. He has a scroll. The man on R. starts back. At this side of the table are two cupbearers and another who kneels and catches the legs of the startled man under the table. (Harold and Tostig quarrelling. Carter p.17.)
f.41b. 11. Five attendants: Edward with scroll faces R. A Priest celebrating at the altar holds up the Christ-child nude by the legs over the chalice. The Child is blessing.
12. A feast. Edward between Queen and Bishop on R.: two on L. (He laughs?)
f.42a. 13. A Bishop and two others on horseback at the foot of a green bed with seven men on it. (They visit the seven sleepers. Carter ibid.)
14. Two attendants: a Bishop: a church on R. Edward gives a ring to a pilgrim with curly hair and staff (St John). (Carter pp.19, 20.)
f.42b. 15. Edward sits: a kneeling youth with jewel on forehead pours water on his hands and holds a vessel below them. Another carries a similar vessel to a crowd of people who stand pointing to their eyes: four have open eyes, three closed (the water cures them). (Carter ibid.)
16. A feast. Bishop on L. of King: two others on R.: two servants. On L. enter two pilgrims in shaggy robes: one gives the ring (see no.14) to Edward. (Carter ibid.)
f.43a. 17. Edward in bed (head to R.) eyes closed, four candles about him. Queen and attendant with joined hands at the foot. An Archbishop reading, a Bishop censing at the head. Two clerks. (Death of Edward.)
18. The young king (Harold) cross-legged on throne. Three Bishops, one reads, one has scroll. Four clerks. An ornamented shrine.
f.43b. 19. Two men talking: a King, Archbishop, and crossbearer. They kneel, and the two first lay their hands on the roof of the shrine. A Bishop with crosier and scroll stands at one end.
20. St Peter with his keys stands on the river bank. An old fisherman in a boat gives him a hand to help him aboard.
f.44a. 21. St Peter talks to the fisherman, who sculls him (to Thorney Island).
22. A great church with central spire. Behind the battlements stand four angels. Below from L. are (1) Angel with candlestick, (2) Angel with incense-ship, (3) St Peter as pope with asperge or spoon, (4) holy water vessel, (5) Angel with brush and coped box, (6) Angel with open book, (7) Angel with candlestick. (This is what the fisherman saw on Thorney Island. Carter p.27.)
The end window is of later Decorated type: a rose window above it.
f.44b. 23. St Peter and the fisherman in the boat pull up a net with two fish of which Peter takes out one.
24. The fisherman brings a fish to the Bishop: three men behind. In the centre is an 'Eleanor' cross on four steps, with three statues in its lower stage.
The end of the series of sculptures at Westminster is imperfect. Both in selection and in composition the pictures in our MS. are so closely related to the sculptures that the latter might well be supposed to have been adapted from them.
Ker, N. R., Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 3, 2nd edn (London, 1964), Westminster.
Keynes, S., Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts and Other Items of Related Interest in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, Old English Newsletter Subsidia 18 (Binghampton, NY, 1992), no. 31 + pl. XXXI.
Morgan, N., Early Gothic Manuscripts II: 1250-1285, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles 4.2 (London, 1988), pp. 99, 142-3.
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