Gospel Book

Accession number: 
MS M.640
Gospel Book
Northeastern France or Liège, 850-950.
15th-century brown calfskin over wooden boards, with plaited leather secondary endbands sewn through the cover. Evidence of clasps and bosses on both boards, all now missing. Adhesive residue on back pastedown may indicate a former chemise or overcover.
Purchased by J.P. Morgan (1867-1943) in 1919.
195 leaves (1 column, 21 lines), bound : vellum, ill. ; 230 x 200 mm
Perhaps the Benedictine Abbey of St. Lucien in Beauvais (on fol. 6v a marginal note: Gunterius co. omnib. Sangneis suis; it has been suggested in The Utrecht psalter in medieval art that this refers to Guntharius, seventh abbot of St. Lucien); Auguste-Joseph de Monthullé of Beauvais (ca. 1725; inscription on fol. 1: di Montilli ad a Marigny); purchased by Bertram, 4th Earl of Ashburnham from Rodd Jan. 21, 1847 (according to note in the PML files quoting a document found among the Ashburnham family papers describing a register in the East Sussex County Record Office at Lewes); Earl of Ashburnham Collection (appendix, 1861, no. 11); sold in 1897 to H. Yates Thompson (catalogue, 1902, II, pp. 125-126, no. 68); his sale (London, Sotheby's, June 3, 1919, lot 24) to Quaritch for J.P. Morgan (1867-1943).

Ms. Gospel book; written and decorated in northeastern France or Liège, possibly in the monastery of St-Lucien at Beauvais, between 850 and 950.
According to Frederic M. Carey (in a visit to the Morgan Library on July 9, 1934) the first 12 folios are dated to ca. 850, and the remaining folios, written in another hand, to ca. 900.
Musical notation: simple neumes in Gospel passages.
Decoration: 3 full-page (1 unfinished) pen and wash drawings (Evangelist portraits); 4 decorated incipit pages.
The decoration of M.640 is unfinished. 1 pen and wash Evangelist portrait has not been completed.

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