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les Enluminures

Latin Vulgate (volume 2, Psalms-Apocalypse)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
Netherlands (Utrecht), 1463

TM 1015

xxiv (ii, modern paper + xxii blank unnumbered leaves, watermark, D & C Blau and an armorial watermark, not identified in Heawood, 1950 or Churchill, 1935) + 326 + ii (modern paper) on paper, watermarks include a vertical unicorn with dashes on its horn, similar to Piccard online no. 124375, Friedberg 1459, no. 124378, Venloo 1463-4, no. 124379, Arnhem 1466-7, and the Pope, Piccard online no. 21311, Utrecht 1460, and no. 21313, Mechelen 1471, modern pencil foliation 1-327, with one error, 1-287, 289-327, missing at least a quire at the beginning and four leaves with text (collation i12 ii12 [-8, one leaf following f. 19, with loss of text] iii12 [-7, one leaf following f. 29, with loss of text] iv12 v12 [-7, one leaf following f. 52, with loss of text] vi-xvii12 xviii12 [-9, one leaf following f. 209, with loss of text] xix9 [probably a quire of 12 with 10, 11, 12, cancelled blanks] xx-xxvii12 xxviii9 [text is complete, original structure uncertain]), horizontal catchwords lower inner margins, leaf signatures in red Arabic numerals in quire six, frame ruled in lead with all bounding lines full length (justification 210-208 x 155-153 mm.), written by at least two scribes in a cursive gothic bookhand without loops (an informal hybrida script) in two colums of 39 lines (scribe one), and beginning on f. 222 in two columns of 47-42 lines (scribe two), guide letters (and numbers) visible within the initials or in the margins, rubrics underlined in red, running tiles and chapter numbers in red, majuscules within the text stroked with red, two-line alternately red and blue initials, biblical books and most prologues begin with very skillful 4- to 8-line parted red and blue initials, infilled with scrolling leaves, flowers, dogs (ff. 3v, 151v, 184v, 305), a detailed depiction of a man’s head and neck, possibly the scribe(?) (f. 189v), and a bearded man in profile (f. 293) in red on green grounds, with red and blue penwork decoration, occasional stains, for example ff. 120v-121, and dirt, e.g. ff. 269v-270, water stains in the outer margins touching the text from f. 295 to end (which remains legible), single insect hole from f. 249-end, blank second column of f. 327 excised. Bound in eighteenth-century brown leather over pasteboard, rebacked and restored, fore-edges speckled red, spine tooled in gilt with leather label, “Biblia Vulgate/ MSS”18th-century boards, worn at the edges, but in very sound condition. Dimensions 285 x 200 mm.

Signed and dated by its scribe, this Bible can be confidently assigned to the Mariakerk, or St. Mary’s, one of Utrecht’s important chapters of canons.  It is almost an exact contemporary of the famous, richly illuminated Zwolle Bible, which also belonged to St. Mary’s.  In striking contrast to the Zwolle Bible, our Bible is copied on paper and without illumination, its decoration confined to expert penwork initials (one even includes a portrait of a man, who might be the scribe).  Fifteenth-century Bibles are much less common than thirteenth-century examples and are consequently rare on the market.


1. Copied at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary in Utrecht, the Mariakerk, in 1463 by a scribe who identifies himself as “Iohannis de Tremoria” in the colophon to the Old Testament on f. 221v: “Ffintus et ompletes est liber iste per manus Johannis de Tremonia [or Tremoria] scholarium rectoris Ecclesie beate marie traiectensis sub anno domini 1463 Sabbato ante dominicam letare (This book is finished and complete by the hand of John of Temonia rector of the school of the church of blessed Mary of Utrecht in the year of the Lord 1463 on Saturday before Laetare Sunday [that is the fourth or middle Sunday in Lent]).

Johannis de Tremonia was not an uncommon name in the fifteenth century, but we have identified no other references to this Canon from Utrecht. In 1475-1476 a Johannis de Tremonia was the German bedel at the University of Padua (Nuovo, 2013, p. 265 and note 8, citing a lawsuit regarding books sold previously by Johannis when he died in 1480).  The scribe, Johannis de Tremonia, listed in Bénédictins du Bouveret, 1965, vol. 3, no. 11695, was an Augustinian friar, so certainly not our canon. Krämer (Online Resources) lists a Joahnnes de Tremonia who was probably a student in Erfurt in 1464.

The Mariakerk, or St. Mary’s Church, in Utrecht was one of the four original collegiate churches of Utrecht.  Founded in the eleventh century by Bishop Conrad of Utrecht (d. 1099) at the prompting of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, it was built between c. 1085-1108 (the main altar was consecrated in 1099).  St. Mary’s was a collegiate church, that is a chapter of resident secular Canons from wealthy Utrecht families. It was a wealthy foundation that prospered throughout the Middle Ages into the fifteenth century; in 1421 the Romanesque choir was enlarged and rebuilt in a Gothic style.  Utrecht became a Protestant city in 1580, and the Mariakerk gradually declined.  In 1811 the chapter was discontinued and soon after the church was demolished. The church is probably most well-known in the modern world as the subject of drawing and paintings by the artist Pieter Saenredam (1597-1665) who lived in Utrecht in 1636 (Online Resources).

After 1811, the books from the library of the chapter of St. Mary’s moved to the Domein Archief of Utrecht, and then in 1844, to Utrecht University Library, which now houses forty-five manuscripts from their library mostly dating from the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries, although a few are earlier.

2. Belonged to Reverend John Cohen Jackson (c. 1827-95, schoolmaster and antiquarian book collector; his ownership inscription on f. iii, “Sum Liber Iohan. C. Iackson”).

3. Belonged to Matthew Holbeche Bloxam (1805-1888), of Rugby, England, an accomplished antiquarian and architectural historian, who published two volumes and hundreds of articles on Gothic architecture and other topics; he bequeathed his collection of books and manuscripts to the Rugby School library; his ownership inscription dated 1857 on f. iii; front flyleaf f. xxiv, “Manuscript Copy of the Vulgate …, Rugby School Library, The Gift of Matthew Holbeche Bloxam on this 78th Birthday, 12th May 1883”;

4. Bookplate of Arnold Library, Rugby school, inside front cover, where it was Bloxam MS 1007; their library stamp, front fly leaf f. iii, with a brief typed description in English glued in.


Volume 2 of a two-volume Bible, now missing at least a quire with Psalms 1-147 and single leaves after f. 19v with Ecclesiastes 10:4-12 and Song of Songs 1:1-10; after f. 29v with Wisdom 18:16-19 and the beginning of the prologue to Ecclesiasticus; after f. 52v with the conclusion of Ecclesiasticus (part of the Prayer of Salomon) and the prologue and Isaiah 1:1-10; and after f. 209v with 1 Maccabees 16:11-24 , 2 Maccabees 1:1-27.

Old Testament, ff. 1-221v:

f. 1, Psalms, beginning imperfectly in the Canticle of Anna at 1 Kings 2:10, followed by Cantemus domino (Exodus 15:1), Domine audivi (Habakkuk 3:2,), Audite celi (Deuteronomy 32:1), Te Deum, Benedicte omnia (Daniel 3:57), then Psalm 148, Psalms 149-150, written as one, Benedictus (Luke 1:68), Magnificat (Luke 1:46), and Nunc dimittis (Luke 2:29) ; f. 3v, [prologue to Proverbs] Cromatio …, Iungat epistola [Stegmüller 457]; f. 4, Proverbs; f. 16, [prologue to Ecclesiastes] Memini me [Stegmüller 462]; f. 16v, Ecclesiastes, ending imperfectly on f. 19v with Ecclesiastes 10:3; f. 20, Song of Songs beginning imperfectly at 1:11; f. 22 [prologue to Wisdom], Hunc librum [probably Stegmüller 470]; f. 22, Wisdom, ending imperfectly on f. 29v at Wisdom 18:15; f. 30, [biblical introduction to Ecclesiasticus, Multorum nobis, copied as a prologue, beginning imperfectly] //diligencium et laborem …”; f. 30, Ecclesiasticus, ending imperfectly f. 52v in the Prayer of Salomon; f. 53, Isaiah, beginning imperfectly at 1:11; f.  81v, [prologue to Jeremiah] Ieremias propheta [Stegmüller 487]; f. 81v, Ioachim filius [Stegmüller 490]; f. 81v, Ieremias anochotites [sic] [Stegmüller 486]; f. 82, Jeremiah; f. 114, Lamentations; f. 116v, Baruch; f. 120v, [prologue to Ezechiel] Et Ezechiel propheta [Stegmüller 492, with a few textual variants]; f. 121, Ezechiel; f. 150v, [prologue to Daniel] Danielem prophetam [Stegmüller 494]; f. 151v, Daniel; f. 163v, [prologue to Minor prophets] Non idem ordo est [Stegmüller 500]; f. 163v, [prologue to Hosea] Duplex apud hebraeos [Stegmüller 504]; f. 163v, [prologue to Hosea] Temporibus ozie [Stegmüller 507]; f. 164, Hosea; f. 168, [prologue to Joel] Sanctus ioel [Stegmüller 511]; f. 168, [prologue] Ioel filius phatuel filius [Stegmüller 510]; f. 168v, Joel; f. 170, [prologue to Amos] Ozias rex [Stegmüller 515]; f. 170, [prologue] Amos propheta [Stegmüller 512]; f. 170, [prologue] Hic amos [Stegmüller 513]; f. 171, Amos; f. 173v, [prologue Obadiah] Iacob patriarcha; Hebrei [Stegmüller 519 and 517 copied as one prologue]; f. 173v, Obadiah; f. 174, [prologue to Jonah] Sanctum ionam [Stegmüller 524, apparently with Stegmüller 521 copied at the end with no division]; f. 174v, Jonah; f. 175v, [prologue Micah] Temporibus ioathe [Stegmüller 526]; f. 176, Micah; f. 178, [prologue to Nahum] Naum prophetam [Stegmüller 528]; f. 178v, Nahum; f. 179v, [prologue to Habakkuk] Quatuor prophete [Stegmüller 531]; f. 180v , Habbakuk; f. 181v, [prologue to Zephaniah] Tradunt hebrei [Stegmüller 534]; f. 182, Zephaniah; f. 183, [prologue to Haggai] Iheremias propheta [Stegmüller 538]; f. 183v, Haggai; f. 184v, [prologue to Zechariah] Anno secundo [Stegmüller 539]; f. 185, Zechariah; f. 189v, [prologue to Malachi] Deus per moysen [Stegmüller 543]; f. 190, Malachi; f. 191, [prologue to Maccabees] Domino excellentisimo …,  Cum sim promptus [Stegmüller 547]; f. 191v, [prologue] Reuerentissimo …, Memini me [Stegmüller 553]; f. 192, [prologue] Machabeorum librum duo [Stegmüller 551]; f. 192, 1 Maccabees, ending imperfectly on f. 209v at ch. 16:10: ; f. 210, 2 Maccabees, beginning imperfectly at 1:28, and concluding, f. 221v, “Ffintus et completus est liber iste per manus Johannis de Tremonia [or Tremoria] scholarium rectoris Ecclesie beate marie traiectensis sub anno domini 1463 Sabbato ante dominicam letare”;

ff. 222-327, New Testament:

f. 222, [prologue to Matthew] Matheus ex iudea [Stegmüller 590]; f. 222, Matthew; f. 234v, [prologue to Mark] Marcus evangelista [Stegmüller  607];  f. 234v, Mark; f. 242v, [prologue to Luke] Lucas syrus natione [Stegmüller 620]; f. 242v, Quoniam quidem [Luke 1:1-4 treated as a prologue]; f. 243, Luke ; f. 257, [prologue to John] Hic est Iohannes [Stegmüller 624] ; f. 257, John; f. 267, Romans; f. 272v, 1 Corinthians; f. 278, [prologue to 2 Corinthians] Post actam [Stegmüller 699]; f. 278, 2 Corinthians; f. 281v, [prologue to Galatians] Galathe sunt greci [Stegmüller 707]; f. 281v, Galatians; f.  283v, [prologue to Ephesians] Ephesii sunt asiani [Stegmüller 715]; f. 283v, Ephesians; f. 285, [prologue to Philippians] Philippenses sunt macedones [Stegmüller 728]; f. 285, Philippians; f. 286v, [prologue to Colossians] Colosenses et hii [Stegmüller 736]; f. 286v, Colossians; f. 288v, [prologue to 1 Thessalonians] Thessalonicenses sunt macedones [Stegmüller 747]; f. 288v, 1 Thessalonians; f. 290, [prologue to 2 Thessalonians] Ad thessalonicenses [Stegmüller 752]; f. 290, 2 Thessalonians; f. 290v, [prologue to 1 Timothy] Tymotheum instruit [Stegmüller 765]; f. 290v, 1 Timothy; f. 292, [prologue to 2 Timothy] Item Tymotheo scribit [Stegmüller 772]; f. 292, 2 Timothy; f. 293, [prologue to Titus] Tytum commonefacit [Stegmüller 780]; f. 293, Titus; f. 293v, [prologue to Philemon] Philemoni familiares [Stegmüller 783]; f. 294, Philemon; f. 294, [prologue to Hebrews] In primis dicendum [Stegmüller 793] ; f. 294, Hebrews; f. 298v, [prologue to Catholic Epistles] Non ita ordo est [Stegmüller 809]; f. 298v, James; f. 300, 1 Peter; f. 301v, 2 Peter; f. 302v, 1 John; f. 304, 2 John; f. 304, 3 John;  f. 304v, Jude; f. 305, [prologue to Acts] Lucas antiocenses natione syrus [Stegmüller 640]; f. 305, Acts; f. 320, Apocalypse [concluding f. 327 near top of col. a; remainder and f. 327v, blank].

The fifteenth century saw the revival of large format “lectern” Bibles.  There is currently no detailed study of this important phenomenon, nor is there a complete census of the surviving manuscripts.  Selected examples of large fifteenth-century Bibles from the Netherlands include Keble College Oxford, MS 67-68 (de Hamel, 2011, no. 31, with plate; Parkes, 1979, pp. 294-297); London, British Library, MS Royal 1 C V and 1 C VI, a large two-volume Bible copied in 1451 by the Brethren of the Common Life at Zwolle (this house produced many volumes on commission, as will be discussed further below); and the Vulgate once owned by William Morris (formerly Los Angeles, Getty Museum, MS Ludwig I.12, Getty Museum; now Museum of the Bible), copied at Hattem c. 1420-1430 for the Brethren of the Common Life (see Nishimura, 2000, no. 5). 

Our Bible is one of two fifteenth-century Bible from the chapter of St. Mary’s in Utrecht.  Herman Droem (d. 1476), dean of the chapter, is known to have commissioned two Bibles.  The first, destined for use at St. Mary’s, is the famous Zwolle bible, a massive, illuminated Bible in six volumes with more than 1700 folios, measuring c. 530 x 390 mm. (Utrecht, University Library, MS 31; Horst, 1989, cat. 76, plate O, figs. 376-413; Marrow, 1989, cat. 84, pp. 244-247).  It was copied by Jacobus van Enckhuysen, librarian of the Brethren of the Common Life in Zwolle, where it was probably also illuminated, from 1464-1476.  The Brethren’s House earned the appreciable amount of fifty gold guilders for this project.  The dean also commissioned a second Bible, in this case for an unknown institution; this one is in seven volumes, and is also very large, measuring c. 520 x 380 mm. (now Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, MS 4212-4218; Marrow, 1989, cat. 72, pp. 219-222).

Textually, very few fifteenth-century Bibles have been the subject of scholarly examination.  The fact that the Bible described here is the second of a two-volume Bible also makes commenting on its text more difficult (comparison with readings from the Octateuch in Quentin, 1922, is obviously impossible).  However, it is very interesting that in terms of the order of the biblical books and choice of prologues, it is not related to the Bibles copied for the Windesheim congregation (as represented by Darmstadt, Hessische Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek, MS 324, copied by Thomas a Kempis in Zwolle at Angietenberg between 1427 and 1439; see also Greitemann, 1937).  The text of the Zwolle Bible which was to find a home at the chapter of St. Mary’s after its completion in 1476 does follow this Windesheim revision (Marrow, 1989, p. 246).

The text of our Bible in contrast seems to be closer to the thirteenth-century biblical recension known as the Paris Bible. The biblical books in our Bible are divided according to the chapters still in use today (a thirteenth-century innovation), and there are no chapter lists (a feature of Bibles dating before the thirteenth century that was revived in some fifteenth-century Bibles).  The order of the biblical books is the same as the order found in the Paris Bible and some influence of the Paris Bible is evident in the choice of prologues as well; note in particular the presence these prologues:  Ecclesiastes (Stegmüller 462), Amos (Stegmüller 513), and Maccabees (Stegmüller 547 and 553). The prologues here are not, however, identical to those found circulating in the Paris Bible, some prologues are omitted, and there are prologues to Wisdom and Jeremiah in this Bible that are not found in Paris Bibles.  

It is fascinating to compare our Bible with the chapter’s lavishly illuminated Zwolle Bible.  Our Bible was in most ways a more practical book – it is large, but not cumbersomely so, and originally in two volumes (so much easier to use than a huge six volume Bible); copied on paper, in a very legible script, and decorated with penwork initials, it seems an appropriate Bible for study and personal devotion, in contrast with the public use of the Zwolle Bible.


Bénédictins du Bouveret. Colophons de manuscrits occidentaux des origines au xvi siècle, Spicilegii friburgensis subsidia 2-7, Fribourg, 1965-1982.

Bruyne, Donatien de. Summaries, divisions and rubrics of the Latin Bible, Studia traditionis theologiae 18, Turnhout, 2014 [Originally published as: Sommaires, divisions et rubriques de la Bible latine, Namur, 1914].

Churchill, W. Watermarks in Paper in Holland, England, France, etc. in the XVII and XVIII Centuries and Their Interconnection, Amsterdam, 1935.

De Hamel, Christopher.  Bibles: An Illustrated History from Papyrus to Print. Oxford, 2011.

De Hamel, Christopher. The Book: A History of the Bible, London and New York, 2001.

Gerritsen-Geywitz, G. Het Utrechtse draakje en zijn entourage : Vijftien penwerkstijlen in Utrechtse handschriften en gedrukte boeken uit de tweede helft van de vijftiende eeuw, Middeleeuwse studies en bronnen 168, Hilversum, 2017.

Greitmann, N. De windesheimische vulgaatrevisie in de vijftiende eeuw, Hilversum, 1937.

Groot, Arie de. “Pieter Saenredam’s Views of Utrecht Churches and the Question of their Reliability,” in Pieter Saenredam, the Utrecht work: Paintings and Drawings by the 17th-century Master of Perspective, ed. Liesbeth Helmus, Los Angeles, 2002, pp. 17-50.

Haverkate, H. and C. Peet. Een kerk van papier : De geschiedenis van de voormalige Mariakerk te Utrecht, Clavis kleine kunsthistorische monografieën 2, Zutphen, 1985.

Heawood, E.  Watermarks, Mainly of the 17th and 18th Centuries, Monumenta chartæ papyraceæ historiam illustrantia 1), Hilversum, Holland, 1950.

Horst, K. Illuminated and decorated medieval manuscripts in the University Library, Utrecht: An illustrated catalogue, Cambridge and New York, 1989.

Ker, N. R. and A. J. Piper.  Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, vol. 4, Paisley-York, Oxford, 1992, pp. 221-222 (MS Bloxam 1007).

Marrow, James, Henri Defoer, Anne Korteweg, Wilhelmina Wüstefeld. The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Painting, English edition, Stuttgart, 1989.

Nishimura, Margot McIlwain. Important Illuminated manuscripts, Bruce Ferrini and Les Enluminures, Akron, Ohio and Paris, 2000.

Nuovo, Angela.  The Book Trade in the Italian Renaissance, trans. Lydia Cochrane, Leiden and Boston, 2013.

Parkes, Malcolm. The Medieval Manuscripts of Keble College, Oxford: A Descriptive Catalogue with Summary Descriptions of the Greek and Oriental Manuscripts, London, 1979.

Quentin, Henri. Mémoire sur l'établissement du texte de la Vulgate, Collectanea biblica latina 6, Rome, 1922.

Online Resources

The Hague, Mauritshuis, Pieter Saenredam, “The Mariaplaats with the Mariakerk in Utrecht, 1659”


Utrecht, Mariakerk (liturgical manuscripts)

 “Traces of Use in a Twelfth-century Collectarius [from St. Mary’s Utrecht]”

Repertorium biblicum medii aevi (digital version of Stegmüller)

TM 1015