These full scale colour plates will come as a revelation to most viewers. Thomson has provided an excellent introduction... both the reproductions and the text do full justice to this hitherto undervalued monument of English art and it is much to be hoped that it will be acquired by librarians as well as by bibliophiles. BURLINGTON MAGAZINE [C.M.Kauffmann]
The Bury Bible (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 2) is one of the capital monuments of Romanesque art. Produced at the abbey of Bury St Edmunds in about 1135, its importance was such that the abbey chronicler recorded its commissioning: 'Hervey, the sacrist, commissioned a large Bible for his brother the Prior and had it beautifully illuminated by Master Hugh'. Parchment was specially bought from Scotland for the illuminations. There were originally two volumes; the Old Testament survives, and, with 357 leaves, a format of 514 x 355mm, six full page miniatures, three historiated initials and thirty nine decorated initials, it is an imposing volume. It belongs to a small group of English twelfth-century Bibles of outstanding quality, which includes the Lambeth and Winchester Bibles. It is arguable that Master Hugh was the greatest artist of all those who worked on these books, working in a tradition developed at St Albans abbey and yet a great innovator, bringing a more naturalistic approach.
This facsimile, at just under full size, affords the opportunity to appreciate some of the masterpieces of English romanesque painting. All the illuminations are reproduced in colour, from photographs specially taken by the HUMI project of the University of Keio. Professor Thomson provides a full discussion of the manuscript's production and its place among English manuscripts and art, together with photographs of comparable material.
R.M. THOMSON is Emeritus Professor of History, University of Tasmania.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 102
Weight: 666 g
Dimensions: 510 x 350 x 15 mm