UCB Libraries


Past Exhibit


Medieval Treasures


Manuscript of St. Eustace
MS 315 : Martyrdom of St. Eustace.
Book of Hours, Netherlands, c. 1435


Books & Manuscripts from the 9th to the 15th Centuries



Case 1:


Two mid 13th century pocket bibles (MS 299, MS 300). Both were probably produced in Paris. Both have programs of miniatures of a high quality. Between them is a 15th century fragment from a Book of Hours (MS 315); all that survives of what was once clearly an elaborately decorated manuscript.


Case 2: Fragments


Medieval manuscripts were frequently dismembered by later generations, often by those anxious to extract choice decoration (as in the examples here).

Initial "P" cut from a Peter Lombard manuscript. Paris, c. 1230-1240. (MS 321)


Historiated initial "Q". Part of a Bible leaf (Psalm 51 with commentary). Paris, early 13th century. (MS 309)

Historiated initial "F". Part of a Bible leaf (from Jerome's Preface). France, c. 1240. (MS 325)


Historiated initial, perhaps an "F". Paris, c. 1210-1220. (MS 316)


Half of a leaf from the Bible preserving a large historiated "I" at the beginning of the Book of Ruth. Paris, 13th century. (On loan from the Department of Fine Arts, FA 91.1.1.P)

Case 3: Scribes and Scripts


Examples of writing from the 9th to the 15th centuries, including the work of two identifiable scribes.

Leaf from a Psalter copied by the Florentine scribe, Bartolomeo Sanvito. Italy, c. 1485. (Hayes MS 1)

Leaf from a Book of Hours copied by the Florentine scribe, Pietro Ursuleo. Like Sanvito, he was a prolific copyist. Italy, late 15th century. (Hayes MS 8)


The earliest manuscript in the Colorado collection. From a Gospel Book. France or Germany, 9th century. (MS 355)


An English private letter, written in French, concerning the manor of Whetlaw, Northumberland. Late 14th or early 15th century. (MS 348)

Case 4: A 13th Century Paris Bible


These leaves all come from the same manuscript. Collectively they give some sense of the quality of Parisian book production in this period.

(MS 284)

(MS 285)

(MS 291)

(MS 319)

(On loan from the Department of Fine Arts, FA 86.1911.P)

(Generously loaned by Amy Vandersall)

Case 5: Historiated Initials


The historiated initial is a distinctive illustrative aspect of the medieval book. All these are from Bible leaves, two of them (MS 317-8) from the same manuscript.

Job on the dung heap (from the beginning of the Book of Job). Paris, c. 1220-1230. (MS 317)

Entwined dragons (from the beginning of the Book of Daniel). Paris, c. 1220-1230. (MS 318)


Seated figure holding scroll (from the beginning of the Book of Baruch). France? 13th century? (MS 287)


Solomon instructing Rehoboam (from the beginning of the Book of Proverbs).Paris, c. 1250-1275. (MS 320)


Case 6: Decorated Borders


The decorated border is another distinctive illustrative aspect of the medieval book. The majority of these are from Books of Hours. After the Bible, these were the most widely circulating books of the Middle Ages.

Book of Hours. France? 15th century. (Hayes MS 6)

Book of Hours. Netherlands? Second half of the 15th century. (Hayes MS 3)


Book of Hours. France, c. 1420. (Hayes MS 7)


Two leaves from different Psalters. End of the 13th century. (Hayes MS 14)

Case 7: Classical and Popular Works


The Colorado holdings include a range of medieval texts; these include classical works by Terence, Virgil and Livy, as well as popular works by Gregory the Great, Petrus Rigs and Aquinas.

Terence's Comedies. Florence, mid 15th century. (Hayes MS 9)

Virgil's Aeneid. Italy? c. 1350? (Hayes MS 12)


Livy's History of Rome. Italy, mid 15th century. (Ege 39)


Gregory the Great's Dialogues. France, late 15th century. (Ege 41)


Petrus Riga's Aurora. England, early 13th century. (Ege 7)


Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on the Sentences. Italy, late 15th century. (Ege 40)

Case 8:

Leaf from a large Bible with an historiated initial "L". Northern France? Early 12th century. (MS 314)

Book of Hours. France? England? Late 15th century. (MS 322)


Horace's Odes. Florence, 1476. (MS 344)

Case 9:

Bible leaf. Oxford, mid 13th century. (Ege 13)

Bible leaf. Cambridge, early 13th century. (Ege 6)


Italian Bible commentary. Tuscany, c. 1350-1400. (MS 102)

Case 10:

Leaf from a Glossed Psalter. Northern France, c. 1175. (Hayes 134)

Lectionary. Italy, mid 12th century. (Ege 3)

Case 11:

Bible. France, late 13th century. (Ege 14)

Bible. Italy, late 13th century. (MS 328)


Book of Hours. France, late 15th century. (MS 313)