Illuminated New Testament in Latin

Collection ID





ca. 1215


Verona, (Italy)




Ink on Vellum


244 leaves; 7.6 × 4.5 in. (19.3 × 11.5 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

Complete copies of the New Testament in a small format did not begin to appear in Europe until the late 12th century. At that time, scribes in northern Italy and France first produced volumes such as this one. Since a complete New Testament does not have an obvious liturgical use, some scholars have linked these volumes to lay confraternities. This volume contains a beautiful full-page illumination of the crucifixion, with the symbols of the four evangelists appearing in roundels at the corners. The faces of Peter and Paul also peer out from initials at the beginning of their epistles.

Created around 1215 in Verona, Italy. Probably used by lay people and members of a confraternity.[1] Acquired by Erwin Rosenthal (1889–1981), bookseller, Zürich until 1942; Privately purchased in 1942 by James P.R. Lyell (1871–1949), private book collector, England;[2] Privately purchased in 1952 by Bernard Quaritch, Ltd, bookseller, London;[3] Privately purchased in 1952 by Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence (1887–1965), private collector, Yorkshire, England; Deposited in 1965 in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until 1984.[4] Privately purchased in 1984 by Quaritch; Privately purchased in 1985 by Laurence C. Witten II, private collector, Connecticut until 1989; Purchased at auction in 1989 by Martin Schøyen, bookseller, Norway;[5] Privately purchased in the 2000s by Jörn Günther, bookseller, Switzerland;[6] Privately purchased in 2012 by the Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2014 to the Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Manuscripts containing the entire New Testament first appeared at the end of the 12th century and were produced primarily in the region between France and northern Italy. They had no obvious liturgical function, but rather were used by laypeople outside of a formal worship setting. This manuscript shares similar handwriting styles (e.g. a unique “e” and “c” using a double stroke in contrasting color) with other items produced in Verona during this same period. [2] This was manuscript no. 49 in Lyell’s collection. Lyell left many items in his collection to the Bodleian library in Oxford. The rest were purchased by Quaritch. [3] Quaritch catalogue no. 699 (1952). [4] See Phyllis M. Giles, “A Handlist of the Bradfer-Lawrence Manuscripts Deposited on Loan at the Fitzwilliam Museum,” Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 6.2 (1973), 90. [5] Sotheby’s, London, December 5, 1989, Lot 76. This item became ms. 606 in the Schøyen collection. [6] See Jörn Günther Rare Books, Catalogue 10, Pagina Sacra (Sarnen, Switzerland: Abächerli Druck, 2011), 54–56.

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