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New Testament


Arnoldinus; scribe
; production


Frank McClean


illuminated manuscript


other; type of text


early 13th Century


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i modern parchment flyleaf + 308 fols., 153 x 88 mm (fols. 1r-294v 114 x 55 mm, fols. 294v-303r 115 x 70 mm), one column (except fol. 66r-66v, two columns), 33 lines, written above top line, ruled in plummet, catchwords, running headers

BINDING: twentieth century, dark brown leather over wooden boards.

fols. 1r-294v New Testament
fol. 294v Colophon and list of historical events related to the area around Lodi dating 1111-1200
fols. 295r-302v Epistles and Gospels for the year
fols. 302v-303r Paschal tables, Easter memorial verse and colophon with 1204 as the date of completion
fols. 303v-306r Calendar
fols. 306v-308r Rubricated list of passages to be used to counter Leonist heretics
fol. 308v Hymn to the Blessed Virgin, O regina gloriosa

DECORATION: Historiated initial on gold ground: fol. 208r Rom, [P, 24 ll.] Bust of St Paul blessing.

Three marginal drawings in red penwork: fol. 143 dog; fol. 167v beast; fol. 170v man's head.

ORNAMENTATION: Twenty-seven ornamental initials [9 - 31 ll.] in green, blue, orange, red, pink, beige and turquoise with white, set on gold grounds and surrounded by gold frames, often hollow-shafted with interlaced bands, stylised foliage and abstract designs, many inhabited by hybrids and beasts, incorporating grotesques, monsters and human heads, for books; the first words of each book in blue display capital letters [2 – 8 ll.] with red flourishing; alternate red and blue initials [2 – 3 ll.], and occasionally silver ones (e.g. fols. 134v, 136v), with stylised foliate extensions for chapters; header initials in calendar in green and blue; alternate red and blue one-line penwork initials in margins for historical events (fol. 294v); penwork vertical line with restrained foliate and geometric decoration in lower margin at start and end of books, rubricated running headers (fols. 1r – 294v); rubricated incipits, explicits and first scribal inscription (fol. 294v), second scribal inscription in red, blue and black ink (fol. 303r); historical events in red and brown ink.Testament. The scribe Arnoldinus recorded the completion of the manuscript in the colophon on fol. 294v, and it may have been him who also recorded the date of completion in 1204 on fol. 303r.

Place (legacy):

Italy, production, region
Lombardy, region
Lodi, place


illumination; whole


parchment; support
ink; medium
pigment; medium
gold; medium




bequeathed; 1904; McClean, Frank


Completed in Lodi in 1204, as revealed by the two colophons, the first one giving the name of the scribe Arnoldinus: Finito libro arnoldinus pede saltat in uno. Benedicamus domino deo gratias. Ad honorem dei et beatissime ecclesie Iohannes serrabula fecit curiose Istud opus fieri late studiose (fol. 294v), and followed by a list of events related to Lodi and dating between 1111 and 1200 written by the original scribe (fol. 294v), the second providing the date of completion in 1204: Anno domini cc millesimo ducenteximo quarto idus apriles incepit fieri hic liber et quarto anno trasiacto Iohannos positus fuit huic facto (fol. 303r); cutting from a nineteenth-century bookseller's catalogue with no. 96 and price £75 pasted inside upper cover; London, Sotheby's, 20-21 June 1860, lot 246; Bertram Fourth Earl of Ashburnham (1797-1878), his collection, Appendix no. VIII, (his bookplate inside upper cover); London, Sotheby's May 1899, lot 5; Frank McClean (1837-1904); his bequest, 1904.


McClean, Frank; previous owner
Bertram, fourth earl of Ashburnham (1797 – 1878); previous owner


It is relatively unusual to have the New Testament in a volume separate from the rest of the Bible, but in Italy in the first half of the thirteenth century many such books were made, above all in the Veneto, particularly in Verona (Eleen 1987). Some of the Veronese examples have much figure illustration as well as ornamental initials (e.g. Vatican, BAV, MS Vat. lat. 39). Others such as Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.13.16 (cat. XXX) have only simple penwork initials. New Testaments were also made in Lombardi where this Bible was written, probably in Lodi, to the east of Milan. The Calendar contains saints associated with the cities of Lombardy, particularly Brescia to the north-east of Lodi: Faustinus and Jovita (15 Feb., Brescia); Calocerus the bishop (17 Apr., Brescia); Cyprian the bishop (20 Apr., Brescia); Paul the bishop (29 Apr., Brescia); Translation of Syrus (17 May, Pavia); Julia (22 May, Brescia); Alexander (26 Aug., Brescia); Domninus (9 Oct., Parma); Gaudentius (25 Oct., Brescia); Antoninus (13 Nov., Piacenza). Although no patron saints are recorded, the annalist entries (fol. 294v) point to an origin from Lodi, for which such a calendar would be appropriate. The pictorial decoration shows strong French influence, in particular of book illumination from the Île de France and Champagne of the last quarter of the twelfth century; this links this New Testament to other northern Italian manuscripts from the first half of the thirteenth century, such as Paris, BnF, MSS lat. 90, nouv. acq. lat. 3099, and lat. 10430 (Avril, Gousset and Rabel 1984, nos. 56, 59, 60). Characteristic are the soft, octopus-like leaves and the small white dog-like creatures, which derive from Northern French models and inhabit many of the initials of the McClean manuscript. They and the highly decorative display script have their counterparts in the cited manuscripts in Paris, BnF. Of significance for the ownership and use of this New Testament is the inclusion of the list of passages on fols. 306v-308r to be used to counter Leonist heretics. After the Leonists (Waldensians or the Poor of Lyon) were evicted from Lyon in 1182-1183, many of them fled to Lombardy and settled there. In 1184 they were condemned as heretics by Pope Lucius III at the Council of Verona; this was confirmed by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 (Wakefield and Evans 1969, 33-34, 50-53). Eleen has suggested that these New Testaments may have been favoured by members of lay penitential confraternities who maintained orthodox beliefs in opposition to the heretics. As the Waldensians emphasised the reading of Scripture, those who opposed them needed to assert the scriptural basis of orthodox doctrine, making particular use of the New Testament. The scribe Arnoldinus recorded the completion of the manuscript in the colophon on fol. 294v, and it may have been him who also recorded the date of completion in 1204 on fol. 303r..


secundo folio; stelle que apparuit eis


James, Montague Rhodes, Dr. 1912. A descriptive catalogue of the McClean Collection of Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press
pp. 45-48, pl. XVI

Robinson, P. R.. 1988. Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 737 - 1600 in Cambridge Libraries.Cambridge (Cambs.):
p. 70, no. 215, pl. 100

Baroffio, G.. 1999. Iter Liturgicum Italicum.Padua: p. 42

Thomson, H.. 1969. Latin Bookhands of the Later Middle Ages 1100-1500.
pl. 61

Balberghe, E. van. 1971. Un album paléographique de manuscrits datés.
Source Title: Scriptorium 25 ()
p. 308

Eleen, L.. 1987. New Testament Manuscripts and Their Lay Owners in Verona in the Thirteenth Century.
Source Title: Scriptorium 41 () : 221-36

pp. 229, 231, 235


MS McClean 24(f131v)
MS McClean 24(f150r)
MS McClean 24(f198v)
MS McClean 24(f208r)


Object Number: MS McClean 24
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 118829; input: 2005-05-31; modified: 2015-08-17)


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