Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace

Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace

London (United Kindgom) — 1260–1270

Possibly created for a woman: magnificent miniatures on a golden background and vivid pen drawings for the Book of Revelation

  1. This Apocalypse distinguishes itself through its combination of splendid miniatures and pen drawings

  2. 112 pages illustrated with 78 full-page miniatures on a gold background and 28 forceful pen drawings

  3. Artistic clues point to a female recipient, likely the wife or daughter of William III de Ferrers, Earl of Derby (1200–1254)

Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace

The 13th century Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace distinguishes itself through its combination of splendid miniatures in the main body and pen drawings in the appendix. The Latin manuscript from London probably originated at the behest of Eleanor de Quincy (d. 1274), the daughter of William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby (1200–1254) or his wife Margaret de Ferrers (d. 1281). The text of the Book of Revelation as well as excerpts from the Berengaudus Commentary are to be found on 112 pages illustrated with 78- full-page miniatures with 23 karat gold backgrounds and 28 pen drawings. With its pedagogical intention, the Apocalypse offers the reader visual support for understanding the Biblical content.

Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace

An exceptionally attractive combination of colored pen drawings and magnificent miniatures is offered by the Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace, which originated in England between 1260 and 1270. On 112 pages, the Latin manuscript from London presents the Book of Revelation as well as excerpts from the late–11th century Berengaudus Commentary. The reader is given visual support for understanding John’s Biblical vision with a total of 78 framed, half-page miniatures with 23 karat gold backgrounds and 28 pen drawings.

A Manuscript with Pedagogical Value

Who it was that commissioned work on the Apocalypse cannot be said for certain. It was either Eleanor de Quncy (d. 1274) the daughter of William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby (1200–1254) or his wife Margaret de Ferrers (d. 1281). The purpose of the manuscript was to be simultaneously pedagogical and entertaining. It was meant to educate the reader and transmit an understanding of the biblical text. The depiction of the Whore of Babylon appears to indicate a female recipient. The aristocratic lady with the devil’s cup in her hands stands on a seven-headed beast and is understood to be a warning against vanity and luxury.

Interesting Page Layout

The rectangular miniatures are always found above the two-columned text, which is almost always framed by ornamental lines in blue and red ink. Golden filigree ornaments join in, decorating the fascinating calligraphic script. This composition was particularly common in English illuminated manuscripts with hagiographic content, but also for the Apocalypses of the 12th century, e.g. the St. Alban’s Psalter or the Winchester Bible.

Red and Blue as Apocalyptic Colors

One is struck by the generous use of the colors red and blue. Together, the luminous tones create an apocalyptic atmosphere in the sometimes gruesome scenes from the story of the end of days. The primarily golden background creates a brilliant contrast to both of the colors and backlights the pictures with its heavenly glory. Additionally, each miniature is invested like a small painting and is surrounded by a simple frame of mostly blue or red.

Artful Appendix

The Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace was furnished between 1265 and 1267 with an artful appendix, which is significantly different from the rest of the décor. The last section does not contain miniatures but rather full-page colored pen drawings illustrating saints and other legends. These are also framed, provided that the depictions do not always abide within the borders and occasionally break free of them. It is likely that this later section was added and adapted with didactic drawings according to the demands and beliefs of the owner.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Lambeth-Apokalypse
Size / Format
112 pages / 27.2 × 19.6 cm
Origin
France
Date
1260–1270
Style
Language
Illustrations
78 half-page miniatures and 28 full-page colored drawings
Content
The Revelation of St. John, excerpts from the Berengaudus commentary (late 11th century)
Previous Owners
In the 17th century, the Apocalypse was in the library of the Archbishops of Canterbury. From 1648 to 1664 it was temporarily in the Cambridge university library.

Available facsimile editions:
Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace – Ms. 209 – Lambeth Palace, Library of the Archbishop of Canterbury (London, United Kingdom)
Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1990
Limited Edition: 250 copies (co-edition with Coron Verlag)

Lambeth-Apokalypse (Standard Edition)
Limited Edition: 550 copies
Detail Picture

Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace

Martyrdom of King Edmund of East Anglia

Although the image of a man tied to a tree being shot with arrows makes one think of St. Sebastian, King Edmund of East Anglia also died this way. In 869, the Great Heathen Army conquered his kingdom of East Anglia and Edmund was captured by the Danes. After refusing to denounce Christ, he was beaten, shot with arrows, and beheaded by the famous Viking leaders Ivar the Boneless and his brother Ubba. According to legend, searchers were able to find his head thanks to the cries of an ethereal wolf.

Lambeth-Apokalypse (De Luxe Edition)
Single Page

Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace

John Receives his Commission on Patmos

According to legend, the author of the Book of Revelation was visited by an angel while banished to the Greek Island of Patmos. The angel delivering this vision to John hangs in the air before a timeless and spaceless burnished gold background holding a banderole saying: “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches of Asia.”

John is depicted reclining with his eyes closed, the island shaped as though it were a couch, and his toga’s stylized fall of folds reveals the shape of his long legs. Rather than depicting the seven churches of Asia and their corresponding Roman provinces, Christendom is depicted here as four islands. A ship is anchored offshore in the swirling green waters waiting to carry his work oversees.

Lambeth-Apokalypse (De Luxe Edition)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Lambeth-Apokalypse (De Luxe Edition)

Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1990
Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace – Ms. 209 – Lambeth Palace, Library of the Archbishop of Canterbury (London, United Kingdom)
Apocalypse of Lambeth Palace – Ms. 209 – Lambeth Palace, Library of the Archbishop of Canterbury (London, United Kingdom) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1990
Limited Edition: 250 copies (co-edition with Coron Verlag)
Binding: Leather binding with silver corner fittings, front emblem of the Bibliotheca Lambethana and two clasps The facsimile and commentary volume come in a joint case with a replica of a Limoges enamel jewelry on the cover
Commentary: 1 volume (378 pages) by Ruth Mettler, Nigel Morgan, Frauke Steenbock and Michelle Brown
Languages: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!

#2 Lambeth-Apokalypse (Standard Edition)

Limited Edition: 550 copies
Binding: Leather binding with silver corner fittings, front emblem of the Bibliotheca Lambethana and two clasps
Commentary: 1 volume (378 pages) by Ruth Mettler, Nigel Morgan, Frauke Steenbock and Michelle Brown
Languages: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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