Rothschild Miscellany

Rothschild Miscellany

Ferrara (Italy) — 1479

One of the most important testimonies of Jewish life in the Middle Ages: a thousand-page anthology with 37 religious and secular Hebrew texts, magnificently illuminated in the Ferrara style

  1. With 1,000 pages, the most comprehensive work of illumination for Jewish religion and culture in the 15th century

  2. Contains 37 religious texts (such as the Psalms or the Book of Job) and some secular treatises

  3. Likely illuminated by the Master of the Este school in Ferrara, acquired by the Rothschild family in the 19th century and on the UNESCO World Heritage list today

Rothschild Miscellany

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Rothschild Miscellany

The famous Rothschild Miscellany of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is considered to be the most comprehensive work of illumination for Jewish religion and culture in the 15th century. The nearly 1,000 page-long manuscript is a work of the Italian Renaissance, originating from Northern Italy at the end of the 15th century. The volume’s name comes from its 19th century owner, the Rothschild family. An eventful history underlines the significance of the manuscript. A total of 37 texts – concerning biblical, liturgical, but also secular themes – were illustrated in magnificent miniatures of the highest quality. In this way, the Rothschild Miscellany represents the highpoint of Hebrew illumination!

Rothschild Miscellany

The famous Rothschild Miscellany of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is considered to be the most comprehensive work of illumination for Jewish religion and culture in the 15th century. The nearly 1,000 page-long manuscript is a work of the Italian Renaissance, originating from Northern Italy at the end of the 15th century. The volume’s name comes from its 19th century owner, the Rothschild family. An eventful history underlines the significance of the manuscript. A total of 37 texts – concerning biblical, liturgical, but also secular themes – were illustrated in magnificent miniatures of the highest quality. In this way, the Rothschild Miscellany represents the highpoint of Hebrew illumination!

Originating from the Italian Renaissance

Moses ben Jekutiel Hakohen, a wealthy Jewish patron, was probably responsible for this unique treasure of Hebrew illumination. He – who is identified by name on fol. 106 – commissioned this splendidly designed omnibus manuscript in 1479. The Rothschild Miscellany arose as a masterpiece of the Renaissance in Northern Italy, presumably in Ferrara. The Master of the Este Circle is supposed to be the artist. This masterful manuscript’s 948 pages measuring 21 x 15.9 cm give a comprehensive inside view into Jewish religion and culture.

The Impressive Adornment

Ms. 180/51 of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, renowned as the Rothschild Miscellany, impresses with exuberant adornment on nearly every page. 816 embellished pages present magnificent miniatures, floral elements, and typical, small animal figures as well as décor designed with gold and silver: all the splendor of illumination. Over 200 scenic depictions illustrate the text. Consequently, the manuscript is as impressive for its comprehensiveness as it is for the quality of its illustrations!

One Book for Prayer, Study, and Entertainment

The Rothschild Miscellany assembles a variety of texts on different themes in splendid combination with impressive artistry. The manuscript contains a total of 37 texts and treatises. It is not only a prayer book that contains, inter alia, the Passover Haggadah and the Siddur, but also the Psalms and various Hebrew proverbs. Alongside these liturgical and biblical texts, the omnibus also contains secular and even entertaining themes, e.g. texts concerning moral, philosophical, and natural-scientific issues. With its wide-ranging content, the Rothschild Miscellany is the most comprehensive work of illumination concerning Jewish religion and culture in the 15th century!

An Exciting History

A turbulent history is tied to the Rothschild Miscellany. In the middle of the 19th century, the manuscript found itself in the Solomon de Parente Collection in Trieste. It was then sold to the Rothschild family in Paris, but was stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War. The manuscript finally reemerged in New York and was returned to the Rothschild family. They – or James A. de Rothschild more precisely – endowed the precious treasure to the Israel Museum, where it is stored today.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Rothschild-Sammelband
Size / Format
948 pages / 21.0 × 15.6 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1479
Style
Language
Illustrations
816 illuminated pages and miniatures
Previous Owners
Solomon de Parente
Rothschild family
Hugo Streisand
Jewish Theological Seminary of New York
James de Rothschild

Available facsimile editions:
Rothschild Miscellany – MS. 180/51 – Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel)
Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 1989
Limited Edition: 550 copies
Detail Picture

Rothschild Miscellany

Gabriel Hurling Fiery Rocks over Sodom

After being warned by two angels that the city of Sodom will be destroyed, Lot gathered up his family and servants and departed in the morning. This miniature is presented in the Haggadah section because Lot made unleavened bread in preparation for fleeing the doomed city. “Then ADONAI caused sulfur and fire to rain down upon S’dom and ‘Amora from ADONAI out of the sky. He overthrew those cities, the entire plain, all the inhabitants of the cities and everything growing in the ground.” (Gen. 19:24-25)

Rothschild Miscellany
Single Page

Rothschild Miscellany

Job and his Children

Job enjoys the fullness of God’s blessings after his faith is tested and divine favor is returned to him. Enthroned like a king in the inner courtyard of his palatial home, Job is flanked by his ten children. All are sumptuously dressed in the fashion of the Italian Renaissance, especially Job’s sons.

“ADONAI blessed Iyov’s later situation even more than his earlier one — he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 pairs of oxen and 1,000 female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. The first he named Y’mimah; the second, K’tzi‘ah; and the third, Keren-Hapukh. Nowhere in the land could women be found as beautiful as Iyov’s daughters; and their father gave them inheritances along with their brothers.” (Job 42:12-15)

Rothschild Miscellany
Facsimile Editions

#1 Rothschild Miscellany

Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 1989

Publisher: Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 1989
Limited Edition: 550 copies
Binding: Fine morocco goatskin, blind-tooled on both covers and the spine. The book block is sewn over hand-made head and tail bands. Four oxidised sterling silver clasps are attached by leather thongs to silver catch plates which are themselves attached by tiny silver nails. The facsimile and commentary are individually housed in hand made slip-cases. The slip case for the facsimile has been specially constructed to accommodate the clasps.
Commentary: 1 volume (256 pages) by Iris Fishof, Shlomo Simonsohn, Israel Ta-Shema, Malachi Beit-Arié, Mirjam Foot, Louisella Mortara-Ottolenghi, Binjamin Elizur, and Raphael Loewe
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: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
Edition available
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