The Golden Images of the Apocalypse

The Golden Images of the Apocalypse – AyN Ediciones – Ms Yates Thompson 10 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)

Paris (France) — Ca. 1370–1390

The undisputed masterpiece in the collection of the bibliophile Yates Thompson: an exuberantly illuminated Apocalypse manuscript with a mysterious provenance, but an all the more exciting history of ownership

  1. A Gothic manuscript and worthy part of the collection of the great book lover Heny Yates Thompson (1838–1928)

  2. The splendid codex was owned by various nobles across the centuries

  3. The colorful and gilded illumination is a prime example of the French Gothic style

The Golden Images of the Apocalypse

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
The Golden Images of the Apocalypse

Sometime between 1370 and 1390, a precious and elaborately-designed Apocalypse manuscript arose in France. This text is the Golden images of the Apocalypse, which is named after its last owner, Henry Yates Thompson. Only very little information exists about the mysterious work. Its splendid, brightly colored miniatures in the French Gothic style were made by the same master, who was already responsible for the design of the famous Coronation Book of Charles V.

The Golden Images of the Apocalypse

The Revelation of John, also known as the Apocalypse, is the last book of the New Testament. The tale of the end of the world and Judgement Day belongs among the most influential literary works worldwide and has been continuously adapted in literature, film, or in the visual arts. A particularly interesting edition of the biblical text is found today in the collection of the Briton Henry Yates Thompson. The origin story of the Apocalypse Yates Thompson continues to be a riddle for researchers and historians. The thrilling manuscript is illustrated with 69 large miniatures, golden initials and floral bordures.

The Path of the Mysterious Work

Only very little is known for sure about the Apocalypse Yates Thompson, whose name comes from its last owner, Henry Yates Thompson. It is not known who commissioned the precious manuscript. However, numerous sources verify the various places where the codex resided in the course of history. Its first owner was Jean Philipp Eugène von and zu Meroda, Margrave of Westerlo, and the Imperial Count of Brussels. The Imperial Count, who came from the upper nobility of Merode, was a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece since 1694 and was named Imperial Field Marshall in 1717. Numerous precious illuminated manuscripts were in the private collection of the nobleman. Later, ca. 1844, the manuscript was listed in the inventory of Augustus Frederick, the Duke of Sussex. After passing through various locations, the mysterious manuscript made its way to British newspaper tycoon and book collector Henry Yates Thompson at the beginning of the 20th century. He bequeathed the work along with the rest of his considerable library to the British Library in London after his death.

Precious Late-Gothic Illumination

The Apocalypse Yates Thompson was most-likely produced by the same master who was also responsible for the design of the Coronation Book of Emperor Charles V. The anonymous book artist decorated the manuscript with large, historiated initials that shimmer in a luminous wealth of colors and precious gold elements. The numerous miniatures illustrating the text completely retain the French Gothic style. The terrifying events of John’s vision of the end of the world, which fascinated Christians from across the world for centuries, are depicted in a charmingly original surface painting style. The depictions show pictures of Judgement Day, of monsters and wild beasts, of angels and heavenly creatures. The fantasy of the anonymous illuminator, who so skillfully staged the biblical story, was boundless.


Alternative Titles
Die goldenen Bilder der Apokalypse
Apocalypsis Yates Thompson 10
Yates Thompson Apocalypse
Size / Format
80 pages / 26.5 × 18.2 cm
Ca. 1370–1390
Gothic Textura Rotunda
69 large miniatures; 1 historiated inital; gilded initials and floral borders troughout
Book of Revelation, prologue and commentary
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Jean Philippe Eugène (1674–1732), count of Merode, marquis of Westerloo
Augustus Frederick (1801–1843), Duke of Sussex
Thomas Thorpe
John Fuller Russell
Henry Yates Thompson (1838–1928)
Henry Yates Thompson, re-acquired by 1926.
Bequeathed to the British Museum in 1941 by Mrs. Henry Yates Thompson.

Available facsimile editions:
The Golden Images of the Apocalypse – AyN Ediciones – Ms Yates Thompson 10 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
AyN Ediciones – Madrid, 2008
Limited Edition: 995 copies
Detail Picture

The Golden Images of the Apocalypse

The Lake of Fire

In this Gothic miniature, the Heavenly Host is victorious: “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh”. (Rev. 19:20-21)

The Golden Images of the Apocalypse – AyN Ediciones – Ms Yates Thompson 10 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Single Page

The Golden Images of the Apocalypse

The Lamb on Mount Zion

The Seven Spiritual Figures are counted among the enigmatic characters that appear in the Book of Revelation leading up to the Third Woe, the last of which is a lamb: “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads” (Rev 14:1).

Although the lamb is one of the more famous Christian icons to represent God through the sacrifice of his son, the 144,000 are more enigmatic. These are the so-called “first fruits”, the initial group of the faithful who are redeemed and emerge victorious over the Beast, his mark, and his image. Dressed in red and blue, they appear with serene faces and hands devoutly folded in front of them as they gather around Mount Zion.

The Golden Images of the Apocalypse – AyN Ediciones – Ms Yates Thompson 10 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Apocalypsis Yates Thompson 10

AyN Ediciones – Madrid, 2008

Publisher: AyN Ediciones – Madrid, 2008
Limited Edition: 995 copies
Binding: Faithful reproduction of the 18th century binding with marbled endpapers and gilt edges.
Commentary: 1 volume by Nigel Morgan, Peter Kidd, Patricia Stirnemann, and Gregorio Solera
Languages: English, Spanish
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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
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