Rochester New Testament, 1130 AD

Rochester New Testament, 1130 AD


Rochester New Testament Bible

Date: 1130 AD

Language: Latin

Page# 508

Facsimile Dimensions : 11.75 x 8.75 inches

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Description :

This large-format copy of the New Testament was almost certainly created at Rochester Cathedral Priory, England, in the first half of the twelfth century. It was part of a five-volume Bible, only one other volume of which, London, British Library Ms. Royal I.C.VII, has survived. The decorated initials in these manuscripts compare closely with those in other books securely attributed to Rochester. Textually these books are closely related to the Gundulph Bible (San Marino, Huntington Library Ms. HM 62), known to have been produced at Rochester in the second half of the eleventh century. Although neither the Walters' nor the British Library's volume includes an inscription associating this Bible with Rochester, the two medieval catalogs of the Rochester Cathedral library, produced around 1130 and in 1202, contain references to manuscripts that correspond well with them. The book’s large size indicates it that was designed to be read aloud, either during services or at meals in the refectory. Large, fanciful initials filled with succulent foliage, fruit, dragons, animals, and human faces begin each section of the text. Executed in a vibrant palette of red, blue, green, ochre (in place of gold), and yellow, the intricate, dynamic designs capture the essence of Romanesque manuscript illumination. Royal I.C.VII also includes four historiated initials (for the books of Joshua, I Samuel, 2 Samuel, and 2 Kings). Although the Bible was made at Rochester, the pre-Gothic script of W.18 in particular is extremely close to that practiced at nearby Canterbury at the time.

Reproduction Details: The hardcover books are made with two pieces of real wood on the inside. The leather is a 4 oz cowhide, from a small supplier in New York state. The Glue we use to attach the leather to the wood is made at our facility, and is a period correct wheat glue. Along the spine, we use a modern perfect binding, with modern glue, to make the binding last longer. Then we each signature is sewn into the book block.  We also add three layers of mull cloth to the outside of the perfect binding, drying in between each layer, a traditional way to make the binding stiff, strong, and resilient.

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