The Saint Cecilia Bible

The Saint Cecilia Bible

Collection ID

MS.000229.1-.2

Type

Manuscript

Date

ca. 850–900 CE (v. 1) and ca. 1050–1100 CE (v. 2)

Geography

Rome, (Italy)

Language

Latin

Medium

Vellum, ink

Dimensions

v. 1: 228 folios, 13.5 × 9.9 × 3.1 in. (34.3 × 25.2 × 7.9 cm); v. 2: 290 folios, 15.5 × 11.3 × 3.8 in. (39.3 × 28.8 × 9.7 cm)

Exhibit Location

On view in The History of the Bible, Translating the Bible


The Saint Cecilia Bible comprises two volumes of what was once a four-volume work. Volume one is a Carolingian minuscule manuscript that comes from the 9th century. Two scribes produced the first volume. Volume two was produced in the 11th century. This is a late Carolingian minuscule copy of an earlier text, perhaps the companion to volume one. Nine different scribes worked on this volume, producing considerable variation in the number of lines per column. The third and fourth volumes have been missing for centuries. The text contains several decorated initials containing a pattern of intertwined vines.

Created at the Benedictine abbey of Santa Cecilia in Rome. The monks produced the first volume in the second half of the 9th century and the second volume in the second half of the 11th century. Since volumes three and four are missing, it is uncertain whether they were produced in the 9th or 11th centuries. Acquired by Cardinal Antonio Saverio Gentili (1681–1753) of Rome. Acquired by Principe del Drago (1773–1851) of Rome.[1] Acquired by Giampietro Campana, Marchese di Cavelli (1808–1880); Sold at auction by Sotheby's 20 June 1860; Acquired in 1860 by Boone, London.[2] Acquired by Count Guglielmo Libri Carucci dalla Sommaja (1803–1869);[3] Sold at auction by Sotheby's 25 July 1862;[4] Purchased in 1862 by the Paris bookdealer Edwin Tross (1822–1875).[5] Acquired by Enoch T. Carson (1822–1899), Cincinnati, Ohio;[6] Sold at auction in 1880;[7] Acquired by Hamilton Cole (1845–1889);[8] Sold at auction in 1890 by Bangs & Co, New York;[9] Purchased by Alfred Tredway White (1846–1921);[10] Donated in 1919 to the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Sold at auction by Sotheby's 23 June 1987, Lot 72; Purchased in 1987 by Martin Schøyen; Purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2012 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] i.e., Urbano del Drago Biscia Gentili I, prince of Mazzano and Antuni. The dealer’s notes make no mention of how del Drago acquired it. It likely came into his possession through his marriage in 1814 to Elena Hofer Gentili (1797–1816), ward or adopted daughter of Margherita Sparapani Gentili Boccapadule (1735–1820), who was Cardinal Gentili’s niece and heir. Urbano added the name Gentili to his as a condition for marrying Elena. When she died two years later without any children, he inherited her property, which may have included books from Cardinal Gentili’s library. [2] This name appears in the dealer notes and probably came from notations in the Sotheby’s catalog for the sale. The name Boone appears in the margins of the catalog of the subsequent sale in 1862 with item 74. The name may also be a misreading of the name Boore. A London dealer named William M. Boore operated at 54 The Strand, London, from at least 1865–1886 and sold objects to Augustus Pitt-Rivers, whose collection became the basis of the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/rpr/index.php/article-index/12-articles/139-dealers-and-auctioneers.html. [3]Count Guglielmo Libri Carucci dalla Sommaja was a colorful figure of the 19th century. A mathematician turned book thief, he took up residence in Britain after the start of the Revolution of 1848 in France and lived by selling manuscripts and rare books he had stolen in France and Italy. It is uncertain how or when Libri acquired this manuscript, but the manuscript appears in the 1862 Sotheby’s sale of manuscripts and books belonging to him. [4] Sotheby’s, Catalogue of the Reserved and Most Valuable Portion of the Libri Collection, 25 July 1862, Lot 70. Notations in the margin show that Tross purchased it for ₤65. [5] Tross, whose full name was Karl Theodor Edwin Tross, was born in Germany but moved to Paris in 1851, where he collected, sold, and printed books. http://histoire-bibliophilie.blogspot.com/2018/11/edwin-tross-1822-1875-une-des-gloires.html [6] Enoch T. Carson was the surveyor of the Port of Cincinnati during the Civil War. After the war ended, he traveled to Europe in 1866 and may have purchased the manuscript from Truss at this time. He was a collector of Shakespearian literature who donated his collection to the University of Cincinnati. https://www.ancestry.com.au/boards/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=1697&p=surnames.carson. [7] Bibliotheca Carsoniana: Catalogue of a Magnificent Private Library, the Property of a Gentleman of Cincinnati (Cincinnati: Peter G. Thompson, 1880), 88–89, Lot 764. https://books.google.com/books?id=EqIWAAAAMAAJ&pg=PP9&lpg=PP9&dq=bibliotheca+carsoniana&source=bl&ots=YM1Sm6vNr7&sig=ACfU3U1Xh1NEuaEGpmteczwipwTC3dTw0Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwju_sK7su7hAhWQrVkKHQf-Db8Q6AEwC3oECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=bibliotheca%20carsoniana&f=false [8] Cole was a New York City lawyer and rare book collector. His Yale obituary record from June 1890 is cited here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/55213469/hamilton-cole. [9] Bangs & Co, New York Catalog, 7 April 1890, Lot 30. [10] Alfred Tredway White was a well-known philanthropist who designed affordable housing for the working-class inhabitants of Brooklyn.

PUBLISHED REFERENCES:

Paola Supino Martini, Roma e l’area grafica romanesca: (secoli X–XII), Bibliotheca scrittura e civiltà 1 (Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 1987), 6.

Seymour de Ricci and William Jerome Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York: H. W. Wilson, 1937), 2:1193.

Carlo Vercellone, Variae lectiones Vulgatae Latinae Bibliorum editionis (Rome: Joseph Spithöver, 1860) v. 1, XCI.

Museum of the Bible Publications:

Jennifer Atwood and Stacey L. Douglas, eds., Passages: Exploring the Bible in Four Movements. An Exhibition Guide (Museum of the Bible, 2015), 15.

Description

The Saint Cecilia Bible comprises two volumes of what was once a four-volume work. Volume one is a Carolingian minuscule manuscript that comes from the 9th century. Two scribes produced the first volume. Volume two was produced in the 11th century. This is a late Carolingian minuscule copy of an earlier text, perhaps the companion to volume one. Nine different scribes worked on this volume, producing considerable variation in the number of lines per column. The third and fourth volumes have been missing for centuries. The text contains several decorated initials containing a pattern of intertwined vines.


Provenance

Created at the Benedictine abbey of Santa Cecilia in Rome. The monks produced the first volume in the second half of the 9th century and the second volume in the second half of the 11th century. Since volumes three and four are missing, it is uncertain whether they were produced in the 9th or 11th centuries. Acquired by Cardinal Antonio Saverio Gentili (1681–1753) of Rome. Acquired by Principe del Drago (1773–1851) of Rome.[1] Acquired by Giampietro Campana, Marchese di Cavelli (1808–1880); Sold at auction by Sotheby's 20 June 1860; Acquired in 1860 by Boone, London.[2] Acquired by Count Guglielmo Libri Carucci dalla Sommaja (1803–1869);[3] Sold at auction by Sotheby's 25 July 1862;[4] Purchased in 1862 by the Paris bookdealer Edwin Tross (1822–1875).[5] Acquired by Enoch T. Carson (1822–1899), Cincinnati, Ohio;[6] Sold at auction in 1880;[7] Acquired by Hamilton Cole (1845–1889);[8] Sold at auction in 1890 by Bangs & Co, New York;[9] Purchased by Alfred Tredway White (1846–1921);[10] Donated in 1919 to the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Sold at auction by Sotheby's 23 June 1987, Lot 72; Purchased in 1987 by Martin Schøyen; Purchased in 2010 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Donated in 2012 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] i.e., Urbano del Drago Biscia Gentili I, prince of Mazzano and Antuni. The dealer’s notes make no mention of how del Drago acquired it. It likely came into his possession through his marriage in 1814 to Elena Hofer Gentili (1797–1816), ward or adopted daughter of Margherita Sparapani Gentili Boccapadule (1735–1820), who was Cardinal Gentili’s niece and heir. Urbano added the name Gentili to his as a condition for marrying Elena. When she died two years later without any children, he inherited her property, which may have included books from Cardinal Gentili’s library. [2] This name appears in the dealer notes and probably came from notations in the Sotheby’s catalog for the sale. The name Boone appears in the margins of the catalog of the subsequent sale in 1862 with item 74. The name may also be a misreading of the name Boore. A London dealer named William M. Boore operated at 54 The Strand, London, from at least 1865–1886 and sold objects to Augustus Pitt-Rivers, whose collection became the basis of the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/rpr/index.php/article-index/12-articles/139-dealers-and-auctioneers.html. [3]Count Guglielmo Libri Carucci dalla Sommaja was a colorful figure of the 19th century. A mathematician turned book thief, he took up residence in Britain after the start of the Revolution of 1848 in France and lived by selling manuscripts and rare books he had stolen in France and Italy. It is uncertain how or when Libri acquired this manuscript, but the manuscript appears in the 1862 Sotheby’s sale of manuscripts and books belonging to him. [4] Sotheby’s, Catalogue of the Reserved and Most Valuable Portion of the Libri Collection, 25 July 1862, Lot 70. Notations in the margin show that Tross purchased it for ₤65. [5] Tross, whose full name was Karl Theodor Edwin Tross, was born in Germany but moved to Paris in 1851, where he collected, sold, and printed books. http://histoire-bibliophilie.blogspot.com/2018/11/edwin-tross-1822-1875-une-des-gloires.html [6] Enoch T. Carson was the surveyor of the Port of Cincinnati during the Civil War. After the war ended, he traveled to Europe in 1866 and may have purchased the manuscript from Truss at this time. He was a collector of Shakespearian literature who donated his collection to the University of Cincinnati. https://www.ancestry.com.au/boards/thread.aspx?mv=flat&m=1697&p=surnames.carson. [7] Bibliotheca Carsoniana: Catalogue of a Magnificent Private Library, the Property of a Gentleman of Cincinnati (Cincinnati: Peter G. Thompson, 1880), 88–89, Lot 764. https://books.google.com/books?id=EqIWAAAAMAAJ&pg=PP9&lpg=PP9&dq=bibliotheca+carsoniana&source=bl&ots=YM1Sm6vNr7&sig=ACfU3U1Xh1NEuaEGpmteczwipwTC3dTw0Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwju_sK7su7hAhWQrVkKHQf-Db8Q6AEwC3oECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=bibliotheca%20carsoniana&f=false [8] Cole was a New York City lawyer and rare book collector. His Yale obituary record from June 1890 is cited here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/55213469/hamilton-cole. [9] Bangs & Co, New York Catalog, 7 April 1890, Lot 30. [10] Alfred Tredway White was a well-known philanthropist who designed affordable housing for the working-class inhabitants of Brooklyn.

PUBLISHED REFERENCES:

Paola Supino Martini, Roma e l’area grafica romanesca: (secoli X–XII), Bibliotheca scrittura e civiltà 1 (Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 1987), 6.

Seymour de Ricci and William Jerome Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York: H. W. Wilson, 1937), 2:1193.

Carlo Vercellone, Variae lectiones Vulgatae Latinae Bibliorum editionis (Rome: Joseph Spithöver, 1860) v. 1, XCI.

Museum of the Bible Publications:

Jennifer Atwood and Stacey L. Douglas, eds., Passages: Exploring the Bible in Four Movements. An Exhibition Guide (Museum of the Bible, 2015), 15.


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