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Detailed record for Additional 42497

Title Scenes from the Life of John the Baptist (possibly illustrating the Hortus Deliciarum?), a Flabellum or Rotulus
Origin France/Germany (Alsace, Hohenbourg)
Date 4th quarter of the 12th century
Language Latin
Script Protogothic
Decoration Nine scenes painted as a continuous frieze on both sides of a parchment strip (five on recto, four on verso), with broad foliate border below and captioning inscription above.
Dimensions in mm 860 x 190
Official foliation Recto and verso of a parchment strip
Form Parchment strip (two sheets pasted together), previously folded as a polyptych and painted on both sides
Binding Post-1600. Large glazed frame in wooden case.
Provenance The illumination is in the style of the Hortus Deliciarum of Abbess Herrad of Hohenburg (d. 1195) which was lost in the fire at Strasbourg Municipal Library in 1871; the present manuscript may have been an insert in this work (Millar, 'Life of John the Baptist' (1931) p. 1).
Professor Johann Gottfried Schweighäuser (b. 1776, d. 1844), Professor of Greek at Strasbourg, bought by him at the 'Gümpelmarkt' (rag-fair): an undated note on a copy of one of the images, now in the Oeuvre Notre Dame Museum in Strasbourg (see J. Walter, pp. 3-4).
Christian-Maurice Engelhardt (b. 1775, d.1858) of Strasbourg, author of Herrad von Landsberg und ihr Werk; Hortus Deliciarum, 1818, given to him by his brother-in-law, Johann Gottfried Schweighäuser: in the undated note (see above).
Eugene Grasset (b. 1845, d. 1917), artist and graphic designer in Paris made copies of some of the images, reproduced by Straub and Keller, Herrade de Landsberg (1901).
Acquired by British Museum in 1931 from a private collection in Paris (see Catalogue of Additions (1967), p. 24).
Notes The incomplete nature of the end scenes indicate that the strip was originally perhaps 40-50cm longer. The two parchment membranes are of unequal length, and the shorter one may have lost
The frieze is divided by vertical lines at 55mm intervals, indicating that it was at one time folded to form a polyptych, although the siting of the folds suggests that it was not originally designed to be folded in this manner. Walter, 'Fragments de l'Hortus Deliciarum ?' (1931) suggested it was designed as a devotional polyptych, folded for use during travel.
The illuminations are in the same style as the Hortus Deliciarum by Abbess Herrad of Hohenbourg (died 1195), a work known to have contained inserts of varying dimensions, which perished in a fire at Strasbourg Municipal Library in 1871. Copies made for Count August de Bastard before the fire show that the Hortus contained some of these scenes from the life of the Baptist. Millar, 'Miniatures of the Life of St. John the Baptist' (1931) suggested that the present manuscript may have been one of the inserts which survived the fire.
Green, 'The Flabellum of Hohenbourg' (1951) suggested, alternatively, that the strip was part of a liturgical fan (flabellum), a theory favoured by Cahn, Romanesque Manuscripts (1996).
The figure style is monumental and reminiscent of fresco or altarpiece painting. Perhaps it played a role in the design of such painting, as a 'modelbook' or sketch.
The Guthlac Roll (BL, Harley Roll Y.6) similarly carries scenes, set in roundels, of the Life of St Guthlac and may have had a similar purpose, although it is unfolded, another suggestion being that these were designs for stained glass.
Select bibliography Christian Moritz Engelhardt: Herrad von Landsperg, Äbtissin zu Hohenburg, oder St. Odilien, im Elsass, im zwölften Jahrhundert und ihr Werk Hortus deliciarum. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Wissenschaft, Literatur, Kunst, Kleidung, Waffen und Sitten des Mittelalters (Stuttgart: J.G. Cotta, 1818).

A. Straub and G. Keller, Herrade de Landsberg, Hortus Deliciarum (Strasbourg, 1879-99), 2nd supplement, pp. 5-6, pl.xxviii-xxix.

Eric G. Millar. 'Miniatures of the Life of St. John the Baptist' and 'The Inscription of the John the Baptist Roll', British Museum Quarterly, 6 (1931),1-3 and 108-09.

Jos Walter, 'Aurait-on decouvert des fragments de l'Hortus Deliciarum?', Archives alsaciennes de l'art, 10 (1931),.1-8.

Rosalie Green, 'The Flabellum of Hohenbourg' Art Bulletin, 33 (1951),153-55.

André Grabar and Carl Nordenfalk Romanesque Painting from the Eleventh to the Thirteenth Century, trans. by Stuart Gilbert (Lausanne: SKIRA , 1958), p. 160.

[Derek Howard Turner], Reproductions from Illuminated Manuscripts, Series 5 (London: British Museum, 1965), no. 7..

Florens Deuchler, Der Ingeborgpsalter (Berlin: de Gruyter & Co., 1967), pl. 227.

The British Museum Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts, 1931-1935 (London: British Museum, 1967), pp. 22-24.

Gérard Cames, 'L'enluminure et le livre en Alsace, VIIIe-XVIe siecles', in Cahiers de l'art medieval, V, (1967), pp. 8-9 and 55.

Charles Reginald Dodwell, Painting in Europe: 800 to 1200 (London : Penguin Books, 1971), p. 171.

Gérard Cames, 'La scene de chasse dans le Flabellum de Hohenbourg a Londres', Cahiers alsaciens d'archeologie, d'art et d'histoire, 15 (1971), 77-83.

Janet Backhouse, The Illuminated Manuscript (Oxford: Phaidon, 1979), pl. 20.

Rosalie Green, Herrad of Hohenbourg, Hortus Deliciarum Studies of the Warburg Institute, 36 (London: Warburg Institute, 1979), pp. 31, 82, 119, 135, 141, 272.

Gerald Cames, Dix Siecles d'Enluminure en Alsace (Besancon: Contades, 1989), p. 182.

Walter Cahn, Romanesque Manuscripts: The Twelfth Century, 2 vols, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in France (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), II, no. 151.

Justin Clegg, The Medieval Church in Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2003), p. 59.

Margaret Scott, Medieval Dress & Fashion (London: British Library, 2007), pl. 28.

Fiona Griffiths, The Garden of Delights: Reform and Renaissance for Women in the Twelfth Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), pp. 128-29, 299.

Jan Gerchow, 'Early Monasteries and Foundations (500-1200): an Introduction' in Crown and Veil: Female Monasticism from the Fifth to the Fifteenth Centuries, ed. by Jeffrey F. Hamburger and Susan Marti (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), pp. 13-40 (pp. 24, 39).


Images
* * *
 
The life of John the Baptist, scenes 1-5

recto
The life of John the Baptist, scenes 1-5
The life of John the Baptist, scenes 6-9

verso
The life of John the Baptist, scenes 6-9
The Visitation and Zacharias writing

f. 1ar
The Visitation and Zacharias writing
 
Herod and Herodias watch Salome performing

f. 1av
Herod and Herodias watch Salome performing
Two people awaiting baptism

f. 1br
Two people awaiting baptism
Tower

f. 1bv
Tower
 
John baptising a man in a tub

f. 1cr
John baptising a man in a tub
Two men hunting birds

f. 1cv
Two men hunting birds
Christ meets John

f.1dr
Christ meets John
 
John the Baptist in prison

f. 1dv
John the Baptist in prison
John and his followers

f. 1er
John and his followers
John is thrust into prison

f. 1ev
John is thrust into prison
 
The Baptism of Christ

f. 1fr
The Baptism of Christ
John is brought before Herod

f. 1fv
John is brought before Herod
Three angels

f. 1gr
Three angels
 
Herod and Heriodias

f. 1gv
Herod and Heriodias

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