A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Lat. bib. b. 4

Summary Catalogue no.: Not in SC (late accession)


Old Testament

Fragments of the third(?) volume of a Bible which contained Parab. to Minor Prophets, comprising leaves from Parab., Cant., Sap., Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Ieremias, Lament., Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, Ioel, Zacharias and Malachias. The position of the leaves in the original MS. is shown by a distinctive foliation (18th-19th cent.) in reddish ink. Our fragments (numbered 1, 5, 40, 56, 73, 79, 95, 105, 153, 157, 163, 175, 185, 189, 191, 194, 215, 222, 225, 230, 237, 238, 241, 242, 245, 247, 254, 256, 262, 283, 287, 288, 296, 299, 300, 311, 313, 315, 317, 336, 341, 345, 350, 353, 359, 378, 402, 403, 408, 410, 413) include the first and last leaves. Fols. 25–30 (Exech. xiii–xxiii) are marked out in lectiones .

Other leaves are in New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M 741; Chicago, Art Institute Library, Acc. no. 31.25, Newberry Library Ry. 1, University Library MS. 122; Bloomington, University of Indiana, Lilly Library (formerly C. L. Ricketts 15); Dunedin, Public Library, Reed Collection, fragment 13, and University of Toronto, nos. 59–60. For photographs of some of these other leaves, see MS. Facs. b. 53. The first volume of this Bible may be identifiable with British Library Royal MS. I.E.IV (see Sotheby Catalogue, 10 Dec. 1980, under lot 3, suggestion of Mr. M. A. Michael). For the resemblance between this MS. and New College MSS. 3–6 see BLR VI (1957–61), 571–2.

For a full chart of the surviving leaves, see Margaret M. Manion, Vera F. Fines, and Christopher de Hamel, Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in New Zealand collections (Melbourne, etc., 1989), pp. 93–5

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment


Good borders, initials. (P&A iii. 714)

fol. 1r, illuminated initial in blue, gold, pink and orange-red, with foliage and bar border; fol. 22av (Lamentations), full illuminated border in the same colours framing the text, initial cut out; simpler illuminated initials to chapters.


Origin: c. 1345–1365 ; English

Provenance and Acquisition

Made for a nunnery in East Anglia?

Fol. 46v: ‘Rich(ard)us Legh me possidet. Anno Domini 1613.’

Fol. 46v: ‘Ex libris Petri Leicester de Nether-Tabley: qui liber mihi Dono datur a Richardo-Maria Dumvill de Limme Armigero, 27o die Martii, Anno Domini 1665.α.’ Sir Peter Leicester the antiquary, 1614–78. Notes by him on fols. 1v, 3r, 22av, 45v, and on one of the Newberry Library leaves, show that some leaves at beginnings of books and some initials had already been torn or cut out when he was given the MS.

Probably broken-up by Myers and Co., of Old Bond St., London, in or shortly before 1927. Fol. 16 was part of lot 104 in Christie's sale, 23 June 1954, and was bought from Maggs (Cat. 830, no. 35) in 1956. Fol. 13 appears to have been acquired at the same time. 26 further leaves were in Hodgson's sale, 24 April 1958, lot 576. Fols. 2, 5, 6 were in Sotheby's sale, 15 June 1959, lot 131. Fol. 24 was in Sotheby's sale, 8 July 1970, lot 1. Fols. 1, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 20, 23, 37, 42–6 were bought from Maggs, 1972; fols. 9b, 22a were also bought from Maggs in 1976 (Cat. 973, nos. 163, 162 and pl. VI); fol. 3a was in Sotheby's sale, 10 Dec. 1980, lot 4; fols. 9a, 17a were in an Antiques sale of Bruton Knowles & Co. of Gloucester at the Queen's Hotel Cheltenham, 19 Nov. 1980, lots 326–7, and were bought in 1981 from Robert B. Wilson of Cheltenham.

Record Sources

Typescript description by Bodleian Library staff, revised by Peter Kidd, late 1990s.

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.