Description This page from Walters manuscript W.106 depicts a scene from the story of Noah's ark. God commanded Noah to build an ark of gopher wood, with a roof and three decks. Into the ark Noah brought two of every animal, make and female. On the lower deck are the animals, on the middle, the birds, and on the upper deck, Noah and his family. The last birds are flying into the ark, and the last animals are being escorted by an angel. The flood has already started, and the ark, with its beast-headed prow and stern, floats upon its waters, pennant flying. This manuscript comprises twenty-four leaves of Bible pictures by W. de Brailes, a highly creative and distinctive English artist active in Oxford in the middle of the thirteenth century. Seven leaves from the same set of images are now in the Musée Marmottan in Paris. These thirty-one leaves are all that remain of an image cycle that once contained at least ninety-eight miniatures, and which was the longest cycle of Bible miniatures surviving from the thirteenth century in England. In all probability these Bible pictures were actually prefatory matter to a Psalter, now Stockholm, National Museum Ms. B.2010. De Brailes also composed and wrote the captions that accompany many of the images, a pattern of production observable in other manuscripts made by him, including London, British Library Ms. Add. 49999, a richly illuminated Book of Hours apparently intended for a female owner. W. de Brailes is one of only two English artists of the thirteenth century whose name we can associate with surviving works. Eleven manuscripts have been identified that contain miniatures in his hand.
Provenance Léon Gruel, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, June 6, 1903, by purchase [see The Diaries of George Lucas]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transliteration] Above the image: ceo e[st] l[']arche noe; [Transliteration] Below the image: de cumanda noe fer un arche a tres astages e ke il me[ist] lens lui e sa fe[m]me e sa treis fiz. cham e sam e iafet e lur fe[m]mes e de bestes e de volatilie ii e ii.; [Translation] Below the image: God commanded that Noah make a three-leveled ark and that he put in it himself and his wife and their three sons, Cham, Sam, and Iafet, and their wives, and pairs of beasts and birds
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1903
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