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Lorsch Gospels (Codex Aureus), The. The Bequest of Charlemagne. Documentation to the facsimile edition (out of print). Lucerne 1999. Fol. (18¼ × 12⅞ in [46.5 × 32.8 cm]). 12 pp. Illus. orig. brochure in dark red orig. cloth folder with gilt title and mounted round center piece with Christ from fol. 36 in gold and colors on the front board. With numerous illus. and
3 removable facsimile plates
in the original colors & size ( 14⅝ × 10¼ in [37 × 26 cm] )
of the 1st canon table (pp. 13/14), a text page from St. Luke’s Gospel (fol. 29), and the
purple initial page
to St. Matthew’s Gospel with the picture of Christ
(pp. 35/36) in separate folders with explanation of the respective sheet.
In German. – With small errata leaf. – The cover illustrations show in about original size the plates of Mary & Christ of the ivory boards of the binding.
Created about 810 on light calf vellum of most exquisite quality in the folio size of c. 14⅝ × 10⅝ in (37 × 27 cm) all 472 pages – as also the second name indicates – of the
as the climax of Carolingian art
were written completely in gold ink as only quite few early mediaeval manuscripts at all and additionally decorated throughout with color frames of barely surpassable richness of forms and with gold and silver in abundance. Containing the four gospels of the New Testament and presumably hold in hands by Charlemagne himself it is in such a manner the
highest in artistic skill
the famous scriptorium at Aix-la-Chapelle
was able to create .
The whole in addition elevated by a binding with both the two boards formed by five-piece ivory plates each carved at likewise highest level in the court workshops at Aix-la-Chapelle, providing to the Holy Book the character of a relic and at the same time being the most comprehensive ivory cycles ever created in the court workshops.
Presented before 860 by Charlemagne’s heirs to the monastery at Lorsch as one of the most important monastic centers of the empire, for seven centuries the Codex Aureus became the highlight of the already important library, for the scriptorium of the abbey an unreachable model, however. And – the pristine colors prove it – used at extraordinary occasions only.
Bound anew in 1479 in two parts supposedly 1556 the manuscript – the monastery was dissolved in the course of the reformation – came into the Bibliotheca Palatina of the bibliophile Palatinate elector, Ottheinrich. But already 1623, when Tilly took Heidelberg, the odyssey began:
Claimed by pope Gregory as booty the complete library was taken to Rome. But only the second part with the plate of Christ arrived in the Vatican libraries. The first one with the plate of Mary, however, seems to have come, probably by the assistance of the papal confiscator, to Rome as well, yet into private possession.
And before 1785 this part was then even robbed of its ivory plate, which reappeared 1853 at the sale of the collection of prince Soltikoff and, by the Webb Collection, came into the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1866.
The inner book, however, came into the possession of Vienna archbishop cardinal Migazzi, who sold it in 1785 to the Transylvanian bishop count Batthyány at Karlsburg, where it is preserved, now within the Romanian National Library, till today.
500 years after the beginning of division and scattering, on the eve of the 1200th anniversary of Charlemagne’s crowning at Aix-la-Chapelle, all three parts of this
synthesis of art of extraordinary order
were united again in a facsimile edition limited to worldwide 333 copies.
Offer no. 28,922 / EUR 125. (c. US$ 151.) + shipping