The Oxford Bible
A superb showing of the early Gothic
The Artist: Williams de Brailes
De Brailes created the most fascinating Oxford Bible pictures, a richly illuminated cycle of Bible scenes whose formal vocabulary the artist in part newly invented himself. Each of the 31 folios is richly illustrated and copiously decorated with gold, frequently with finely tolled gold. The person who commissioned the Oxford bible leaves obviously spared no expense for the adequate decoration of this illustrated cycle.
31 illustrated folios
The Oxford Bible pictures appear in a limited Fine Art Facsimile edition of 980 copies. The 31 illustrated folios in the format of 135 x 100 mm, richly decorated with (partly) chiselled gold, have been reproduced in the greatest faith to the original book. A perfect rendering of the Gothic style in colour and gold. The facsimile comes in a binding that imitates the current binding. including the two-sided, carved ivory plate and the two clasps. The Fine Art Facsimile edition is delivered in a hand-made leather case, set with a window of acrylic glass, in order to display the ivory replicates of the Oxford Bible pictures in an adequate manner.
There is no other book with a similar binding in the history of art. Neither has the original funtion of the fragile plate been brought to light as yet. What we know for certain is the place and date of its creation: the plate was produced in the last quarter of the 14th century in Germany, in the Rhine area. The Oxford Bible pictures thus fuse English ans German Gothic art in a most creative combination. 13th Century – The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Ms. 106; Musée Marmottan, Paris.
Colour and gold: A real impression from the Gothic style
What makes de Brailes an outstanding personality among the masters of early Gothic art is not only the fact that we know his name; his highly characteristic and lively style, which sometimes even indicates a satirical note, equally accounts for the unique position he holds among his peers.