Bible Pictures by William de Brailes


This manuscript comprises 24 leaves of Bible pictures by William de Brailes, an English artist active in Oxford in the middle of the 13th century. Seven leaves from the same set of images are now in the Musée Marmottan in Paris. These 31 leaves are all that remain of an image cycle that once contained at least 98 miniatures, and which was the longest cycle of Bible miniatures surviving from the 13th 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 text in the form of 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. William de Brailes is one of only two English artists of the 13th century whose name we can associate with surviving works. There are 11 manuscripts identified as containing miniatures in his hand. De Brailes has a quirky and chatty style and is extremely gifted at turning Bible stories into paint.

Last updated: April 12, 2016