Bible Pictures by William de Brailes

William de Brailesca. 1250 (Medieval)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

Walters manuscript W.106 is an exquisite volume comprising twenty-four leaves of Bible Pictures by W. 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 Musee 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 in Stockholm, National Museum, Ms. B.2010. De Brailes also composed and wrote the captions that accompany many of the images. W. de Brailes is one of only two English artists of the 13th century whose name we can associate with surviving works. Eleven manuscripts have been indentified that contain miniatures in his hand. De Brailes has a quirky and chatty style, and he was extremely gifted at turning Bible Stories into paint.

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  • Title: Bible Pictures by William de Brailes
  • Date Created: ca. 1250 (Medieval)
  • Physical Dimensions: w9.5 x h13.2 x d4.45 cm
  • Type: illuminated manuscripts
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1903, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: ink and pigment on parchment bound between shaped millboard, covered in worn red velvet with ivory
  • 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.
  • Place of Origin: Oxford, England, United Kingdom
  • ExhibitionHistory: Pages from Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from the 10th to the Early 15th Centuries. University Art Gallery, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley. 1963; Medieval Art, 1060-1550. University Art Gallery, South Bend. 1974; Splendor in Books. Grolier Club, New York; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1977-1978; Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985; Jewish Heroes in Christian Books. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1986; The Nativity in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1987-1988; From Romanesque to Gothic: Illumination in Transition. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1990; Royalty in Medieval Miniatures. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1992; The Bible Before Luther. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1992-1993; Bookish Business: Henry Walters and Leon Gruel. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1993; Manuscript Sleuthing: Discoveries of a Curator. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995; To Hell and Back: Medieval Images of the Afterworld. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995; Mything Persons: Historic Figures in Legends of East and West. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998; The Book of Kings: Art, War, and the Morgan Library's Medieval Picture Bible. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Academy of the Arts, Easton, Easton; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton; The Mitchell Gallery, Annapolis; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown. 2002
  • Artist: William de Brailes