Illuminated Hebrew Bible

This illuminated Hebrew Bible has a range of inscriptions by previous owners, some of which are illegible. Two of its Jewish owners were from Kastoria (today in Greece). By 1726 it was in the possession of a Christian clergyman Johannes van der Hagen (1665-1739), who lived in Amsterdam. What happened later is not recorded in the manuscript itself. The manuscript was part of the library belonging to the Anglican minister Reverend Theodore Williams, which was sold in 1827 following his death. In 1892 Enriqueta Rylands purchased the manuscript from bookseller Bernard Quaritch. 

This manuscript is also featured in the The Collectors Behind the Collection section of this exhibition.

Hebrew Bible

Spain (?), early 14th century
Hebrew MS 36
Illuminated page from Hebrew MS 36

Gilded initial-word בראשית (“In the beginning”) on a blue painted panel with painted motifs in a gilded frame. 

Illuminated Hebrew Bible in Sephardi script

Folio 445b

Transliteration by Johannes van der Hagen of two Hebrew notes written previous owners, and Johannes’ Latin note about his reason to do so. 

Crop from folio 445b, showing a Latin note.

“These are the same words that are read at the end of this codex written in Rabbinical letters, which, since they are difficult to read, I copied here carefully, on 26 April 1726 AD, Johannes van der Hagen, priest in Amsterdam.”