The Corpus Christi Apocalypse
The Most Lavishly Illustrated Apocalypse of the Gothic Era. An unusual combination of the Revelation of St. John (The Apocalypse) , Paul’s Visions of Hell, as well as a transcript of the English Coronation Order used at the coronation of Edward II.
It is believed this work was commissioned as one manuscript by the Cobham family as a portrait of Henry, 1st Lord of Cobham has been identified in the illustration to the Last Supper. An inscription on one of the folios links the Apocalypse with Juliana de Leybourne, the Countess of Huntingdon who bequeathed it to the Abbey where she was buried. The inclusion of the Coronation Order in the Manuscript is highly relevant as Henry Cobham was present in 1308 at the coronation of Edward II. The one illustration in the Coronation Order Shows King Edward holding both orb and sceptre while seated in the chair which has been used for every coronation in Westminster Abbey since 1626 and which is known to date back to 1300.
The Apocalypse was one of the many books bequeathed by Matthew Parker (1504-1575) to Corpus Christi College. Parker, having been entrusted with the much of the reform of the Anglican Church had the foresight to obtain permission from Queen Elizabeth I to take into his own possession books from monastic institutions which were destroyed.
The Apocalypse part of the book is in Latin with parallel Anglo-Norman metrical version and prose commentary. The Descent of St. Paul and the Coronation Order are in Anglo- Norman. There are a total of 77 pages and 121 large format miniatures. The facsimile, like the original, is hand-bound between heavy boards and covered in white leather.
A commentary volume will include an English Translation of the Anglo-Norman texts, descriptions of the paintings and a learned study by Christopher de Hamel, Librarian at the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge about the provenance and various features of this unique manuscript.
Both volumes – the facsimile and the commentary – are presented in an acrylic glass case, which protects the valuable edition from dust and allows it to be decoratively displayed.