Tree of Jesse
The Tree of Jesse is a depiction in art of the ancestors of Christ, shown in a tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David; the original use of the family tree as a schematic representation of a genealogy. It originates in a passage in the Biblical Book of Isaiah which describes metaphorically the descent of the Messiah, and is accepted by Christians as referring to Jesus. The subject is often seen in Christian art, particularly in that of the Medieval period. The earliest example dates from the 11th century.
The passage in Revised Standard Version), or "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots"is: "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots" (
In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is traced by two of the Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the "generations of Christ" in Chapter 3 of Luke's Gospel, beginning with Jesus himself and tracing backwards through his "earthly father" Joseph all the way to Adam.
Matthew's Gospel opens with the words: "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham". With this beginning Matthew makes clear Jesus' whole lineage: He is of God's chosen people, by his descent from Abraham, and he is the "shoot of Jesse" by his descent from Jesse's son, King David. The figures shown are drawn from the genealogies in the Gospels, usually showing only a selection.
Jesse Tree in Christian art 
Pictorial representations of the Jesse Tree show a symbolic tree or vine with spreading branches to represent the genealogy in accordance with Isaiah's prophecy. The 12th century monk Hervaeus expressed the medieval understanding of the image, based on the Vulgate text: "The patriarch Jesse belonged to the royal family, that is why the root of Jesse signifies the lineage of kings. As to the rod, it symbolises Mary as the flower symbolises Jesus Christ." In the medieval period, when heredity was all-important, much greater emphasis than today was placed on the actual royal descent of Jesus, especially by royalty and the nobility, including those who had joined the clergy. Between them, these groups were responsible for much of the patronage of the arts.
During the Medieval era the symbol of the tree as an expression of lineage was adopted by the nobility and has passed into common usage initially in the form of the Family Tree and later as a mode of expressing any line of descent. The form is widely used as a table in such disciplines as biology. It is also used to show lines of responsibility in personnel structures such as government departments.
The Jesse Tree has been depicted in almost every medium of Christian art. In particular, it is the subject of many stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts. It is also found in wall paintings, architectural carvings, funerary monuments, floor tiles and embroidery.
The first representations of the passage in Isaiah, from about 1,000 in the West, showed a "shoot" in the form of a straight stem or a flowering branch held in the hand by (most often) the Virgin, Jesus when held by Mary, or Isaiah or ancestor figures. The shoot as an attribute acted as a reminder of the prophecy, In the Byzantine world, the Tree figures only as a normal-looking tree in the background of some Nativity scenes, also a reminder to the viewer. Indeed, the Tree was always far more common in Northern Europe, where it may have originated, than Italy.
The typical form of the image
The most typical form which the Jesse Tree takes is to show the figure of Jesse, often larger than all the rest, reclining or sleeping (perhaps by analogy to Adam when his rib was taken) at the foot of the pictorial space. From his side or his navel springs the trunk of a tree or vine which ascends, branching to either side. On the branches, usually surrounded by formally scrolling tendrils of foliage, are figures representing the ancestors of Christ. The trunk generally ascends vertically to Mary and then Christ at the top.
The number of figures depicted varies greatly, depending on the amount of room available for the design. As a maximum, if the longer ancestry from Luke is used, there are 43 generations between Jesse and Jesus. The identity of the figures also varies, and may not be specified, but Solomon and David are usually included, and often all shown wear crowns. Most Jesse Trees include Mary immediately beneath the figure of Jesus (or, in the Gothic period, show a Virgin and Child), emphasising that she was the means by which the shoot of Jesse was born. Saint Joseph is rarely shown, although unlike Mary he is a link in the Gospel genealogies. It was believed in the Middle Ages that the House of David could only marry within itself, and that she was independently descended from Jesse. Sometimes Jesus and other figures are shown in the cups of flowers, as the fruit or blossom of the Tree.
The Jesse Tree was the only prophecy in the Old Testament to be so literally and frequently illustrated, and so came also to stand for the Prophets, and their foretelling of Christ, in general. Both the St-Denis and Chartres windows include columns of prophets, as do many depictions. Often they carry banderoles with a quotation from their writings, and they may point to Christ, as the foretold Messiah. The inclusion of kings and prophets was also an assertion of the inclusion and relevance in the biblical canon of books that some groups had rejected in the past.
While particularly popular in the Medieval era, there were also many depictions of the Jesse Tree in Gothic Revival art of the 19th century. The 20th century has also produced a number of fine examples.
The Vysehrad Codex and Lambeth Palace Bible 
The earliest known representation of the Jesse Tree can be firmly dated to 1086 and is in the Vyšehrad Codex, the Coronation Gospels of Vratislav II, the first monarch of Bohemia, which was previously a dukedom.
In a paper analysing this image, J.A. Hayes Williams points out that the iconography employed is very different from that usually found in such images, which she argues relates to an assertion of the rightful kingship of the royal patron. The page showing the Jesse Tree is accompanied by a number of other illuminated pages of which four depict the Ancestors of Christ. The Jesse Tree has not been used to support a number of figures, as is usual. Instead, the passage from Isaiah has been depicted in a very literal way. In the picture, the prophet Isaiah approaches Jesse from beneath whose feet is springing a tree, and wraps around him a banner with words upon it which translate literally as:- "A little rod from Jesse gives rise to a splendid flower", following the language of the Vulgate. Instead of the ancestors seen in later depictions, seven doves (with haloes) perch in the branches. These, in a motif from Byzantine art, represent the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit as described by the Apostle Paul. Williams goes on to compare it with two other famous images, the Tree of Jesse window at Chartres Cathedral and the Lambeth Bible in England.
"While depictions of the Jesse Tree originated in Bohemia, the concept became widely popular throughout Europe and the British Isles. Within sixty years the composition had exploded and expanded, with rearranged original elements and new ones added."
However this claim of Bohemian origin may be somewhat overstated, as there is an "incipent" version in an Anglo-Norman manuscript of similar date to the Vysehrad Codex.
In the first decades of the 12th century, the early Cistercian illuminators of Cîteaux Abbey played an important part in the development of the image of the Tree of Jesse, which was used to counter renewed tendencies to deny the humanity of Mary, which culminated in Catharism. However, as Bernard of Clairvaux, strongly hostile to imagery, increased in influence in the order, their use of imagery ceased. The Lambeth Bible is dated between 1140 and 1150. The Jesse Tree illustration comes at the start of Isaiah and differs greatly from the earlier one, having much more the form that is familiar from both manuscript and stained glass versions. In it, Jesse lies at the border of the page with the tree springing from his side. The branches of the tree are depicted as highly formalised circular tendrils which enclose six pairs or trios of figures. At the centre, tall and highly stylised in the same manner as 12th century columnar statues, stands a full length Blessed Virgin Mary from whose head spring tendrils which enclose a bust of her Son, Jesus. He is encircled by the seven doves, with outspread wings; this became the usual depiction of them. Four Prophets with scrolls occupy medallions in the corners.
Jesse Tree at Chartres Cathedral 
Among the famous stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral in Northern France is the Jesse Tree window, of 1140-50, the far right of three windows above the Royal Portal and beneath the western rose window. It derives from the oldest known (and almost certainly the original) complex form of the Jesse Tree, with the tree rising from a sleeping Jesse, a window placed in the Saint-Denis Basilica by Abbot Suger in about 1140, which is now heavily restored.
The Chartres window comprises eight square central panels, with seven rectangular ones on either side, separated, as is usual in 12th century windows with no stone tracery, by heavy iron armatures. In the lowest central panel reclines the figure of Jesse, with the tree rising from his middle. In each of the seven sections it branches out into a regular pattern of scrolling branches, each bearing a bunch of leaves that take on the heraldic form of the Fleur de Lys, very common in French stained glass. Central to each panel is a figure:- David, Solomon, two more crowned figures, the Blessed Virgin Mary and, surrounded by the doves bearing the Gifts of the Spirit, a majestic figure of Christ, larger than the rest. In each of the narrower panels, edged by richly patterned borders, are the figures of fourteen prophets bearing scrolls.
Apart from the theological importance the design is one of the few subjects that works very well as a unified composition for one of the tall vertical spaces of the windows of Romanesque and Gothic churches; most other tall windows were divided into separate scenes. Saint-Denis and Chartres provided a model for many other such windows, notably the Jesse Tree windows of Canterbury Cathedral, c.1200, probably also made in France, and St. Kunibert, Cologne of 1220-35. Section references:- Brown, Lee, Seddon and Stephens.
The continuing tradition of the Jesse Tree in art 
Illuminated Manuscripts 
The Tree appears in several other Romanesque Bibles apart from the Lambeth Bible, usually as a large historiated initial at the start of either Isaiah or Matthew. The Saint-Bénigne Bible is perhaps the earliest appearance, with just Jesse and the doves of the Seven Gifts. The Capuchin's Bible (see picture) is a later example, c. 1180, in which a Jesse Tree forms the L of Liber generationis.. at the start of the Gospel of Matthew.
The Tree is also often found in Psalters, especially English manuscripts, illustrating the B initial of Beatus Vir.., the beginning of Psalm 1, which often occupies a whole page. Sometimes this is the only fully illuminated page, and if it is historiated (i.e. contains a pictured scene) the Tree is the usual subject. When not historiated, the initial had for about two hundred years been most often made up of, or filled with, spiraling plant tendrils, often with animals or men caught up in them, so the development to the tree was a relatively easy step. Indeed, although Jesse's son David was believed to be the author of the Psalms, it has been suggested that the tradition of using a Jesse Tree here arose largely because it was an imposing design that worked well filling a large B shape.
An early example is the late 12th century Huntingfield Psalter, and an especially splendid one from the early 14th century is the Gorleston Psalter in the British Library. In these and most other examples Jesse lies at the bottom of the B, and the Virgin is no larger than other figures. In the recently re-discovered Macclesfield Psalter of about 1320 another very elaborate Tree grows beyond the B, sending branches round the sides and bottom of the text. In the Psalter and Hours of John, Duke of Bedford (British Library Ms Add 42131), of about 1420-23, the Tree frames the bottom and both sides of the page, while the initial B at the top of the page contains the anointing of King David.
Some continental manuscripts give the scene a whole page with no initial. "Various selections" of the elements appear, and prophets and sometimes even the Cumaean Sybil (Ingeburg Psalter c. 1210) stand in the corners or to the side. A Lectionary of before 1164 from Cologne unusually shows Jesse dead in a tomb or coffin, from which the tree grows. Romanesque depictions usually show Jesse asleep on open ground or on a simple couch - all that can be told from the Bible about his circumstances is that he had sheep, which David herded. By the Gothic period small Trees are found in many types of manuscript, and Jesse is often more comfortably accommodated in a large bed, sometimes a luxurious one, as in the Beauvais window below.
Stained glass 
Stained glass was a popular medium used in many eras to illuminate the sacred mysteries of the Old Covenant's relationship with the geneology of Christ in the New Covenant.
York Minster, England
Canterbury Cathedral, England
This window, dating from c. 1200, had an unfortunate history. Having survived the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the depredations of the Puritans and the ravages of time, it was dismantled and removed, with many other original windows during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and replaced by a copy. Fortunately two surviving panels were later returned and are in place in the Corona Chapel at the eastern end of the building.
Renaissance and classical 
Dorchester Abbey, Dorchester, Oxfordshire
The north window in the sanctuary is unique as it combines tracery and sculpture with stained glass in a single theme. It shows the ascent of Christ from Jesse. The tree with five undulating branches carved in foliage rises from the sculptured recumbent form of Jesse. Much of the 14th century glass is fragmentary, but still in its original tracery. The figures of Christ and the Virgin and Child with other figures are intact. The glass contains figures from a Tree of Jesse and additional figures are carved on stone mullions.
St. Leonard's Church, Leverington, Cambridgeshire
A 15th century restored Tree of Jesse window in the chapel of the east end of the church. Thirteen of the figures are original, seventeen are partly restored and thirty-one are modern. The kings are dressed in short doublets which are compared with similar figures in the manuscript of 1640 representing the victories of Edward IV which is in the British Library Harleian MS. 7353.
Holy Well and St. Dyfnog's Church, Llanrhaeadr, Denbighshire, Wales.
The Tree of Jesse window was made in 1533. The window depicts Jesse asleep in a walled garden, from him springs a many branched family tree, in which can be seen the ancestor kings of christ. The figures resemble 'court' playing cards, which took their form at about the time the window was made.
Saint-Étienne church, Beauvais, France
A magnificent Renaissance three-light window by Engrand Le Prince (1522–1524), with the royal ancestors richly-dressed in fashionable garments, rising from large flower-pods. Jesse has a splendid four-poster bed. In the tracery, the central section has the form of a Sacred Heart and contains the Virgin and Christ Child rising from a lily and surrounded by radiant light.
Cathedral Notre-Dame, Moulins, Central France
15th - 16th century Tree of Jesse window above Jesse can be seen a king on horseback.
19th and early 20th century 
St. Bartholomew's Church, Rogate, West Sussex.
The Jesse window of 1892 by Lavers & Westlake is a colourful design. All the figures are seated in the vine except for the Virgin Mary who is seated within a flowering virga, outside the vine. Above her head are seven doves representing the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The figures in the window are; in the first light - Hezekiah, Solomon, Melchizedek. Middle light - Jesse, David, the Virgin and Christchild on her knee. Third light - Jehoshaphat, Asa, and Isaiah. The three light window is dedicated to the Honourable J J Carnagie born 8 July 1807 died 18 January 1892, placed in the church by Henry Allen Rolls (brother of the co-founder of Rolls Royce Limited) in 1892.
Pusey House Chapel, Oxford, Oxfordshire.
In the east window there is a Tree of Jesse commemorating Pusey, who was one of the leaders of the 19th century Oxford Movement in the Church of England. Pusey died in 1882 and Pusey House was established as his memorial. The window is by Sir Ninian Comper and contains figures of Old Testament prophets, and fathers of the Church, representing some of the areas of his study, surrounding Christ in Majesty and the Virgin and Child. The figure of Pusey can be seen, kneeling at the base of the second light from the right.
St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Froyle, Hampshire
The Tree of Jesse 5 light east window is by Kempe/Burlison & Grylls 1896. Nineteen figures can be seen including Jesse, King David, King Solomon, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child.
St. Matthew's Church, Newcastle, Northumberland.
St. Peter's Church, Stonegate, Wadhurst, E.Sussex
The 5 light west window is a Tree of Jesse window made by James Powell & Sons, London in 1910. Depicting 21 characters including Jesse, King David, King Solomon, The Virgin Mary and Child.
All Saints Church, Hove, East Sussex
The Tree of Jesse window at the west end of the south aisle is by Clement Bell, installed by the firm Clayton & Bell in 1924. The window embodies a profusion of rich deep colours, reds, blues, dark green, mauve and gold. It has four upright sections, surmounted by quatrefoil insets depicting the Mother & Child, flanked by Joseph and Jacob. Below, shown in kingly attire is the genealogical lineage of Joseph with some of his forebears from the house of David, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Sadoc, Matthan, Ozias, Jehoshaphat, Ezekias, Josias, Roboam, King David, Solomon and Asa. Below these are the prophet Isaiah a recumbent Jesse, and in the bottom corner Matthew recording these details in the opening of his gospel.
St. George's Church, Slough, Britwell, Berkshire.
A five light Tree of Jesse window is mentioned in the church inventory. A huge and spectacular window in 1-inch-thick (25 mm) glass, set in concrete, and made by James Powell & Sons and John Baker in 1960, it was demolished in October 2004.
St. John the Baptist Church, Claines, Worcester
St. James's Church, Portsmouth, Milton, Hampshire
The consecration of St. James Church took place in 1913, built on a north-south axis in Gothic form. The addition of the Tree of Jesse stained glass east window, inserted to mark the church's 21st anniversary (1954). The window by Sir Ninian Comper shows the descent of Jesus, through Mary, from King David, the youngest son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite.
St. Andrew's Church, Swavesey, Cambridgeshire
"The window scheme of my design is intended to symbolise the descent of Our Lord from Abraham and the patriarchs as detailed in the opening chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. It is not merely a Jesse Tree since it goes back before his time..........."
Jesse appears in the right hand light and is in a standing position facing left. The figures in the window are:- first light, Boaz; second light, Ruth and above her Jacob; middle light, Abraham and Isaac; above them, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child; at the top, Asa; fourth light, David with Solomon above him; fifth light, Jesse.
The text at the bottom of the window reads:-
|“||Who for us men, and for our Salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.||”|
Cathedral Notre-Dame, Clermont-Ferrand, France
Tree of Jesse rose window 1992; with at the centre the Virgin seated, crowned, and on her lap the Christ-child with his arms extended. Eight glass medallions surrounding contain Jesse lying in the lower medallion, other figures including David and Solomon each holding scrolls, and in the top medallion the Holy Spirit represented by a Dove.
Saint Louis Abbey, St. Louis. U.S.A.
This newly built abbey has Jesse Tree window, a fine arts project by students who made the window over a period of 4½ years. Twenty-one panels make up the 16’ × 5’ Jesse Tree window, based on the 12th century Jesse Tree from Chartres Cathedral. Inspired by the design, the students have begun creating their own stained glass window depicting the lineage of St. Louis Priory School.
Abbey Church, Buckfast Abbey, Devon
The church was rebuilt on medieval foundations between 1905 and 1937. The marble floor of the Lady chapel depicts the Tree of Jesse made in the Abbey's own workshops in Byzantine style mosaic.
Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, Wales
The Tree of Jesse window by Geoffrey Webb is a feature of the Lady Chapel and marks the first stage in the restoration of the cathedral following damage in the Second World War.
The large flat wooden ceiling in the Church of St Michael, Hildesheim of c.1200 has the space to include a complex iconographic scheme based around the tree, which encompasses Adam and Eve, the Prophets and the Four Evangelists.(whole ceiling illustrated below) Panel paintings are rare, but a German example of c. 1470 (Darmstadt) shows a Tree on the outside of the wings of a tryptych. A large Polish baroque oil by Michael Willmann (1678, Kościół Wniebowzięcia NMP, Krzeszów) shows a typically crowded Baroque apotheosis scene, with thin tendrils lacing round the figures, but not supporting them.
The nave ceiling of Ely Cathedral was painted with a scheme rather similar to Hildesheim by the gentleman artist Henry Styleman Le Strange, who began in 1858. After his death (leaving no detailed drawings for the remainder) in 1862, it was completed by another amateur artist, Thomas Gambier Parry using his special Gambier Parry process of frescoes with lavender oil.
Riza on icons and mosaic gold ground 
Many icons of the Theotokos are furnished with a riza (Greek: ῥίζα) (Russian: риза), a covering or veiling embellishment of silver or other precious metal such as gold, that harkens back to the Greek name for the Isaiah typology of her role in salvation history: ῥίζα Ἰεσσαί, blossoming from the stump of Jesse's family tree. Commonly associated with the liturgical nativity preparations during Advent season, the iconographic typology's deepest meaning is revealed first however at Easter, when the Christian mystery of faith coincides with the spring month known as אָבִיב (aviv) the Hebrew calendar's first month. Derived from an etymology associated with the many horticultural tender shoots that blossom and appear around the time of Passover in the pastoral almanac, Mary is the culmination of the Jesse Tree is the fulfilment of Old Covenant fidelity by the consummation on Calvary of the New Covenant: the crucifixion of her son on the cross of Golotha. In the same way the gold ground common to Byzantine mosaics refers to the transcendent mystery of Christian eucharistic devotion: humankind's eternal destiny of life everlasting in the celestial Heavens.
Architectural stone-carving 
Relatively small-scale Jesse Trees feature in prominent positions in many medieval churches, most notably under a statue of St James on the central column of the famous main entrance (the Portico de la Gloria of 1168-88) of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Another masterpiece of Romanesque stone-carving, the cloister of the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, has a Tree on a flat panel carved in relief. Several 13th century French cathedrals have Trees in the arches of doorways: Notre-Dame of Laon, Amiens Cathedral, and Chartres (central arch, North portal - as well as the window). However these mostly show the ancestors in archivolts on both sides of an arch, and although they are connected by tendrils, the coherence of the image is rather lost. Another popular way of showing the ancestry of Christ was to have a row or gallery of statues of the Kings of Judah (part of the ancestral line from Jesse) on the facade, as at Notre Dame de Paris, but these too go beyond the image of the Tree. In a shorthand version, a statue of the Virgin and Child on an entrance trumeau to Freiburg Minster is supported by a Jesse sleeping on a chair (c. 1300).
Other arts 
Ivory from Bavaria The rectangular back of an ivory comb (right) from Bavaria, from about 1200, is delicately carved with a Tree of Jesse scene, showing Jesse lying with the tree emerging from his navel. Two branches form a mandorla around the Blessed Virgin Mary who raises on hand to support the infant Christ, while with her other, she holds a scroll. A prophet stands to either side.
San Zeno, Verona
A bronze west door from the Basilica of St Zeno in Verona has a Tree in relief of about 1138 on a single panel, with Jesse, Christ and four ancestors.
St Mark's Basilica, Venice
A large mosaic Tree was put on the north wall of the north transept in the 1540s, by the Bianchini brothers as mosaicists, following a design by Salviati.
Monstrance from Augsburg
A late 17th century monstrance from Augsburg has an effective version of the traditional design, with Jesse asleep on the base, the tree as the stem, and Christ and twelve ancestors arranged around the holder for the host.
Church of Saint Francis, Oporto, Portugal.
An 18th century Tree of Jesse carved in wood in the Baroque style, it is three dimensional and has coloured and gilded figures perched among its branches. Thirteen figures with the black bearded figure of Jesse lying on the bottom. The tree culminates with a picture of the Madonna and Child and a dove above them. On either side of the tree are other figures who appear to be either singing or reading from an open book which they are holding.
Abbotsford House Chapel, Abbotsford, Nr Melrose, Borders, Scotland
The Chapel of Abbotsford House was built in 1855 by Sir Walter Scott's granddaughter Charlotte, and her husband James Hope-Scott purchased a carved and painted wood altar front which depicts the Tree of Jesse, it is Gothic design and Flemish, dated c.1480.
Cathedral Notre-Dame, Antwerp, Belgium.
Embroidered Cope depicting the Tree of Jesse.
The Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories
The Bas-relief of the Tree of Jesse is a large work by religious sculptor Czesław Dźwigaj which was recently incorporated into the Church of St. Catherine within the Church of the Nativity as a gift of Pope Benedict XVI during his trip to the Holy Land in 2009. Measuring in at 3 and a quarter meters wide and 4 meters high, its corpus represents an olive tree figuring as the Tree of Jesse displaying Christ's lineage from Abraham through St. Joseph along with other biblical motifs. Situated along the passage used by pilgrims making their way to the Grotto of the Nativity, the bas relief also incorporates symbolism from the Old Testament. The upper portion is dominated by a crowned figure of Christ the King in an open armed pose blessing the Earth.
Modern use of Jesse Tree 
The secular Christmas Tree, and the Advent calendar, have been adapted in recent years by some modern Christians, who may use the term "Jesse Tree", although the tree does not usually show Jesse or the Ancestors of Christ, and so may have little or no relation to the traditional Tree of Jesse. This form is a poster or a real tree in the church or home, which over the course of Advent is decorated with symbols to represent stories leading up to the Christmas story, for the benefit of children. The symbols are simple, for example a burning bush for Moses and a ram for Isaac.
Click on the images to enlarge them.
Unknown miniaturist, English (active 1140s), Lambeth Palace
Scherenberg Psalter, c.1260. Mary and Child, David and Solomon above, Isaiah and Jeremiah below. Note the doves in the medallions.
The bottom of a large stone relief from Worms Cathedral, end of the 15th century, previously in the demolished cloister.
16th (?) century painting from the Cathedral at Limburg
Rose window from the Basilica of St Denis, Paris, showing Jesse at the centre. This is not the earliest St Denis Jesse window, which is vertical like Chartres.
See also 
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- Genealogy of Jesus
- Medieval art
- Poor Man's Bible
- Stained glass
- Stained glass - British glass, 1811-1918
- Matthew, Chapter 1, The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version.
- For a wider discussion of the metaphor in the Bible, see the section "Root, Branch and Stem" on the discussion page.
- Émile Mâle, The Gothic Image, Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century, p 165-8, English trans of 3rd edn, 1913, Collins, London (and many other editions)
- Tree structure, Root directory
- See also the tradition, apparently older, of the Golden Rose given by the Pope 
- G Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, Vol. I,1971 (English trans from German), Lund Humphries, London, p15-22 & figs 17-42, ISBN 853312702
- See for example, Sermon 24 of St Leo the Great: "In which rod, no doubt the blessed Virgin Mary is predicted, who sprung from the stock of Jesse and David and fecundated by the Holy Ghost, brought forth a new flower of human flesh, becoming a virgin-mother" S1  A search on "Jesse" here produces many similar patristic references.
- Dodwell, 214-215
- Jean Anne Hayes Williams. "The Earliest Dated Tree of Jesse File: Thematically reconsidered" (PDF). Fsu.edu.
- Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 12: verses 6-8.
- Dodwell, C.R.; The Pictorial arts of the West, 800-1200, pp. 193–4, 1993, Yale UP, ISBN 0-300-06493-4
- Dodwell, pp. 211–215
- "Medieval Art and Architecture". Vrcoll.fa.pitt.edu. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
- Sarah Brown, Stained Glass, an Illustrated History, Bracken books, ISBN 1-85891-157-5
- Lawrence Lee, George Seddon, Francis Stephens, Stained Glass, Spring Books, ISBN 0-600-56281-6
- Dijon, Public Library, Ms 12-15, and BnF, Paris Ms. lat 16746, f 7v, respectively. Both illustrated in Cahn, Walter, Romanesque Bible Illumination, Cornell UP, 1982, ISBN 0-8014-1446-6
- Pierpoint Morgan Library M.43, f33v (Huntingfield Psalter); BL Add. Ms 49622 f8. Both illustrated in Otto Pächt, Book Illumination in the Middle Ages (trans fr German), 1986, Harvey Miller Publishers, London, ISBN 0-19-921060-8
- "The Fitzwilliam Museum : Photo Gallery". Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- The Corona Chapel was built to hold the relic of the top of Becket's head, severed at the time of his assassination.
- Dr Charles Kightly, Enjoy Medieval Denbighshire, pub. Denbighshire County Council.
- Malcolm Low, The Tree of Jesse Directory, private publication.
- Church Guide for St Mary of the Assumption Church.
- The Kempe Society, Through the Looking Glass, courtesy, Hon. Secretary Philip Collins MSIAD.
- Malcolm Low, The Tree of Jesse Directory, quoting The Rev'd Clive Redknap.
- G. E. Payne, The guide to All Saint's Church, Hove.
- Geoff Sansome (2012-08-24). "St John Baptist Claines Church Worcester". Clainesfriends.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
- "Jesse Tree, Swavesey". flickr. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- Low, Malcolm (January 2006). "Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, St. Andrew's Church" (PDF). Tree of Jesse. Malcolm Low TSSF. p. 51.
- "On the ceiling from Ely Cathedral". Cathedral.ely.anglican.org. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
- Miraculous Icon of the Theotokos "Myrovlytissa" aka "The Root of Jesse", St. Nicholas Monastery, Andros
- Emile Male, op. cit. p166. Male refers to a full list by the Abbe Corblet in Rev. de l'art chretien, 1860
- Malcolm Low, The Tree of Jesse Directory, quoting Ms Diane Cox.
- Major-General Sir Walter Maxwell-Scott Bart. C.B.,D.S.O., Guide to Abotsford, revised edition by Dr James Corson, Honorary Librarian of Abbotsford. Whiteholme Ltd, Dundee.
- Malcolm Low, The Tree of Jesse Directory, quoting Shelagh Addis.
- "Płaskorzeźba w darze" (in Polish). Dziennik Polski. 13 maja 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.[dead link]
- "The Jesse Tree". crivoice.org. the Voice. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- The Jesse Tree
- Bibliotheque nationale de France Mandragore database 12 illuminated examples at a good size. Press "Images" at right.
- British Library manuscript image search 10 examples found by putting "Jesse" in "Image description" box. Many famous ones not included, & most enlargements seem not to work
- University of Cambridge (search on "Tree of Jesse")
- 4 examples from the Getty
- Chartres Cathedral; many good images of glass and portal
- Various medieval works, including the original Saint Denis window, with many photos showing which parts are restored (click "France S. Denis")
- Tree of Jesse Directory: approx 300 references to the Tree of Jesse listed.
- Tree of Jesse plaster ceiling in Dartmouth Museum, believed to be a unique example