English Apocalypse manuscripts

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Apocalyptic Scene, Saint Louis Art Museum

Illustrated Apocalypse manuscripts are manuscripts that contain the text of Revelation or a commentary on Revelation and also illustrations. Many of the more famous Apocalypse manuscripts were made in England c. 1250-1400.

Paul Meyer and Léopold Delisle, in their book L'Apocalypse en français au XIIIe siècle (Paris MS fr. 403), 2 vols., Paris, 1900-01, were the first scholars to try to list, describe and categorise the English Apocalypse manuscripts.

M. R. James also wrote about illustrated Apocalypse manuscripts in his book The Apocalypse in Art, London, 1931.

Since M. R. James' work, there have been a number of more recent studies by R. Freyhan, George Henderson, Peter Klein, Suzanne Lewis, Nigel Morgan and Lucy Sandler.

These manuscripts can be divided by the language and form of the Apocalypse text. Many manuscripts have a Latin text, others have an Anglo-Norman prose text and others have a French verse text combined with a Latin text. Two manuscripts do not have a separate text, but incorporate excerpts from the text into the illustrations.

The illustrations can be divided into several different iconographic groups. The manuscripts with a Latin text all belong to the same iconographic family. With a few exceptions, this is also true of the manuscripts with the French prose texts and also with the French verse-Latin texts. The Eton Apocalypse features a Jewish Antichrist,[1] part of a larger anti-Jewish theme present throughout the manuscript.[2]

This is a complete list of known English Apocalypse manuscripts of the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Douce Apocalypse (21r); Oxford, Bodleian Library


  1. ^ Higgs Strickland, Debra (2003). Saracens, Demons, & Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art. Princeton University Press. p. 213. 
  2. ^ Henry, Avril (1990). The Eton Roundels: Eton College MS 177. Scholar Press. pp. 42–3. 

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