Apocalypse Yates Thompson

Ms Yates Thompson 10 - British Library (London, United Kingdom)

Alternate Titles:

Apocalypsis Yates Thompson 10, Apokalypse Yates Thompson 10

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Apocalypsis Yates Thompson 10
Apokalypse Yates Thompson 10

Type
Extent / Format

80 pages / 26.5 x 18.2 cm

Origin
Date
Around 1370-1390
Style
Genre
Language
Artist / School

Attributed to the artist responsible for the Coronation Book of Charles V (Cotton Tiberius B VIII, ff. 35-80, British Library, London) executed in Paris in 1365.

Illustrations

69 large miniatures. Gilted initials and floral borders

Former owners

Jean Philippe Eugène (1674 - 1732), count of Merode, marquis of Westerloo
Augustus Frederick (1801 - 1843), Duke of Sussex
Thomas Thorpe
John Fuller Russell
Henry Yates Thompson (1838 - 1928)
Henry Yates Thompson, re-acquired by 1926.
Bequeathed to the British Museum in 1941 by Mrs. Henry Yates Thompson.

Short description

Sometime between 1370 and 1390, a precious and elaborately-designed Apocalypse manuscript arose in France. This text is the Apocalypse Yates Thompson, which is named after its last owner, Henry Yates Thompson. Only very little information exists about the mysterious work. Its splendid, brightly colored miniatures in the French Gothic style were made by the same master, who was already responsible for the design of the famous Coronation Book of Charles V.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Apocalypse Yates Thompson

The Revelation of John, also known as the Apocalypse, is the last book of the New Testament. The tale of the end of the world and Judgement Day belongs among the most influential literary works worldwide and has been continuously adapted in literature, film, or in the visual arts. A particularly interesting edition of the biblical text is found today in the collection of the Briton Henry Yates Thompson. The origin story of this apocalypse continues to be a riddle for researchers and historians. The thrilling manuscript is illustrated with 69 large miniatures, golden initials and floral bordures.

The Path of the Mysterious Work

Only very little is known for sure about the Apocalypse text, whose name comes from its last owner, Henry Yates Thompson. It is not known who commissioned the precious manuscript. However, numerous sources verify the various places where the codex resided in the course of history. Its first owner was Jean Philipp Eugène von and zu Meroda, Margrave of Westerlo, and the Imperial Count of Brussels. The Imperial Count, who came from the upper nobility of Merode, was a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece since 1694 and was named Imperial Field Marshall in 1717. Numerous precious illuminated manuscripts were in the private collection of the nobleman. Later, ca. 1844, the manuscript was listed in the inventory of Augustus Frederick, the Duke of Sussex. After passing through various locations, the mysterious manuscript made its way to British newspaper tycoon and book collector Henry Yates Thompson at the beginning of the 20th century. He bequeathed the work along with the rest of his considerable library to the British Library in London after his death.

Precious Late-Gothic Illumination

The Apocalypse was most-likely produced by the same master who was also responsible for the design of the Coronation Book of Emperor Charles V. The anonymous book artist decorated the manuscript with large, historiated initials that shimmer in a luminous wealth of colors and precious gold elements. The numerous miniatures illustrating the text completely retain the French Gothic style. The terrifying events of John’s vision of the end of the world, which fascinated Christians from across the world for centuries, are depicted in a charmingly original surface painting style. The depictions show pictures of Judgement Day, of monsters and wild beasts, of angels and heavenly creatures. The fantasy of the anonymous illuminator, who so skillfully staged the biblical story, was boundless.

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