Northern France, probably Paris, c. 1250–60
Historiated Initial L with the Tree
of Jesse. This
"pocket" Bible was probably made in Paris for a university
student. Biblical history and theology were core subjects at the
University of Paris, and every student was required to own a Bible.
The Gospel of Matthew begins with the letter L, here decorated
with the Tree of Jesse. Jesse, an ancestor of Christ, lies sleeping
while a vine enclosing three crowned figures sprouts from his feet.
This scene illustrates Isaiah's prophecy, "And there shall
come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise
up out of his root."
College Libraries, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Treasure MS BS
75 1200z, fol. 446