The Leber Group (France, Paris)
Pair of Leaves from a Latin Bible:
Initial I: Naomi, Elimelech, and Ruth (opening of Book of Ruth) and Initial A: Judith Beheading Holofernes (opening of Book of Judith),
Ink and tempera on vellum
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection [Cat. nos. 5-6]
This pair of leaves survives with at least 13 sister leaves from the same Bible that are now in other collections. Their miniatures have been variously assigned to the Dominican Group, the Dominican Painter, and the Leber Workshop. This lack of precision suggests the difficulty often encountered in isolating individual styles in the highly formalized milieu of 13th-century Paris. The ornament, figure style, and facial details of the initials bear closest comparison with manuscripts produced in a workshop active in Paris known as the Leber Group. With its precise ornamental vocabulary, the Leber Group's style may be identified by the elaborate outgrowths extending into the margins from the initials (known as ascenders and descenders). These are characterized by cusped edges and spiraling terminals; lotus petals; and meandering hybridized animal forms, the latter often terminating in winged, dragonlike creatures. Compartmentalized initials, featuring multiple scenes, are also commonly found in manuscripts of the Leber Group.