Johanna Christina Küsel drew the designs, and Maria Magdalena engraved them. Both were influenced by Lutheran teachings, which made a firm distinction between the sinful human failings of the Old Testament and the promise of redemption inherent in the New Testament.
Although many such “thumb Bibles” were intended for children, the intricate engravings suggest that these were probably used for private devotion. They were acquired by Thomas Gambier Parry near Nuremberg in 1851 and form part of the collection at the Courtauld Gallery, but have probably never before been put on public display.
They are now, until 22 July, the focus of the third Illuminating Objects exhibition. These exhibitions provide training for British postgraduates working in disciplines other than art history through giving them an opportunity to select, research and interpret an item, produce labels and material for the website, a blog and a lunchtime talk.
Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: email@example.com