Lot Number 45
Year Published 1465
Printed By
Description MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [NORTHERN FRANCE (DOUBTLESS PARIS), C.1465] 140 leaves (4 blank), plus original endleaves and pastedowns, 155mm. by 112mm., complete, collation: i-ii6, iii8, iv4, v-xviii8, xix4,17 lines in dark brown ink in a fine and angular late gothic bookhand with some ornamental cadels, capitals touched in yellow, rubrics in red, one- to 4-line initials in scrolling liquid gold on blue or red grounds, linefillers to match, each text page with a decorated panel of acanthus leaf sprays and more realistic foliage, many with insects, birds, animals and drolleries (including two bears playing bagpipes, two boars on crutches, a fox, two long-nosed goblins with cudgels, two pelicans pecking their own breasts to feed their chicks, two cats washing themselves), each Calendar leaf with two small miniatures (zodiac symbols and occupations) set within three-quarter borders of coloured foliage and fruit on dull-gold or blank vellum grounds, two small miniatures (7 lines; fols.136v-38r), fifteen three-quarter page miniatures (fols.18r, 25r, 41r, 49r, 50r, 51r, 55r, 58r, 61r, 64r, 67r, 72r, 86r, 109r and 120r) each within full borders of foliage and fruit on dull-gold or blank vellum grounds enclosing drolleries, scenes of jousting and an elephant with an elaborate castle on its back (see below), and above 4-line initials, thumbing to edges of some leaves with some small damage to borders and some Calendar miniatures, flaking from centre of initial on fol.55r around a wormhole, other occasional small smudges and slightly trimmed, else in clean and presentable condition, somewhat battered sixteenth-century gilt panel-stamped binding of calf over pasteboards (corners rubbed, boards detached from thongs but held in place firmly by pastedowns, split along spine with areas of spine lifted)
Comments text The volume comprises: a Calendar (fol.1r); Gospel readings (fol.13r); the Obsecro te (fol.18r) and O intemerata; the Hours of the Virgin 'mixed' with the Hours of the Cross and the Holy Ghost, with Matins (fol.25r), Lauds (fol.41r), Prime (fol.51r), Terce (fol.55r), Sext (fol.58r), None (fol.61r), Vespers (fol.64r) and Compline (fol.67r); the Seven Penitential Psalms (fol.72r) with a Litany; the Office of the Dead (fol.86r); the Quinze Joyes (fol.109r) and the Sept Requêles (fol.114r); prayers in French verse on St. Margaret, opening "Apres la sancte passion ..." (fol.120r), and suffrages to SS. Denis and Katherine. illumination The miniatures are fine and detailed examples of the Maître François style, which dominated the artistic output of Paris from c.1460 to 1480 (Avril and Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures, 1993, pp.45-52). What is of especial note here is the wealth of whimsical and often secular illumination in the drolleries and scenes in the borders of the leaves. The injured boars hobbling along on crutches and the cats washing themselves add nods towards the small and even mundane details of daily life in the late Middle Ages, while the scenes of the Moor seated on a camel banging a drum and the elephant with the two-tiered stone-castle carrying an army of bowmen point towards the fantastical world imagined beyond the boundaries of Europe. The significant miniatures comprise: (1) fol.18r, the Virgin and Child enthroned within two brightly coloured ornamental pillars touched in liquid gold, 85mm. by 70mm., in the borders a white elephant with an elaborate two-tiered stone castle on his back with a multitude of bowmen on its first level and a single man blowing a long serpent-like horn at its apex, facing a single bowman and beneath a white hunting hound; (2) fol. 25r, the Annunciation within a richly decorated gothic interior with ornamental pillars and sumptuous cloths, the angel in a fine robe edged and patterned in liquid gold, 84mm. by 65mm., a bearded drollery and a fly in the border; (3) fol.41r, the Visitation before a medieval walled city, a river in flood and a wide detailed landscape, 82mm. by 70mm., a drollery wearing a coif in the border; (4) fol.49r, the Crucifixion, 82mm. by 70mm., a drollery with a long curved neck in the border; (5) fol.50r, Pentecost with a rich gothic interior with details picked out in liquid gold, 80mm. by 67mm., a blue drollery in the border; (6) fol.51r, the Nativity, with the Virgin and Joseph kneeling either side of the Child as light radiates from him, two shepherds looking on and pointing, 82mm. by 70mm., a large bird in the border; (7) fol.55r, the Annunciation to the Shepherds, 75mm. by 67mm., a bird with a fly in its beak in the border; (8) fol.58r, the Visitation of the Magi, 85mm. by 65mm.; (9) fol.61r, the Presentation in the Temple, 83mm. by 65mm., a snail and a butterfly in the border; (10) fol.64r, the Flight into Egypt, with Joseph leading Mary on a donkey as a statue falls from its pillar in the background, 84mm. by 69mm., a bird in the border; (11) fol.67r, the Coronation of the Virgin, 83mm. by 70mm., an acrobat with bells tied around his knees and a knight in armour atop a floppy-eared grey quadruped jousting with a large stork-like bird in the border; (12) fol.72r, King David kneeling in prayer in a rich interior as a tiny gold angel is directed by God to carry a sword to him, 85mm. by 70mm., two winged drolleries in the border; (13) fol.86r, a funeral, with tonsured priests in blue robes flecked with gold fleur-de-lys singing from two choirbooks on carved lecterns, 85mm. by 70mm., a winged drollery and a putto riding a drollery in the border; (14) fol.109r, the Pietà, 86mm. by 70mm., two drolleries and a bird in the border; (15) fol.120r, St. Margaret holding a golden cross emerging from the side of the dragon, within a delicately painted ornamental courtyard, 85mm. by 65mm., a snail and a Moor riding a shaggy camel and beating a drum in the border.
Estimated Price GBP 20,000.00 - 30,000.00
( USD 33,600.00 - 50,400.00 )
Actual Price GBP 49,250.00 ( USD 78,800.00 )



Auction House Sothebys
Auction Name The Collection of Giovanni and Gabriella Barilla
Sale Number #L12309
Auction Date March 14, 2012 - March 14, 2012
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