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Est: $3,120 USD - $4,680 USDSold:
Christie'sJuly 11, 2002London, United Kingdom

Item Overview


[northern Italy, probably Ferrara, third quarter 15th century] 104 x 73 mm. 174 leaves, mostly in gatherings of eight, modern pencilled foliation skipping single leaves after ff.2, 112, 113 and 165, followed here, 12 lines written in dark brown ink in a round gothic bookhand between 13 horizontals ruled in pale brown ink, justification: 63 x 40 mm, rubrics in red, SEVEN FOUR-LINE ILLUMINATED INITIALS in green, blue, mauve and red, on square burnished gold grounds with leafy ornament and extensions and marginal decoration of coloured flowers and gold disks among dense filigree tracery in fine brown penwork, a three-line initial of burnished gold filled with blue on a square ground of green and red with white tracery, numerous two-line initials of burnished gold with elaborate penwork flourishing of blue or red usually extending the height of the page, one-line initials alternately of blue flourished red or red flourished lilac, text capitals touched yellow (lacking all leaves with major borders and initials introducing offices, offsets from full borders on ff.136v, 170v, elements of text bound out of order, some borders slightly cropped, minor flaking of text ink, small wormholes to blank margins of around 15 leaves.) Red patterned velvet over pasteboard (worn), vellum pastedowns, square Hebrew script visible on the verso of the rear pastedown. Modern cloth slipcase. CONTENT: Office of the Virgin, use of Rome ff.1-78 and 166-170v: displaced and reversed leaf with the beginning of prime and the end of lauds f.1r&v, matins, lacking opening f.2, lauds ff.14-29v, two leaves displaced and f.1 and f.166, prime f.30, terce f.36v, sext f.41v, none f.45v, vespers f.50v, compline f.60v, variants f.67v, end bound after f.166; Office of the Dead, use of Rome, lacking opening ff.79-131v; Hours of the Cross, lacking opening ff.132-136v; Penitential Psalms and Litany, lacking opening ff.137-165bis v ; displaced leaf from lauds f.166 and final variants ff.167-170v from the Office of the Virgin. Like some other Italian Books of Hours, there is no evidence that this manuscript ever included a Calendar. ILLUMINATION: The colourful and tautly controlled initials are characteristic of Ferrarese illumination of the 1470s and are especially close to work produced at that date by Guglielmo Giraldi and his associates: La miniatura a Ferrara, ed. F. Toniolo (1998), pp.214-223. The same manuscripts provide comparable examples of the precise and elegant penwork flourishing as the two-line initials which are such an attractive feature of the present manuscript. Their refinement is reminiscent of the ornamentation found in the patternbook of Guinifortus de Vicomercato: J.J.G. Alexander, The Painted Page, London 1994, no. 109.

Artist or Maker

Auction Details


July 11, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

8 King Street, St. James's, London, LDN, SW1Y 6QT, UK