AN ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF WITH A SMALL MINIATURE OF SAINT MARK, FROM A BOOK OF HOURS IN LATIN.
TEXT FROM GOSPEL LESSONS.(Paris, ca. 1440). 121 x 89 mm (4 3/4 x 3 1/2"). Single column, 15 lines of text in an especially fine gothic book hand.
Attractively matted. Rubrics in red, recto with a line filler in gold and colors and a two-line blue initial decorated with white tracery and four sprouting leaves, the verso with an elaborate quarter panel border featuring animated flowers and other vegetation and many burnished gold ivy leaves on hairline stems, the recto with a similar but more lavish three-quarter panel border (and with a vertical bar of red, blue, and burnished gold between the text and the border in the fore margin); recto also WITH A SMALL AND EXTREMELY CHARMING MINIATURE OF SAINT MARK WITH HIS LION (measuring approximately 27 x 30 mm.). Top edge of the three-quarter border just very slightly trimmed, otherwise in extremely fine condition, very clean, bright, fresh, and smooth.
The apostle Mark looks quite monkish in this miniature, dressed in midnight blue gown and cloak highlighted in gold, his gilded hair in a bowl cut with short bangs, framing a full, placid face. He flourishes his stylus while his faithful lion sits, strong and attentive, obviously proud of a magnificent ruff and long tail. The pair inhabit a room with a tessellated green floor that recedes to a maroon tapestry with a gold pattern hung as a backdrop behind them, obscuring the lower portions of four windows at the back. The text here is from Mark 16:14, where Jesus appears to "the eleven . . . and upbraid[s] them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.". (ST11459-18)