(France [probably Paris]: ca. 1290). 370 x 265 mm. (14 1/2 x 10 3/8"). Single column, 18 lines, in a large, clear gothic book hand.
Matted. Rubrics in red, numerous one-line initials in red or blue with contrasting penwork, three two-line initials, one gold with blue and pink ground, and two with decorative penwork (others visible on the opposite side but not examined due to the mounting), ONE FOUR-LINE HISTORIATED INITIAL DEPICTING SINGING MONKS AT A LECTERN, the initial painted pink, gilt ground inside the initial and blue outside, framed in gold. See: Branner, "Manuscript Painting in Paris During the Reign of Saint Louis," pp. 109-115, and pl. XVII. Recovered from a binding and therefore with some light general soiling, the gilt, rubrics, and penwork initials a little rubbed, but in remarkably good condition overall, and with the initial very well preserved.
This is an unusually attractive example of a bifolium later used as a binding, with the original leather ties still present, the structure of the spine clearly visible, and the turn-ins intact. The illumination was almost certainly executed in Paris; very similar iconography can be found in a work by the Parisian Aurifaber atelier (active ca. 1250-92) now at the British Library (BL Harley 1297). According to Branner, this atelier distinguished itself from competitors like the Soissons atelier (who worked quickly and relied on routine and repetition) with slower, more painstaking work. "United with the great talents of the artists, their different stylistic tradition, and a new taste among patrons, this slower pace meant that the illuminators could spend more time on one manuscript, could devote themselves to their work, and could turn out paintings of considerable quality." (p. 109) If this leaf did originate with the Aurifaber atelier, it would have likely been from the later period, as burnished gold is rarely seen in earlier examples. (CBM1605)
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PJP Catalog: 72.010