(France [probably Toulouse]: early 14th century). 498 x 372 mm. (19 1/2 x 14 1/2"). Double column, 34 lines of text in a fine gothic book hand.

Matted. Rubrics in red, five two-line initials in blue or red with contrasting penwork, A FOUR-LINE INITIAL INHABITED BY THE HEAD OF A BEAST, this initial painted pink on a ground of red and blue, the beast's head within a intertwining double frame and on a ground of gold, with long extenders curling into the margins and ending in trefoil designs, A FIVE-LINE HISTORIATED INITIAL DEPICTING SAINT AUGUSTINE PREACHING, the figures in blue, red, green, and white on a gold ground, the initial painted blue on an orange and white ground with extenders in the same manner as the other initial. Randall, "Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery" I, 158-62, no. 60, and figs. 124-5; De Ricci I, 768, no. 70. One side of the leaf reinforced with very thin strips of vellum on three edges, minor smearing and a bit of rubbing to the heads of the figures, a little general soiling and wrinkling and the text slightly faded in places, but still a very impressive leaf without any serious condition issues, and the historiated initial in an excellent state of preservation.

This is a previously unrecorded leaf from a fragmentary Choir Breviary now residing at the Walters Art Gallery. The original manuscript was apparently quite large (Randall estimates three volumes) and was broken up at some point in the late 19th or early 20th century, possibly by the Parisian binder and bookseller Gruel (who rebound the 84 leaves now at the Walters). Textual evidence from the extant fragment points to an origin of Toulouse. The workshop has not been identified, but the sister leaves indicate at least three or four hands at work, with varying artistic talent but a fairly consistent color palette used throughout as well as an imaginative and varied program of images depicting royalty, martyrdoms, biblical scenes, and episodes from saints' lives. The present leaf, with an historiated initial depicting Saint Augustine dressed in Bishop's attire and preaching to a group of men in an animated fashion, corresponds to both the palette and decorative program noted by Randall, as well as the other main distinguishing features of the Walters fragment (written space, number of lines, musical notation, etc.). The colors here are particularly vivid and the leaf itself impressively large. A fine specimen.

Add to Cart Price: $8,500.00

PJP Catalog: 72.012


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