TEXT FROM THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BEFORE THE LATIN GATE.

(Italy? late 16th century). 403 x 286 mm. (15 7/8 x 11 1/4"). Double column, 42 lines of text and headline in roman type.

Matted. Verso with four-line woodcut initial surrounded by foliage, recto with a seven-line initial featuring a charming unicorn frolicking among blooming branches. Recto a bit yellowed, verso with a couple of minor smudges, otherwise a fine leaf, clean and fresh, with considerable appeal.

The text here features the readings for the feast day of Saint John before the Latin Gate on May 6, which relate the tale passed down by Jerome of John's torture at the hands of the Roman emperor Domitian. Although thrown into a vat of boiling oil, the Evangelist emerged unharmed. A note from the most recent owner of this leaf says that it is from a Cistercian service book. The large initial with the rearing unicorn is well executed and extremely delightful.
(ST11035ab)