Very Large, Exceptionally Fine, and Remarkably Beautiful

(Northeastern Italy [Verona or Mantua?], ca. 1470). 532 x 379 mm. (21 x 15"). Six four-line staves of music with text beneath in a pleasing rounded gothic hand.

Rubrics in red, a variable number of large initials in blue or red with elaborate penwork in red or purple, some of the leaves WITH FINE, LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS IN BLUE, MAROON, GREEN, YELLOW, AND WHITE ON A BURNISHED GOLD GROUND (measuring approximately 60 x 70 mm.), SEVERAL LEAVES WITH VERY LARGE AND ESPECIALLY STRIKING INITIALS IN THE SAME COLORS AND ON THE SAME SHIMMERING GOLD GROUND (these measuring approximately 160 x 160 mm.). The usual slight yellowing on the hair side of the leaf, occasional fading of the text, other trivial imperfections, but generally IN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE CONDITION, the leaves clean and bright, and the illumination particularly fresh and lustrous.

These are memorably beautiful and very well-preserved leaves from an antiphonal (also called an antiphonary or antiphoner), the service book that contains the sung portions of the Divine Office, the cycle of daily devotions performed by members of the clergy and by members of religious orders. All of the leaves offered here come from a large fragment of a one-volume Temporale that would have been part of a vast multi-volume antiphonal. The texts include Saturday offices from the beginning of the year until Easter. The illumination is localizable by the presence of classical motifs in the foliage, and it is of a very high quality. Although the leaves show some traces of use, they are generally in a remarkable state, with especially smooth vellum, with richly opaque painted initials, and with glittering burnished gold.

150-$175 for leaves without illumination; $750-$950 for leaves with the smaller illuminated letters; $2,500-$4,500 for leaves with the larger illuminated initials

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PJP Catalog: 70.288


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