(Italy [Ferrara], 1441-48). 273 x 203 mm. (10 3/4 x 8"). Double column, 30 lines, written in two sizes of a very fine rounded gothic hand.
Rubrics in red, one-line initials in red, blue, or burnished gold, FIVE FINE TWO-LINE INITIALS IN BURNISHED GOLD on a blue or pink ground with white tracery, THREE LOVELY ILLUMINATED BARS running the length of the leaf, sprouting clusters of flowers and leaves with frenzied penwork in upper and lower margins, the column without a bar border having an extended garland of flowers, leaves, and bezants in colors and gold running the length of the text, AND TWO FINE HISTORIATED INITIALS IN COLORS AND GOLD, ONE SHOWING A MALE MARTYR HOLDING A PALM LEAF, THE OTHER DEPICTING ST. ANICETUS IN PAPAL REGALIA. Faint soiling to edges, otherwise AN EXTREMELY FINE LEAF, smooth and bright, with paint and glittering gold intact.
Executed with very great skill and delicacy and in sensitive Italianate colors, the present leaf not surprisingly comes from a manuscript intended for a powerful aristocrat--a breviary illuminated for the chapel of the Marquises of Este, rulers of Ferrara and Mantua, the work commissioned by Leonello d'Este (duke of Ferrara from 1441-50). Fortunately, the d'Este family kept excellent records, and this manuscript is believed to be the Breviary done for Leonello by Giorgio d'Alemagna, Bartolomeo de Benincà, Guglielmo Giraldi and Matteo de' Pasti (See F. Toniolo ed., "La miniatura a Ferrara dal tempo di Cosmè Tura all'eredità di Ercole de' Roberti," 1998, pp. 19, 20, 76-77). Leaves from this book show subtle variations in the style of the illuminations, a result of work done by a team of artists doing variations on a theme. At one time in a Spanish library, the manuscript was brought to Britain during the Peninsular War and came to be owned by the Rolls family, later Lords Llangattock, of Monmouth in Wales, from whom it takes its name. By the time the work reached Britain, most of the miniatures had already been cut out. The Breviary sold at Christie's on 8 December 1958 (lot #190) to Goodspeed's of Boston, who broke it up. The intact first quire of 10 leaves was purchased by Philip Hofer and given to Harvard (cf. Wieck, "Late Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts," p. 130 and fig. 74), and individual leaves appeared in 1967 in the catalogues of Folio Fine Art ("the quality of the leaves is extremely high"), Maggs Brothers ("of a very high quality"), and Alan Thomas ("of exquisite quality"). Regular leaves from the Llangattock Breviary come on the market with some frequency, but ones with historiation do not. (ST12791a)
Add to Cart Price: $18,000.00
PJP Catalog: 74.031