TEXT FROM THE OPENING OF "THE WHITE SHIP."

([s.l.]: 25 November 1920). 248 x 178 mm. (9 3/4 x 7"). Single column, 22 lines of text in a very pleasing calligraphic hand. Text and illumination on one side only.

Many one-line initials in green, red, or blue, one three-line initial in burnished gold with delicate blue penwork, THE OPENING WORD ("BY") IN BURNISHED GOLD ON A LOVELY FIELD OF BLUE WITH PINK FLOWERS, THE WHOLE ENCASED IN A BURNISHED GOLD FRAME INTERLACED WITH PINK AND BLUE RIBBONS THAT WEAVE INTO A BEAUTIFUL THREE-QUARTER BORDER of flowers and vines accented with butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects, all in pleasing shades of red, pink, vermillion, blue, and green and with burnished gold accents, the royal arms of England in red and burnished gold in the middle of the lower part of the border (verso blank). Negligible hint of soiling in margins, otherwise in pristine condition.

This elegant leaf comes from a modern calligraphic manuscript that contained Rossetti's 1881 ballad about the ill-fated "White Ship," which sank in the English Channel on 25 November 1120, exactly 800 years before the date on Lane's manuscript. The king of England's only legitimate son was among those drowned, and the loss of the designated heir to the throne caused a 20-year period of political unrest and battles over succession known as The Anarchy. Contemporary historian William of Malmesbury (ca. 1080/1095 - ca. 1143) observed, "No ship ever brought so much misery to England." The poem is narrated by the only survivor of the disaster that took 300 lives: Berold, a butcher from Rouen. The theme is hubris, and is summarized in the lines, "Lands are swayed by a King on a throne . . . . The sea hath no king but God alone." The extraordinarily exuberant (and quite beautiful) decoration here is in stark contrast to the somber tone of the poem, but, in any case, we are very glad for it. While the calligraphy is obviously well done, the vigorous and glistening illuminated decoration seems even more successful.
(ST17129-053)

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PJP Catalog: 79.022

TEXT FROM THE OPENING OF "THE WHITE SHIP." ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT LEAF ON VELLUM - MODERN, A. E. LANE, Scribe, DANTE GABRIEL Illuminator. ROSSETTI.

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