A LARGE VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF FROM AN ANTIPHONARY IN LATIN, WITH AN IMAGE OF SAINT AUGUSTINE
Price: 5,500.00 USD
Italy [probably Bologna]: ca. 1325. 551 x 380 mm. (21 1/2 x 15"). Single column, seven lines of text with four-line staves, in a gothic rotunda. Recto with rubrics and staves in red, a one-line blue initial with red penwork, LARGE HISTORIATED INITIAL "I" SHOWING SAINT AUGUSTINE, the bishop seated with his hands across his chest, painted blue, pink, orange, gray, and burnished gold, set below a gothic canopy, leafy marginal extensions with acanthus leaves and two birds. With a bit of soiling in the lower margin, inner edge with old two-inch-square repair near the top (negligible loss) and a couple of minor tears, slight wrinkling to the vellum, otherwise quite a fine leaf, with the historiated initial extremely well preserved. This is a lovely antiphonary leaf with quite a large miniature, depicting a seated Saint Augustine beneath a gothic canopy. The prominent size of the figure suggests that the antiphonary may have been made for an Augustinian house, either Austin canons (founded in northern Italy and southern France in the 11th century) or one of the later congregations of Augustinian friars, founded in 1256. The image is intriguing in that although it is quite rustic and the molding of the facial features quite sharply delineated, his expression is soft, even serene. Although not technically perfect, it is still full of feeling and charm. There is some indication of underdrawing visible in the decoration of the lower margin--perhaps it is unfinished, or maybe the illuminator changed the design.