LARGE INITIAL 'H' on a leaf from an Antiphonal, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Tuscany, probably Florence, late 14th century]
460 x 330mm (leaf), 135 x 125mm (initial). Recto with large initial 'H' opening the responsary of the first nocturn in matins of the Feast of the Nativity ('Hodie nobis celorum rex'), the initial with stave of pink and mauve with white decoration, floral and foliate infill in orange, mauve, blue and green highlighted with white and yellow, with similar frondy acanthus extensions with gold disks, on a ground of burnished gold; recto and verso with seven lines of text written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between seven 4-line staves in red with music of square notation, rubrics in red, initials in red flourished purple, or blue flourished red (lower edge with 37mm folded over, some ink loss mainly affecting verso, some creasing or cracking to pigment in initial on scored horizontals, tiny loss of pigment). Framed.
An attractive illuminated leaf; the bright palette of orange, light green, blue and mauve is particularly evocative of illumination from the scriptorium of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence.
[Together with]: a group of four decorated leaves from choirbooks, [Spain or south America, 17th century or later], comprising, a leaf with historiated initial 'S' opening the hymn to St Francis, with six staves and full-length painted and penwork panel border of scrolling foliage and flowers with cornucopia and bird (with former staves scraped), framed, (visible area 670 x 470mm); a leaf with historiated initial 'S' opening the hymn 'Stabat mater', with painted and penwork foliate panel border, framed (visible area 560 x 370mm); and two re-used leaves, one with penwork and painted initials and panel border, the other with similar decorated initials, both rolled. (5)