Notabili et Sententie di Quattro Doctori; brief extracts from selected writings of the Doctors of the Church; followed by selections from Books of the Old Testament, in Latin with parallel translation in Italian, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[probably Florence] dated 1456-1457
265 x 185mm. 176 leaves, COMPLETE, 31 lines written in black (Italian) and red (Latin) ink in an upright humanistic hand on 31 horizontals and between two pairs of verticals, pin-prick from ruling device at bottom right of text, TEN WHITE-VINE INITIALS WITH STAVES OF BURNISHED GOLD, opening initial 9 lines high with accompanying border (spots, light staining and four wormholes to first folio). Contemporary panelled brown leather with foliate border and central sections stamped in blind, the inner panel with interlaced ropework, brass trefoil clasps and catches with star-shaped studs on upper cover, page-edges gilt and gauffered to a lattice design (restoration to spine, corners and covers, worn).
Both the style of the initials and the position of the pin-prick from the ruling device are consistent with the manuscript's production in Florence. In his final colophon the scribe, who does not identify himself, gives the date of writing as 1456 and the beginning of 1457. The binding is identical to that on a manuscript of Ricoldo de Monte Cruce's Libellus contra Legem Saracenorum (Sotheby's, 18 June 1991, lot 82) written in Bologna and finished 9 April 1442.
Eduardo Lopez, his 16th-century signature on front end-leaf; blue-edged label with the shelf-mark 145.D inside upper cover: Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg, 1951, cats 43 and 44); Walter Hirst, his bookplate inside upper cover.
This is an anthology of notable sayings and opinions extracted from the writings of the Doctors of the Church and the Prophets. Through selection and brevity their worthy thoughts were delivered to the reader in a digestible form and were made accessible to an even wider audience by giving the quotations in Italian as well as Latin. While the composition of 'Sentences' from patristic texts were not uncommon, their provision, as in this manuscript with parallel translations in Italian, is exceptional and is interesting evidence in the rising importance of the vernacular in the 15th century. The teachings were no doubt made even more approachable and attractive by their presentation in a handsomely produced humanistic manner. The extracts are from: St Jerome, Epistles ff.1-45v; St Gregory, Moralia in Job ff.46-130v and Homilies on Ezechiel ff.130v-135; St Augustine, City of God ff.135-140 and Confessions ff.140v-146v; St Ambrose, De Iacob et Vita Beata ff.146v-150; St Cyprian, Ad Donatum ff.150v-151; Isaiah ff.151v-153; Jeremiah ff.153v-154v; Psalms ff.154v-159v; Job
ff.160-167v; Proverbs ff.167v-176.