24 November 2009,
London, King Street
Price Realised GBP 67,250
The set of Choirbooks described below and in lots 9-14 will be offered as a single lot, subject to a reserve price. If this price is not reached, the Choirbooks will be offered separately at their individual estimates.
SIX CHOIRBOOKS FOR THE USE OF THE LATERAN CANONS FOLLOWING THE ORDER OF ST AUGUSTINE IN THE DIOCESE OF BOLOGNA, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS ON VELLUM
Andreas the German, 'Totinicus' and 'Alemannus', is named as scribe in the colophons of two of these volumes (lots 9 and 11). The colophon in lot 9 includes the date 1484. Andreas is identified there as a professed canon in San Giovanni in Monte of Bologna (secularised from 1797 and now part of the University of Bologna), a house of Lateran Canons, and in lot 11 that volume is described as being for the 'use of the Regular Canons of the Lateran Congregation' and Sta Maria de Montebello, another house of Lateran Canons in the diocese of Bologna (now the Franciscan convent of Sta Maria Assunta in modern Monteveglio) is named. It seems most probable that this was the original intended destination of the Choirbooks. Both colophons state that the books were to honour God, the Virgin and 'our father' St Augustine. It seems possible that the partially erased inscription at the end of lot 11 recorded that choirbook's move from Sta Maria to S. Giovanni in Monte. The additions to and modifications of the text attest to the continued use of the choirbooks until the suppression of the convents at the Napoleonic invasion.
Unusually each Antiphonal volume contains feasts from the Temporal followed by the corresponding feasts from the Sanctoral for that season.
Several major openings, presumably with illumination, have been excised from this series of choirbooks. The surviving initials, however, are characteristic of high quality illumination in Emilia-Romagna in the late 15th century: comparable work can be found in choirbooks commissioned by members of the Este of Ferrara.
The initials are in three distinct styles: the Antiphonals, lots 9, 11 and 12 are in one style, while lots 10 and 14 are in another, where the flourish initials have more flamboyant penwork and the illuminated initials have infills as well as grounds of burnished gold. This is also the predominant style of lot 13 but other initials, especially in the opening gathering, are of smaller forms, more delicate colours and have marginal sprays. These are close to decoration from the workshop of Guglielmo Giraldi.
Visit www.christies.com for further images of each choirbook. (6)
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