JOB ON THE DUNG-HEAP, in a historiated initial on a leaf from a Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Bohemia (or Austria?), mid 15th century]
JOB ON THE DUNG-HEAP, in a historiated initial on a leaf from a Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Bohemia (or Austria?), mid 15th century]
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JOB ON THE DUNG-HEAP, in a historiated initial on a leaf from a Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Bohemia (or Austria?), mid 15th century]

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JOB ON THE DUNG-HEAP, in a historiated initial on a leaf from a Bible, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Bohemia (or Austria?), mid 15th century]

Unusual illumination in excellent condition on a fine leaf.

A single leaf, c.355×250mm, ruled in dark brown ink for two columns of 38 lines written in angular gothic script, ruled space c.240×165mm, running headers (cf. lot 452), the text comprising the last few lines of a prologue to Job (Stegmüller no 357) and Job 1:1–3:14, leaf signatures in ink in arabic and roman numerals ‘2’, ‘ij’, illuminated with a seven-line historiated initial on a tooled, burnished gold ground, depicting Job, naked except for his hat, holding a scroll inscribed ‘nudus egressus sum de ventre matris mee’, prickings survive in three margins, the verso with two large flourished initials (very slight darkening at the edges, some slight flaking of ink in the text, the decoration in very fine condition). Bound in grey buckram by the Quaritch bindery.


Provenance:
(1) Bernard Rosenthal.

(2) Bernard Quaritch, cat. 1147 (1991), no 24.

(3) Schøyen Collection, MS 1375.


Script:
This is fairly heavily abbreviated and compressed medium-grade late medieval gothic bookhand. Single ‘i’ is usually dotted, round ‘s’ appears only at the end of words, letters frequently ‘kiss’ and pairs of round letters are fused (e.g. ‘do’ in domo; ‘de’ in deum; ‘pe’ in pessimo; ‘bo’ in turbo), 2-shaped ‘r’ follows ‘o’, the abbreviation-mark at the end of a word for ‘us’, ‘ue’, ‘et’ (e.g. vestibus, cumque, accidisset) is shaped like a colon on top of a comma.


Illumination:
The style of the historiated initial, with its soft palette of pinks and greens, has a strong Bohemian flavour, and is reminiscent of that of a cutting from a Missal in the Rosenwald Collection in Washington, ascribed to lower Austria or southern Bohemia, c.1430 (C. Nordenfalk, Medieval and Renaissance Miniatures from the National Gallery of Art, 1975, pp.168-70, no 45), and to the Psalter of Hanuš of Kolovrat, probably Prague, dated 1438 (K. Stejskal and P. Voit, Iluminované rukopisy doby husitské, 1991, pp. 60-61, no 45, esp. pl. 73).
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Eugenio Donadoni
Eugenio Donadoni

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