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Lots 2 and 3 are bright and appealing miniatures which originally introduced the lives of Saints Barbara and Boniface in a manuscript that has been identified as one of the earliest known texts of Jacobus da Voragine's Golden Legend. They are two of eighteen such fragments recorded by Giovanni Valagussa (see 'Santi lombardi di fine Duecento' in Scritti per l'Istituto Germanico di Storia dell'Arte di Firenze, 1997, pp.23-34. Of these, nine miniatures and an initial were published by Robert Forrer (1866-1947) of Strasbourg, see Unedierte Federzeichnungen, Miniaturen und Initialen, 1902, pp.15-16; a miniature of St Catherine of Alexandria is now in the Musée National du Moyen Age, Paris). Interestingly, the fragmentary texts on the reverse sides of both Arcana miniatures, visible under UV light, are from Bartholomew of Trent (c.1200-1251), Liber epilogorum in gesta sanctorum (ed. Emore Paoli, 2001, pp.21 & 136), one of the two main sources for the Golden Legend.
The cuttings all share the same distinctive stylistic qualities associated with painting in Lombardy in the final quarter of the Duecento. The simplified figures delineated with thick black lines, the chromatic scheme of bright, contrasting reds, blues, yellows and greens and stylised architectural backdrops have been linked to the hand of an anonymous illuminator active in the 1280s and responsible for initials in an Antiphonary made for a church in Monza, close to Milan, now Jagellonska Library, Krakow, ms. Rps. akc 20/1951 (see Valagussa, p.25 and F. Todini and M. Bollati, Una collezione di miniature Italiane... Parte terza, 1999, pp.15-17). This group of cuttings suggests the parent manuscript was a densely illustrated copy of the text; although many manuscripts of the Golden Legend survive, few are adorned in this way, a reflection of their utilitarian purpose as a sourcebook for sermons or readings in chapter houses.