London, South Kensington
28 November 2011
INHABITED INITIAL C with a bird, on a leaf from a Gradual, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [northern Italy, probably Bologna, third quarter 13th century]. 430 x 314mm. The initial on the verso, eight lines of text below eight lines of music of square notation, rubrics in red, two large initials in red with blue penwork and large blue initial with red penwork, numbered 'lvi' in margin (stain from sellotape across lower edge).
This appealing initial, with its contrasting palette of pale pink, beige and grey with bright red and strong blues, is characteristic of work by Bolognese illuminators of the 'first style', a linear style, still tied to the Romanesque, where forms and details are picked out in lines of ink or paint over flat blocks of colour (see S. L'Engle in The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the New York Public Library, eds J.J.G Alexander, J.H. Marrow and L.F. Sandler, 2005, no 13.). The leaf contains the opening of the introit for Thursday of the first week in Lent, 'Confessio et pulchritudo in conspectu ejus...'.
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