21 November 2012
FROM THE HOLDINGS OF THE FORD FOUNDATION, NEW YORK
PENTECOST, historiated initial 'S' on a leaf from an ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT GRADUAL ON VELLUM
[Tuscany, Siena?, c.1300]
506 x 394mm (leaf); 161 x 146mm (initial). Foliate bar-border of pale grey with gold discs the height of the page; the incipit '[S]piritus' in white on a ground of gold framed in red and blue, six lines of music and text, one red initial with blue penwork, verso with four initials alternately of red and blue with blue and red penwork (some creasing to lower half). Double-sided frame.
Contemporary folio number 'LX' on verso. The initial illustrates the introit for Pentecost, 'Spiritus domini replevit orbem terrarum'.
The monks in the roundels suggests that the Gradual was made for a Benedictine foundation. A dealer's note on the frame gives 'Padua-Ravenna' as its origin, but the delicate palette, with its subtle greys, lemon and ivories seems to relate more closely to Sienese illumination of the late 13th century -- for example in choirbooks for the Duomo.
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