4 June 2008
ST ANTHONY ABBOT, historiated initial 'V' on a leaf from a Book of Hours, in Latin and Flemish, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Bruges, 1460s]121 x 86mm. St Anthony is shown standing in a landscape before a church, holding an open book and accompanied by his attributes, the pig and the lion who helped him bury Paul the Hermit. Within a 7-line initial of dark pink with white decoration on a burnished gold ground with three-quarter bar-border and full-page border of scrolling blue and gold acanthus and sprays of naturalistic fruit and flowers interspersed with hairline tendrils with gold disk terminals; 17 lines, rubric in red, in Flemish, with two-line initial on verso. Edges laid down on paper and window-mounted. Provenance: By the mid-19th century this leaf formed part of a very early example of bound collections of manuscript leaves, fragments and cuttings: it was in an album of miscellaneous English, Flemish, and French specimens owned by William Hook Morley of the Middle Temple (d. 1860), the Orientalist. The album was sold at Sotheby's, 13 March 1861, lot 1057, and again 9 July 1973, lot 17a.
An appealing and decorative leaf containing the suffrage to St Anthony Abbot, illuminated in the style of Willem Vrelant who was active in Bruges from 1454 until his death in 1481. Although the rubric is in Flemish, the historiated initial is preceded by most of a suffrage to St George, which might suggest that it was written for the English market.
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