LEAF FROM THE LLANGATTOCK BREVIARY, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Ferrara, c.1450]270 x 198mm. Two columns of thirty lines written in brown ink in a gothic bookhand, rubrics in red, two-line intials (three on recto and six on verso) of burnished gold on grounds alternately of pink or blue with white filigree decoration, each side with two FULL-LENGTH BAR BORDERS of burnished gold with terminal or marginal sprays of scrolling penwork tendrils supporting foliage, flowers and golden disks, HISTORIATED INITIAL OF A YOUNG MALE SAINT (possibly slight fading to pink).
This leaf comes from a manuscript that was sold in our rooms (8 December 1958, lot 190) as part of the estate of the 2nd Baron Llangattock. Many miniatures had already been removed and after the sale the remaining leaves were separated and dispersed. All aspects of the manuscript -- size, format and illumination -- correspond to those of the Missal of Borso d'Este, marquis and then duke of Ferrara (Modena, Biblioteca Estense, Ms \Ka\k W.5.2, lat. 239) and the Breviary was certainly made either for him or his predecessor Leonello, and intended, like the Missal, for use in the ruler's chapel. It is now usually identified with the Breviary recorded in accounts in the d'Este archives as having been illuminated for Leonello by Giorgio d'Alemagna, Bartolomeo de Benincà, Guglielmo Giraldi and Matteo de' Pasti: F. Toniolo ed., La miniatura a Ferrara dal tempo di Cosmè Tura all'eredità di Ercole de' Roberti (1998), pp.19, 20, 76-77.
This leaf, from the Common of Saints, has an initial showing a half-length youthful martyr. Painted with the exquisite refinement and elegance that exemplifies the highest achievements of court art, the initial is the work of Giorgio d'Alemagna.