THREE LEAVES from a Cistercian Missal, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[probably Austria, later 12th century]
304 x 214mm visible area. Three leaves for the feast of the Annunciation, the feast of St Phillip and St James, and the vigil of St Peter and St Paul. Single column, 24 lines, written in dark-brown ink in several sizes of an angular protogothic bookhand, rubrics in red, capitals touched in red, one- to five-line initials in red, folio number in red at outer margin of the two leaves from the Sanctoral ('xii' and 'xx?i'). Each leaf window-mounted, and preserved within numbered blue cloth folder, the folders contained in a matching blue cloth box, the spine gilt-lettered "Cistercian Leaves, 12th century."
PROVENANCE: The missal belonged to Arnold Mettler, of St Gall, and was sold with the residue of his estate at Parke Bernet, New York, 30 November 1948, lot 317. It then had 173 leaves, comprising the Temporal, Canon, Sanctoral and votive Masses. The purchaser was Otto Ege (1888-1951) of Cleveland, Ohio, who broke it up for inclusion in his portfolios of Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Western Europe, XII-XVI Century, c.1950. A substantial group of 26 leaves was also sold directly from the Ege estate at Sotheby's, 26 November 1985, lot 44, to Maggs.
The angular script and elegant use of initials is typically Cistercian, as is the striking punctus flexus punctuation. Since the style was imitated in monasteries throughout Europe, it can be unusually difficult to localize, and while the Missal is now recognised as having been either south German or, more probably, Austrian in origin, Ege himself took it to be Spanish. (3)