27 - 28 June 2006
THREE LEAVES FROM A NOTED MISSAL, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANSUCRIPT ON VELLUM
[France, ?Brittany, c1430s]
315 x 230mm. Each leaf with a full-page border with bars of burnished gold and pink or blue beside sprays of blue and gold acanthus and naturalistic flowers and fruit infilled with hairline tendrils with golden disks and trefoils and occasional flowerheads, two columns with 30 lines in black ink in a gothic bookhand between four verticals and 31 horizontals ruled in grey, justification: 208 x 62-16-61mm, one leaf with the verso with ten lines of music of square notation on a four-line red stave, rubrics in red or gold, one- to four-line initials of burnished gold with grounds and infills of blue and pink decorated with white penwork, four- to seven-line initials with staves of pink or blue patterned white against burnished gold grounds with sprays of red and blue trefoils in the infill, guide letters for rubrics survive (margins, spotted and darkened, tears in lower margins below border, ink erosion affecting ten lines in one column of one leaf, traces of paper pasted at edges).
Gold, both burnished and liquid, is used lavishly in the elegant decoration of these leaves; they must have been part of a very costly and handsome commission. They carry the openings of the Introit Benedicta sit sancta trinita for Mass on Trinity Sunday, the Introit Resurrexi et adhuc tecum for Mass on Easter Sunday and the Preface Per omnia secula seculorum from the Canon of the Mass. The types of foliage, particularly the combination of orange and liquid gold fruits, recall the style of the illuminator known as the Master of Margaret of Orléans. Margaret of Orléans was duchess of Brittany, and it is possible that this Missal was decorated in that region.
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