Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures | 06 December 2017

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Lot no.

71

Four illuminated initials from the Murano Gradual

Sold for £1500

Est: £1500–2000

Four illuminated initials from the Murano Gradual , on parchment [north east Italy (Venice), c .1440]

4 initials on cuttings (all initial ‘G’), each trimmed to edge of initial, and formed of soft pink-brown bands, heightened with fine white brushwork, enclosing sprays of coloured foliage with fleshy curling leaves, the outer edges of the initials sprouting distinctive fleshy green leaves, all on irregularly shaped burnished gold grounds with small semi-circular notches cut out of their edges, remains of red staves and text at edges and on backs, small scuffs and flaking to gold on 2 initials, else excellent condition, each approximately 65mm. by 70mm., each initial in individual gilt frames

Only in 1994 was it recognised that these initials were from the sublime Murano Gradual (see Sotheby’s, 5 December 1994, lot 3, and our sale 8 July 2015, lots 78 and 79, and for comparison to other surviving cuttings certainly from that book, see C. Nordenfalk et al., Medieval and Renaissance Miniatures , 1975, p.70, fig.21b, and S. Hindman, Medieval and Renaissance Miniature Painting , Ferrini & Fogg, 1988, p.110). The parent manuscript was one of the most exquisitely illuminated liturgical manuscripts of fifteenth-century Italy. It was made for one of the two Camaldolese convents on the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon, by Belbello da Pavia or a close associate now known as the Master of the Murano Gradual (the Sanctorale volume is now Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, MS. 78F.1). Its miniatures appeared on the market as early as the W.Y. Ottley sale on 11 May 1838, and are now dispersed widely (examples in Getty Museum, Los Angeles, National Gallery in Washington, Cleveland Museum of Art, Musee Marmottan in Paris and others). The present cuttings are, perhaps, some of the most affordable examples of grand medieval art still available.

Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures

Wednesday 06 December 2017, 2.00pm

Bloomsbury London
Bloomsbury House
24 Maddox Street
London
W1S 1PP

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Saturday 2 December
11am - 4pm
Sunday 3 December
11am - 4pm
Monday 4 December
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Tuesday 5 December
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Day of Sale from 9.30am

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