Manuscripts

Monumental Italian Homiliary with Inhabited Initial

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PRICE: $4500

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Romanesque Homiliary. Single folio on vellum. Central Italy, either Tuscany (possibly Pisa) or Rome, ca. 1175: 500 mm x 334 mm, an extremely large leaf. Double column, 48 lines. Unfoliated, but the number “71” in modern pencil appears in the upper right-hand margin of the recto. Decoration: seven-line initial U approx. 55 x 48 mm in bright red, blue, gold and gray and brown. The bow of the initial terminates in the face of a man in profile with a large beard and red tongue curling from his mouth. Text: on the recto, which is now washed clean, is the bulk of Gregory the Great’s Homily 30 for the feast of Pentecost on John 14.23-31; lesson for feria secunda (therefore the Monday after Pentecost) from John 3.16, “For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son”; following this is a homily comprised of an excerpt from Homily XVI by the Venerable Bede followed by an excerpt from St. Augustine’s Tractatus in Iohannis Evangelium, cap. xii. Together they comprise a homily on the lesson. Provenance: the sister leaf of our manuscript was sold at Christie’s, 1 June 2009 lot 3. It was conjectured then to come from Pisa, and the emergence of our leaf provides enough evidence for a buyer to investigate the origin. Condition: formerly used as a binding, hence with defects. The recto, which only contained text, has been washed clean, while the verso is in good condition. Angular cuts at the top with some loss of text; folds, stains, spots, wrinkles and holes as expected.

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