Manuscripts

NEW! Luminous and Pristine Folio from the Llangattock Breviary

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Fragment of the “Llangattock Breviary” Copied and Illuminated between 1441 and 1448 for Leonello d’Este, Marquis of Ferrara and Duke of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Single folio on vellum, Ferrara, ca. 1441-1448: 275 mm x 202 mm (justification, 167 mm x 127 mm). Double column, 30 lines. Ruled in diluted ink. Unfoliated. Decoration: In addition to gold initials on blue and brick grounds with fine white-lead penwork. three bar-borders of gold terminating in ornamental swags of colorful acanthus and gold bezants; one lavish bar-border of green and pink overlapping laurel leaves with blue rosettes, all terminating in colored swags and sprouting gold leaves and bezants; rubricated throughout. Text: lessons vii (partial)-ix from the third nocturn of Matins, all of Lauds, Vespers, and the opening of Compline from an unidentified day. Provenance: Upon the death of his father in 1441, Leonello commissioned a chapel for the palace and stocked it with lavish liturgical manuscripts. An illuminated missal (Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, ms. α. W. 5.2 (Lat. 239), produced ca. 1449-1457) as well as an account of the expenses for its production have survived [see G. Mariani Canova, “La Miniatura e le Arti a Ferrara dal Tempo di Niccolò III alla Bibbia di Borso,” in La Bibbia di Borso d’Este, vol. 2 (Modena, 1997), pp. 239-94, at p. 260; Massimo Medica, “Da Leonello a Borso: Il Protorinascimento a Ferrara e i suoi Esiti,” in Anna Maria Visser Travagli et al., La Miniatura a Ferrara dal Tempo di Cosmè Tura all’Eredità di Ercole de’Roberti (Modena, 1998), pp. 75-101, at p. 93]. A team of elite artists headed by Giorgio d’Alemagna (“George of Germany”) decorated the breviary, although Giorgio himself must have painted the historiated initials. Since the Llangattock Breviary is identical in execution to the missal, it probably represents one of the foundation manuscripts created for Leonello’s chapel. The Llangattock Breviary apparently survived in a Spanish library until the Peninsular War (1807-1814), when it fell into the hands of John Rolls of The Hendre (his estate in Monmouthshire). Some of the miniatures had been excised at that date, probably by soldiers looking for portable keepsakes or good luck charms featuring the saints important to them. It remained in the family’s possession until 1958, when it was acquired at auction by Goodspeed’s Bookshop, Boston (Christie’s 8 December 1958 lot 190). Harvard bought the first ten folios (now Houghton Library MS Typ 301), and the rest were dispersed. This manuscript is the subject of an ongoing reconstruction project at St. Louis University, available here: https://brokenbooks.omeka.net/exhibits/show/llangattock/intro. Condition: excellent, bright and fresh.

Price: SOLD

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