42
42
Justinian, Digestum vetus (books I-XXIII), in Latin, decorated manuscript on vellum [probably France, mid-thirteenth century (most probably after 1230)]
Estimación
20.00030.000
Lote. Vendido 86,500 GBP (Precio de adjudicación con prima del comprador)
SALTAR AL LOTE
42
Justinian, Digestum vetus (books I-XXIII), in Latin, decorated manuscript on vellum [probably France, mid-thirteenth century (most probably after 1230)]
Estimación
20.00030.000
Lote. Vendido 86,500 GBP (Precio de adjudicación con prima del comprador)
SALTAR AL LOTE

Details & Cataloguing

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Justinian, Digestum vetus (books I-XXIII), in Latin, decorated manuscript on vellum [probably France, mid-thirteenth century (most probably after 1230)]
126 leaves, 420mm. by 245mm., starts and ends imperfectly, wanting many leaves throughout, collation: i1 (i-xi wanting), ii10 (i and v wanting), iii9 (ii, viii, ix wanting), iv8 (iii, iv, viii and xii wanting), v9 (viii, ix and xii wanting), vi8 (i, ii, v and vii wanting), vii5 (iii, iv and viii wanting, and perhaps a number of bifolia), viii4 (iii, iv, vii and viii wanting, and perhaps a number of bifolia), ix5 (i, ii and viii wanting, and perhaps a number of bifolia), x9 (ii, vi and xii wanting), xi9 (ii, viii and x wanting), xii1 (i, iii-xii wanting), xiii5 (i-vi and x wanting), xiv8 (iii-v and xi wanting), xv12, xvi8 (v-viii wanting), xvii10 (iv and v wanting), xviii5 (iii, v and viii-xii wanting), double column with gloss, main text 50 lines, written space 235mm. by 135mm., in a small and professional early gothic hand, rubrics in red, one-line initials in red or blue with contrasting pen-flourishing, larger initials in blue with red pen-flourishing, numerous penwork decorations to capitals and edges of text, picking out geometric designs and tiny animals such as boars, dogs and portly rodents, marginalia by contemporary or near-contemporary hands including subject references within looped penstrokes in upper outer corners of most leaves, vellum cockled in places, stains and splits to edges of leaves throughout (some with original stitched repairs), lower margin of last leaf cut away, early and perhaps original binding of light-coloured reversed calf over bevelled wooden boards (with small holes in leather and some wormholes), sewn on nine double-thongs, with a sheepskin chemise cover (see below) with substantial flaps of skirt remaining at foot and foredge, the chemise once sewn to both pastedowns and now only attached at back, some edges of chemises torn and in tatters, and overall exterior of chemise with discolouration, cockling and folds, remnants of two clasps attached in recesses cut into earlier binding and fed through holes cut into chemise
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Nota del catálogo

text

The Digest is a compendium of Roman law compiled by the order of the Emperor Justinian I (c.482-565) in the sixth century. The fifty-book Digest was separated into three volumes and represented a reduction and codification of all Roman laws up to that time: the present volume includes the Digestum vetus or ‘old’ Digest, ie. books I-XXIII.

binding

This is a substantial manuscript in a what is evidently a remarkably early chemise cover (see S. van Leeuwun, ‘The Well-Shirted Bookbinding’ in Theatrum Orbis Librorum: Liber Amicorum presented to Nico Israel on his seventieth birthday, 1989, pp.277-305; and J.A. Szirmai, The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, 1999, pp.234-46). The chemise consists of a protective tawed-skin cover, serving the same purposes as a modern dustjacket. They are often an indication of the prestige of a book, and a number of important English administrative record books survive in chemises, most famously the indentures for the foundation of Henry VII’s chapel in 1504 (London, PRO. MS.E.33/1: Marks and Williamson, Gothic: Art for England, 2003, p.169, no.30). The traces of red dye on the overturned edges of the present binding also indicate the high status of this manuscript, as red was the most expensive of dyes used on bindings, as it was produced from kermes beetles which had to be imported at great cost.

There are no traces in the binding structures that this manuscript has been bound more than once, and the survival of the notes for the rubricator show that it is untrimmed and its original size. Certainly, the main binding appears original and in an excellent state of preservation, and where the chemise can be lifted from the front of the book the binding is clean enough to suggest it has spent little of its life open to the elements. It seems likely that the chemise is also original, or added within a few decades of the binding of the book, and if so, then this is among the very oldest chemise bindings to survive, and the oldest to come to the market in living memory. Szirmai’s survey notes twenty such bindings from the Romanesque period, of which seven are in a substantial state of preservation (p.165, and note fig.8.22, where he illustrates a thirteenth-century example with identical strap arrangements cut through the chemise as the present manuscript). All of those are in institutional ownership, and the last chemise bindings to come to the market have been of the fourteenth or fifteenth century. They are: (1) that on Gregory, Moralia in Job (Bohemia, 1397), from the collection of Helmut N. Friedlander, his sale Christie’s, New York, 23 April 2001, lot 4, for $248,000; (2) that in a near-perfect state of preservation and enclosing the Statutes of the Colville Chapel at Newton (England, mid-fifteenth century), sold in our rooms, 22 June 2004, lot 55, for £97,000 hammer; (3) that on a compendium of Anglo-Norman verse (England, fourteenth century), sold by Christie’s, 23 November 2011, lot 12, for £170,000 hammer, and now Yale, Beinecke Library, Osborn a56.

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Londres