Lot 13
  • 13

The 'Tree of Infamy', in Latin, single leaf from a decorated manuscript on paper

1,000 - 1,500 GBP
bidding is closed


single leaf, c.280mm. by 225mm., large diagram of a tree terminating in 24 banderoles, trunk touched in brown wash, foliage in green, 3 lines of text at foot of page in black ink in a German cursive hand, 33 lines in same on verso, capitals touched in red, opening words of each significant argument underlined in red, watermark is Briquet no.6573 (Ulm, Augsburg, Nuremberg, c.1473-6), small modern pencil '4' in upper left-hand corner of verso, trimmed at base, else excellent condition, framed

Catalogue Note

This elaborate diagram contains a comprehensive list of the vices, or more properly irritations, of this world. The stylised tree has two principal branches, and on the right-hand side the limbs terminate in sprouts of foliage which hold banderoles containing inscriptions describing the ills within the monastery; the more vitriolic examples include Dissoluto in choro (negligence in the choir) Rumor in claustro (gossip in the monastery), Preciosus habitus (a rich or extravagant ecclesiastical garment), Obstinatus senex (an obstinate old man) and Inobediens discipulus (a disobedient student). On the left-hand are the ills beyond the walls of the monastery; including plebs sine disciplina (the masses without law), episcopus negligens (a negligent bishop), pauper superbus (a pauper with pride), dominus sine virtute (a lord without virtue), femina sine pudicicia (a unchaste woman), adolescens sine obedencia (an adolescent without discipline) and sapiens sine bonis operibus (a wise man without good actions). The diagram is followed by a devotional text beginning Deus fecit rationalem creaturum. Ad hunc finem ut summum bonum …, and the only other recorded copy of this text is in a devotional collection written 1418-42 and probably in the hand of Carolus Andreae, monk of Vadstena from 1442-51 (now Uppsala, MS. C75, fol.12v). As that is the earlier copy, it is tempting to speculate that the text is a Brigittine one, and its original owner a monk in the Brigittine monastery of Maria Maihingen near Augsburg (founded 1473).