3 miniatures on cuttings, (a) very large historiated initial 'E', 200mm. by 178mm., in burnished gold and coloured acanthus-leaf sprays and an ornamental face, enclosing eight popes and bishops, all on black grounds heightened with liquid gold scrolls and surrounded by naturalistic flower-cuttings, a butterfly and a peacock, all within a rectangular burnished gold frame, on a cutting 224mm. by 198mm., laid down on card, but now lifted at bottom revealing two lines of text and 4-line red staves on verso, rubbed in places with some stains and somewhat cockled, else in good condition, probably Italian, c. 1500; (b) large historiated initial 'E', 156mm. by 109mm., in blue and red with white penwork tracery and burnished gold panels, enclosing a representation of the Resurrection: half-length portrait of Christ exposing his wounds in upper compartment and two angels either side of the tomb with an open book, on blue ground heightened with white penwork and with large gold bezants in the corners, all on cutting 164mm. by 125mm.,perhaps from the Easter antiphon "Et respicientes ...", remains of three lines of text, 4-line red staves and part of a blue initial with red penwork on verso, some damage horizontally across middle of initial from folding and a stain in right-hand edge, else in fair condition, northern Italy (perhaps Tuscany), first half of the fourteenth century; (c) large historiated initial 'D', 152mm. by 139mm., in pink, blue and green terminating in ornamental scrolling acanthus-leaves and long pods, enclosing St. Helen, crowned and with two female followers, directing the discovery and excavation of the True Cross (some retouching), all set within a grassy landscape with a medieval city in distance and before a wide open blue sky, all on burnished gold ground, probably from the offertory "Dextera domini ..." from Mass on 3 May, laid down on card, but with tiny remnants of text visible where edges have lifted, small amount of damage to Virgin's drapery and cut to edge of initial and acanthus-leaves (sometimes roughly), else in good condition, Italy (perhaps Ferrara or Brescia), late fifteenth century; all in frames
Item (a) is apparently from the same manuscript as an initial, now Dunedin Public Library, Reed fragment 37 (Manion, Vines & de Hamel, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in New Zealand Collections, 1989, p. 104, illustrated fig. 113), most probably acquired in our rooms, 3 April 1957, as part of lot 74. The present cutting is likely to have illustrated the Gradual "Exaltent eum ..." in the Common of the Holy Popes. The delicate pink flowers and life-like butterfly in the upper part of the border of the present cutting are a striking match to those in the Dunedin cutting, as is the form of the initial, with an acanthus-leaf spray providing a crest at the top left-hand of both initials, the central bar in both tapering to a sharp point, and near-identical human faces worked into the ascenders.
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