Lot 13
  • 13

The martyrdom of St. Agatha, large historiated initial on a cutting from an illuminated manuscript choirbook, on vellum

3,000 - 5,000 GBP
11,875 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Vellum
a cutting, 174mm. by 132mm., with a large initial 'D' (most probably opening 'Dum torqueretur beata Agatha ...', a response for the Feast of Saint Agatha, 5 February), 163mm. high, enclosing two compartments, St. Agatha tied by her hands and hair to the dividing bar in the lower one, surrounded by torturers with scourges and two men who are about to cut off her breasts with flexible wire-saws, in the upper the Roman Prefect Quintianus seated on an elaborate architectural throne before a soldier and members of his court, entire initial on burnished gold ground, verso with remains of 2 lines of text with music on 4-line red stave, and '123' in nineteenth-century hand, folds to left hand edge of cutting with affect only to edges of foliate extensions, two small areas of cracking to gold in upper part of cutting with some losses (one repaired with gold paint), else good and presentable condition

From the same manuscript as the preceding lot.

St. Agatha died c. 251 at the hands of the Roman Prefect Quintianus, having dedicated her virginity to God and rejected his advances. She was tortured and her breasts cut off, and owing to the similar shape of her attribute she is the patron-saint of bell-founders and bakers.