Lot 24
  • 24

The Annunciation to the Shepherds and Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Christ, historiated initials on colossal leaves from illuminated antiphoners, on vellum [Italy or Spain, second quarter of the sixteenth century]

4,000 - 6,000 GBP
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  • Vellum
2 leaves (most probably from two volumes in the same series): (a) very large initial 'D' (opening "Dominus dixit ad me ...", the antiphon of the first nocturn of Matins on Christmas Day), in classical design of leaves on scarlet grounds with grey-white acanthus sprays overlaid, all within a dull-gold frame, on a leaf 855mm. by 575mm., enclosing the Annunciation to the Shepherds as a night scene lit only by celestial light, with a hooded shepherd with his flock and camp in a woodland clearing, shielding his eyes as the angel descends; (b) very large miniature (before "Maria magdalene et altera ..." the responsory for Easter Monday), a central oval enclosing SS. John and Peter approaching the open tomb of Christ as an angel gestures towards it, on a rectangular ground of elaborate grey and blue acanthus-leaf sprays on bright red grounds within a pink frame, on a leaf 863mm. by 590mm.; both with 5 lines of text with music on 5-line red staves, both excellent condition

Catalogue Note

Item (a) was sold in our rooms 19 June 1990, lot 43, and later appeared in Maggs, European Bulletin 8, no.21; and 16, no.39 (illustrated on the back cover). Another leaf from the same manuscript (sold in our rooms 19 June 1990, lot 45) includes a coat-of-arms identified as that of Cardinal Archbishop Estaban Gabriel Merino of Bari (d.1535; previously bishop of León, Spain, 1517-23), suggesting that the volumes were executed in Italy, probably by a Spanish artist in his retinue.