Lot 9
  • 9

A kneeling nun, on a leaf probably from an illuminated prayerbook, on vellum [Low Countries (probably Belgium), sixteenth century]

Estimate
3,000 - 5,000 GBP
Sold
3,500 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Vellum
a leaf, 148mm. by 96mm., full-page miniature with a kneeling nun in Dominican habit, her hands pressed together in prayer and her eyes focussed on a point on the facing page (presumably the beginning of the text), in a rural scene with delicate flowers and tufts of grass, and a series of late medieval walls, buildings, a stream and a wooded hill in the background, a coat-of-arms hanging by a red leather strap with gold buckle on the tree to the left: coupé gules and or, a bird argent in the upper compartment, all within a striking border of deep blue with liquid gold hairstrokes picking out a column and an arch, some minor flaking of paint with only significant losses to the hem of her habit, laid down on nineteenth-century paper, framed

Catalogue Note

This was most probably the frontispiece to an illuminated prayerbook. The arms have been identified as those of the Saint-Genois family, and the nun may have been a member of the Dominican convent at Forest, near Brussels, whose abbess, Margaretha de Gavere de Leiderkercke (held office from 1500), commissioned a number of richly illuminated volumes (Smeyers and Van den Stock, Flemish Illuminated Manuscripts, 1996, no.23). The artist of this miniature is firmly rooted in Flemish illumination of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, drawing the eye through the sweeping detailed landscape in three distinct stages, and sharpening our attention through the narrowed eyes of the subject on the opening of the text itself.

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