Lot 51
  • 51

Louis de Gruuthuse's copy of the Deeds of Sir Gillion de Trazegnies in the Middle East, in French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [southern Netherlands (Antwerp or perhaps Bruges), dated 1464]

3,000,000 - 5,000,000 GBP
3,849,250 GBP
bidding is closed


237 leaves (1 blank), plus six modern vellum endleaves, 375mm. by 262mm., contemporary foliation in red in top-right hand corner of page, wanting a gathering after fol. 23 and a number of single leaves throughout, collation: i6 (one blank, 2 further blanks cancelled at end), ii8, iii7 (wanting viii), iv6 (wanting i and viii), v-vii8, viii7 (wanting v), ix-x8, xi7 (wanting viii), xii-xiv8, xv7 (wanting i), xvi7 (wanting iv), xvii-xx8, xxi6 (wanting vii-viii), xxii2 (wanting i-vi), xxiii-xxvi8, xxvii6 (wanting iii and vi), xxviii2 (wanting ii-vii), xxix8, xxx7 (wanting vi), xxxi8, xxxii7 (wanting viii), xxxiii6 (2 blanks cancelled at end), with many catchwords, single column, mostly ruled in purple ink for 27 lines, in dark brown or black ink in a single excellent lettre bâtarde (attributed to the scribe David Aubert, see below), numerous 1- and 2-line initials in brightly burnished gold on blue and pink grounds with white penwork picking out foliate sprays, delicately shaded acanthus leaves, scallop shells, eagles, horse-like quadrupeds, lions, dragons and a bearded human face on fol.141v, line fillers to match (one on fol. 24v including a delicate golden dragon; that on fols. 25r and 197r partly unfinished; that on fol. 50r partly smudged), one 4-line initial in blue containing tessellated gold, red and blue squares on fol.215r, forty-four historiated initials by Lieven van Lathem (fols. 10v, 11v, 13r, 14r, 15v, 17r, 19r, 27r, 31v, 34v, 41r, 44v, 45v, 54v, 60v, 64v, 69r, 72r, 78v, 82r, 84v, 95r, 101v, 105r, 113r, 115r, 120r, 124r, 128v, 132v, 147r, 153r, 164v, 168v, 170v, 200v, 204r, 208r, 210r, 214v, 218v, 224v, 228r and 235r), 4- or 5-lines in height, but those at top or bottom of page often larger (up to 65mm. by 70mm.), one on fol. 31v somewhat smudged, another on fol.124r with slight damage to sky at top, that on fol. 113r with chipping to upper right-hand corner of gold frame, else all in outstanding condition, eight half-page miniatures also by Lieven van Lathem (on fols. 9r, 21r, 36v, 49v, 134v, 150v, 177r and 188v; small smudge to background of that on fol. 134v), the miniatures with 4- or 5-line initials in blue with white penwork on burnished gold grounds, enclosing armorial devices (see below), penwork foliage or tessellated gold and coloured squares (that on fol.189r smudged in centre), accompanying border decoration on three sides composed of coloured acanthus leaves and more naturalistic foliage, with 6 butterflies, a dragonfly, 17 birds, a lion wearing a helmet, 4 realistic apes (one playing with a kitten, one playing a lyre, one in a hood aping a medieval doctor holding up a urine flask, and the last blowing a pair of bellows up a bear-cub’s bottom), four hunting hounds, a wildman and a wild-woman holding shields, 3 human-headed drolleries, and 7 human figures, all enclosed within border frames of thin blue and red lines, faint offset in reverse of a rubric on fol. 30r (presumably from production of volume in 1464), some tiny flaking from a few miniatures, small scuffs in places, slight loss of ink from occasional flesh-side pages, occasional cockling of parchment through minor water damage, small burn holes in fols. 60-62 (affecting a few letters on each leaf), ink having burnt through vellum in 6 small places on fol. 288 (but text still legible), otherwise in outstanding condition, early nineteenth-century English straight-grain blind-stamped tan morocco over wooden boards, spine tooled in compartments separated by green panels gilt-tooled with title, arms of the Dukes of Devonshire flanked by rearing stags on both boards, green silk doublures, gilt edges, binding rebacked, some scuffs and scratches to edges, fitted cloth case