Lot 14
  • 14

Three historiated initials from illuminated manuscript choirbooks, on vellum [fifteenth to eighteenth century]

3,000 - 5,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Vellum
three cuttings: (a) cutting from a choirbook, 180mm. by 150mm., with a large initial ‘L’ (probably opening “Levavi oculos …”, Psalm 121), in soft pink with coloured acanthus-leaves terminating in gold fruit and bezants, all on burnished gold and blue grounds, enclosing a rosy-cheeked King David with a gold crown looking to the heavens as God the Father appears above him in a roundel, remains of 6 lines of text with music on a 4-line red stave, one simple blue initial with contrasting red penwork, slight water damage affecting text, else good, northern Italy (perhaps Tuscany), mid-fifteenth century; (b) cutting from a choirbook, 132mm. by 100mm., with a large initial ‘C’ in green with  scrolling white-edged acanthus-leaves wrapping around central bars formed of red twigs, 112mm. by 90mm., enclosing Christ emerging from the tomb, his pink robe billowing out behind him as the armed soldiers sleep next to the sarcophagus and the three Maries approach from the background, all before a brightly burnished gold ground with pouncing picking out chevrons and Christ’s halo, one line of text on recto, 4 lines of text with music on a 4-line stave on verso, some occasional small flakes from paint, bisected across middle and partly laid down on a fragment of an eighteenth-century German document, else good, southern Germany, dated “1584” on the side of the tomb; (c) cutting with a large initial ‘P’, 176mm. by 165mm., in split bands of gold shadowed in red, terminating in realistic fruit bursting from flower buds and coloured acanthus-leaves, enclosing a naked putti holding two keys (perhaps therefore from an office of Saint Peter), remains of two lines of text on verso with music on a 4-line red stave, small scuffs, else fine, probably Italy, seventeenth century; items (a) and (c) in gilt frames, (b) in a card mount