Lot 17
  • 17

A knight-saint fighting with Turkish warriors, miniature by the Spanish Forger on a leaf from an illuminated manuscript antiphoner, on vellum [France (probably Paris), nineteenth century and Italy, c.1400]

3,000 - 5,000 GBP
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  • Vellum
a single leaf, 475mm. by 370mm., with a large miniature 190mm. by 240mm., of a mounted knight with a burnished gold halo, charging on a white steed towards two Turkish warriors, each with a raised scimitar, the horses trampling a fallen Turk underfoot as a woman in pink robes looks on, all before a wooded landscape with a galleon and ornate castle in background, full border of scrolling acanthus-leaves and bezants, enclosing a naked woman standing in a flowerbud and David wrestling with a lion, large initial 'C' augmented by the Spanish Forger adding a coat-of-arms and a helm, 7 lines of text with music on a 4-line red stave on verso, some crackling and small scuffs (perhaps intentional), else excellent condition, gilt frame

Catalogue Note

The fantastical neo-gothic scene with expressionless figures are characteristic of this notorious forger. He seems to have lived in France (perhaps Paris) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Doubts about the age of his work emerged as early as 1914, but were not crystallised until the publications of Belle da Costa Greene in 1939. The definitive work is now that of W. Voelkle, The Spanish Forger, 1978.  The identity of the artist remains a mystery, but suspicion appears to fall ever closer to an associate of the Parisian publisher Firmin-Didot (cf. Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age, 2001, pp.157-62).  This leaf is taken from the choirbook which the Forger used to produce over half of his known leaves (W. Voelkle, The Spanish Forger, 1978, p.75: "choirbook stock A"), but the scene is a rare one, appearing elsewhere only in a simpler form in a miniature on a cutting listed as Voelkle's L27.