Lot 7
  • 7

Cutting from the Gradual of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Northern France (probably Paris), c.1500-10]

3,000 - 5,000 GBP
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  • Vellum
lower corner of a leaf, 268mm. by 300mm., remains of 2 lines of text with music on a 4-line red stave (with part of the Mass for Quinquagesima Sunday), large initial ‘I’ in blue heightened with white penwork on brilliantly burnished gold grounds with coloured floral sprays and the original owners’ initials ‘L’ and ‘A’, decorated border on two sides of panels of gold and blue shapes enclosing fruit and flowers, the royal coat-of-arms between the collar of St. Michael and other initials, and two further initials: an ‘A’ in blue heightened with liquid gold and enclosing a fleur-de-lys, and an ‘L’ in red heightened with liquid gold and surmounted by a golden crown, verso with 2 lines of similar text and a large penwork initial ‘L’ within curls of acanthus-leaf foliage touched with colour, some small scuffs to borders and a minor scratch across coat-of-arms, else excellent condition



C. de Hamel, Gilding the Lilly, 2010, no.83, p.183.

Catalogue Note

From the collection of C.L. Ricketts of Chicago (de Ricci, Census, I, 1935, p.633, no.107), bought by him in Madrid in 1914. Sold in our rooms, 29 November 1990, lot 39, to the present owner.

This is a substantial cutting from the monumental and opulent choirbook commissioned by King Louis XII of France (reigned 1498-1515) and his second wife, Anne of Brittany (d.1499; duchess of Brittany, betrothed to Edward, the elder of the Princes in the Tower, then married to Maximilian of Austria, later renounced and married Charles VIII of France, and again after his death to his successor Louis). It must have been made for their royal chapel at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, or perhaps her private chapel at Amboise or Blois. A handful of surviving miniatures and historiated initials (the most important showing the couple kneeling before the Crown of Thorns, now  Nantes, Musée Dobrée, sold Les Enluminures, 1994, no.28) allow the identification of the artist as the Master of Philippe de Gueldres (fl. c.1500-10; Plummer, Last Flowering, 1982, pp.69-71).

The manuscript was evidently broken up by 1840, and cuttings were in the collections of A. Firmin-Didot (1790-1876), H.L. Curmer (1801-70) and Charles Sauvageot (1781-1860) and others. The peregrinations of the recorded fragments are traced by C. de Hamel (p.183). A complete leaf survives in Massachusetts, Wellesley College, MS.6 (de Ricci, Census, p.1068), preserving the original outer dimensions of 657mm. by 495mm.