Leaves from an illuminated manuscript of Ludolphus of Saxony, Vita Christi, in French translation, on vellum [France, fifteenth century (most probably last decades)]
3,000 - 5,000 GBP
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5 leaves, each approximately 380mm. by 205mm., from a large codex of the text, double column, 44 lines in brown ink in a fine and accomplished lettre bâtarde, one-line initials in gold on blue and red grounds heightened with white penwork, marks on 2 leaves revealing that the facing page in the parent codex had column wide miniatures, all recovered from a series of bindings with vertical borders trimmed away and horizontal borders folded over or wanting, smudges, spots and some fragments of paper from reuse adhering to backs, else good condition
These leaves are probably all that remains of a large French aristocratic codex of Ludolphus of Saxony’s Vita Christi. The text is a harmonisation of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. It is a deeply contemplative work, stopping after each event to ponder meaning and seek explanation for his miracles, often drawing upon the works of Jerome, Augustine, Chrysostom and Theophilus. Ludolphus died in 1348, and the wide dissemination of his work and its translation into a large number of vernacular languages is a measure of its success during the Middle Ages. In the last decades of the fifteenth century, it was translated into French no fewer than five times and then included within Jean Mansel’s Fleur des histoires. None of these translations has yet received a scholarly edition.