Lot 21
  • 21

The Nativity, in a historiated initial from an Antiphonary [southern Germany, late 15th century]

1,500 - 2,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • illuminated manuscript on vellum
cutting, 87x114mm, vellum, initial ‘H’, probably from the chant "Hodie nobis celorum rex ..." for Matins on Christmas day, cut to shape, the metal used for the windows and white pigment used for the faces has darkened through oxidization, otherwise in good condition, framed and glazed

Catalogue Note

A very charming, brightly coloured, and heavily patterned cutting from one of the most important feasts of the year, probably made by and for the use of nuns. The iconography is based on a vision of the Nativity experienced by St Birgitta (d.1373): she saw the Virgin as blond-haired, adoring the Christ Child lying on the ground, “from whom radiated such an ineffable light and splendour, that the sun was not comparable to it”.