Lot 3
  • 3

Leaf with the Lives of Sts Margaret and Adrian, in Latin [Italy (perhaps Rome), late 11th or early 12th century]

2,000 - 3,000 GBP
2,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • illuminated manuscript on vellum
single leaf, 415x215mm, vellum, with a fine large interlace initial opening “Adrianus igitur, natione Romanus …”, 2 columns, 33 lines, 295x180mm, with the end of a life of St Margaret, from “quando ingressa est beata Margarita in carcerem …” to “… secula seculorum amen”, and the beginning of a life of St Adrian (or Hadrian) with a rubric: “Incipit vita et textus epistolarum Adriani primi pape antique Rome …” (BHL, no.3738; which is actually neither the same as Migne, PL, XCVI, 1167, as suggested when sold in our rooms, 20 June 1989, lot 24, nor PL, CXXIX, 1241, as suggested when sold in our rooms, 18 June 2002, lot 5), re-used as a book-cover with resulting creases, stains, and holes

Catalogue Note

Several individual passages in the text of this Life of St Margaret can be identified within other texts, but we have been unable to find any version very similar to the present one (it appears not to be any of those listed in BHL, II, nos.1900-01 pp.787-8) suggesting that it may be very rare. The parent manuscript must have been exceptionally large and impressive, and the initial is a primitive form of the type that was emulated by the early Humanists to become characteristic ‘white vine-stem’ initials. What sort of manuscript it was, is puzzling: it was presumably not arranged in calendar order because Margaret’s usual feast-day was 13 July, and Adrian’s was 8 July.