Lot 5
  • 5

Leaf from the Beaupré Antiphonary, in Latin [French Flanders (perhaps Cambron), c.1290]

1,500 - 2,000 GBP
5,625 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Vellum
single leaf, 385-93x304mm, vellum, 8 lines of text and music in a fine gothic bookhand and square notation on four-line red staves, 315x207mm, rastrum 17mm, 2 large initials in red or blue with elaborate full-length pen- and brushwork borders in both colours, paginated 601-602, slightly cropped at bottom and top

Catalogue Note

The only recorded leaf in private hands

Made for the Cistercian nunnery of Saint-Marie, Beaupré near Grammont, Flanders. The parent manuscript has a colophon recording its completion for the nunnery in 1290, and it incorporates a portrait of its donor Marie de Bornaing and one of its scribes, Johannes, who is depicted as a monk. The Antiphonary originally consisted of two matching sets, of three volumes each: one for the Abbess, and one for the Prioress. The abbey was suppressed at the French Revolution, and the two sets got mixed and separated. John Ruskin (1819-1900) owned vols.I-II of the Abbess’s set, and vol. III of the Prioress’s set by 1854 (see Dearden, The Library of John Ruskin, 2012, pp.14-15). The other mis-matched set was accidentally destroyed in a fire in our rooms in 1863. After Ruskin’s death, the volumes passed in turn to Arthur Severn; Henry Yates Thompson (sale in our rooms, 1921, lot 67); Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (sale in our rooms, 1932, lot 15); William Randolph Hearst; and in 1957 to the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore (MSS W.759-762; see Randall, Medieval and Renaissance MSS in the Walters Art Gallery, III, 1997, nos.219A-D). Ruskin, however, had cut out and given away a number of leaves during his lifetime. Single leaves are now in the V&A and Ashmolean Museums; one surfaced in our rooms on 11 December 1968, lot 170, and is now Brussels, BR, IV.548. The present leaf was unknown until it was bought by the previous owner from an antique shop in the Isle of Wight, and was sold in our rooms, 6 December 1988, lot 5; to the present owner.