Lot 4
  • 4

The Nativity of St John the Baptist, historiated initial on a leaf from a Missal, in Latin [France (Avignon), c.1310-15]

1,000 - 1,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • ink and pigment on vellum
single leaf, 335x230mm, vellum, with a large initial ‘D’, 55x50mm, 2 columns, 21 lines, 235x160mm, original folio number ‘lviij’ in upper left corner, recovered from use as a pastedown, somewhat damaged and with surface dirt overall, but the initial itself in generally fine condition

Catalogue Note

A very attractive leaf from a very handsome and unusually large Missal, with the major mass for 24 June. Most saints’ feasts days commemorate the date of their death, and thus celebrate their entry into heaven but, exceptionally, the births are also celebrated of the Christ, the Virgin Mary, and John the Baptist, as here.

The pen-flourishing of the minor initials, especially the use of purple, are characteristic of Avignon, and the figures of the initial compare closely to the style of the main illuminator of a Pontifical in Paris (BnF, lat.17336, on which see F. Avril in L’Art au temps des rois maudits, exh.cat., 1998, no.225, and A. Stones, Gothic Manuscripts 1260-1320, 2015, no.VI-3).