Lot 49
  • 49

Mary Magdalene Visited at her Cave, historiated initial by the Spanish Forger [France (Paris), late 19th or early 20th century]

1,000 - 1,500 GBP
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  • manuscript and pigment on vellum
cutting, 225x225mm, vellum, large initial 'A' depicting three lay-people visiting a female saint-hermit, probably Mary Magdalene (or perhaps Mary of Egypt), at the entrance to her cave, her simple garb revealing large amounts of bare flesh, painted on a cutting from a 14th-century Italian Antiphoner, the reverse with remains of text and music for Lauds on Palm Sunday on 4 four-line red staves, rastrum 25mm, gold somewhat cracked as usual

Catalogue Note

Said to have been found in an attic in Neuilly, Paris; Librairie Lardanchet, Paris; purchased in 1977 by a New York private collection (W. Voelkle, The Spanish Forger, 1978, no.L47, fig.238).

‘The Spanish Forger was one of the most skilful, successful, and prolific forgers of all time … they are increasingly sold and collected as his forgeries’ (Voelkle, op.cit., p.9). The Forger, who surely worked in France, not Spain, seems to have been active from the 1870s to the 1920s, and his output must have been especially sought-after following the 1904 exhibition in Paris of French ‘Primitives’, in which the work of medieval French artists such as Jean Fouquet became more widely known and appreciated as landmarks of national patrimony.