Lot 7
  • 7

St Margaret and the Dragon, miniature and centaur border on a leaf from a Book of Hours, in Latin [Spain (Toledo), c.1500]

3,000 - 5,000 GBP
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  • ink and pigment on vellum
single leaf, 179x115mm, vellum, with a small miniature for the suffrage of St Margaret, enclosed within a three-sided border with strewn flowers and acanthus branches inhabited by a centaur picking grapes and a putto with a bow pointing an arrow at him, with a snake at the bottom, and a grotesque animal fighting with its own tail, tied to an acanthus branch at the top, 9 lines, 92x67mm, recto blank except for ruling, collector's stamp, and ‘597’ in modern pencil

Catalogue Note

From the collection of ADALBERT FREIHERR VON LANNA (1867-1909) of Prague, collector of prints, drawings and decorative arts, whose enormous collection was sold in seven sales in Stuttgart, Vienna, Berlin and Paris between 1909 and 1929: with his stamp on recto (Lugt no.2773); his sale by Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 6-11 May 1910, lot 384.

The illumination draws on the models of the so-called Ghent-Bruges school but the monumental script (the ascenders here up to 9mm) laid out on only nine lines clearly shows that the manuscript was produced in Spain. Josefina Planas Badenas has pointed out that such border designs were particularly popular in Toledo around the turn of the century (cf. her 'Bernardino de Canderroa y la iluminación del libro', Rivista di Storia della Miniatura, 19, 2015, pp.131-50). The fine drawing, the subtle sense of depth and the powerful use of colours showcase the high talent of this school.

A sister leaf, depicting St Stephen, lot 385 in the 1910 Lanna sale, was later in the collection of the Princes of Lichtenstein at Schloss Vaduz, and is now in the Print Room at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.