Lot 1
  • 1

St John the Evangelist venerated by a kneeling figure, historiated initial on a leaf from a Gradual, in Latin [Italy, Umbria or southern Italy, c.1270–80]

5,000 - 7,000 GBP
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  • ink and pigment on vellum
single leaf, c.480x337mm, vellum, with a historiated initial ‘I' (opening ‘In medio ecclesie ...'), 7 lines of text and music on four-line red staves (rastrum c.29mm), old pagination in brown ink ‘12' and ‘13' in upper corner, slightly rubbed with pigment loss and monastic figure smudged, stained towards edges, small hole in lower margin

Catalogue Note

Provenance: Sold by F. Murray, Florence, in 1925 to ROBERT LEHMAN (1891–1969), head of Lehman Brothers bank, his MS 55 (see also lots 13 and 19), de Ricci, Census, II, 1937, p.1708, part of ‘one of the largest, most impressive private collections of Italian manuscripts assembled after the First World War and comparable only to the Cini Collection in Venice’, according to Philippe de Montebello; deposited at The Metropolitan Museum, New York, sold en bloc to J. Günther in 2004, bought by the present owner.

Illumination: Palladino published this leaf together with five sister leaves when these were still part of the Lehman collection. She recognised four other leaves in the Cini Collection, Venice (26–29) as being part from the same manuscript, while an eleventh was known to her only through reproductions, Mensing et Fils, Amsterdam, 22 November 1929, lot 64.

These leaves are products of a single workshop but while some are closest to Umbrian illumination of the 1270s, closely allied to Byzantine models, others (as the present leaf) betray a stylistic relationship to Gothic models north of the Alps and may point to a different area of production for this entire group of illuminations, in Swabian southern Italy.

Exhibited: Pia Palladino, Treasures of a Lost Art [exhibition catalogue, Cleveland Museum of Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and Metropolitan Museum, 2003–2004], 2003, no.3b with colour illustration.