Lot 157
  • 157


7,000 - 9,000 GBP
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  • Battling Knights and the zodiac sign Pisces, a two-part miniature from an unidentified text, in Latin 
  • c.1460–70
cutting, c.90 by 90mm, vellum, miniature in two tiers: two fish above, a battle below, with two jousting knights in the foreground and six further knights fighting with swords in the background, the reverse with 16 lines of text in bâtarde script from a life of St Ignatius of Antioch, capitals stroked in red, silver and white darkened through oxidisation, otherwise in excellent condition


(1) Perhaps from a manuscript written for a Cistercian or Carthusian house, to judge by the punctus flexus punctuation, perhaps in Cologne. (2) Unidentified 19th(?)-century collection, with its printed number ‘388’ on a paper label on the reverse (the sister cutting has most of an identical label, as do a pair of cuttings from a Cologne Antiphonary, lots 10–11 in the 1990 Korner sale). (3) W. H. Robinson Ltd, London booksellers; bought from them by (4) Eric Korner (1893–1980); his no.47; sold by his heirs in our rooms, 19 June 1990, lot 27.

Catalogue Note

TEXT AND ILLUMINATION Another cutting in a private collection from the same manuscript has text from the life of St Plectrudis of Cologne and a miniature with Sagittarius above a scene with peat barges on a river (the Rhine?) near a city, and a man splitting timber, apparently Occupations of the Month. Prof James Marrow has attributed this miniature to the Master of Evert van Soudenbalch, a Dutch miniaturist with roots in Cologne who was active c.1460–70, or possibly to his close collaborator, the Master of Gijsbrecht van Bredrerode (see the 'Medieval Manuscripts Questions' blog for Nov. 2016). The style is close to works by the Soudenbalch Master’s hand in the Bible of Evert van Soudenbalch in Vienna (ÖNB Cod. 2771–72), as well as to some of the painter's work in the manuscript of De natuurkunde van het geheelalin (Wolfenbüttel, HAB Cod. Guelph. 18.2. Aug. 4°), which also has Zodiacal signs extremely like those of the present cutting and its sister.

The text is from a life of St Ignatius of Antioch, close to that printed in P. de Lagarde, ‘Die lateinischen Übersezungen des Ignatius’, Abhandlungen der königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Historisch-philologische Classe, XXIX.3, 1882, pp.I–VIII, 1–156 at p.142, lines 10–28 (“gratiam dare et inter meos amicos … sacrificare diis. Ignatius”). Ignatius’s feast day was on 1 February, which suggests that the miniature represents the zodiac sign Pisces (which appears in February in medieval calendars) and the battling knights may represent Sigebert (d.656), king of Austrasia, a Christian warrior saint who led his army in battle against the heathen Thuringians; his feast-day was also 1 February.