Property of a Distinguished Collector

Armenian gospel book, illuminated manuscript on vellum, seventeenth century, tooled calf binding

Lot Closed

December 1, 03:17 PM GMT


7,000 - 10,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property of a Distinguished Collector


[Plausibly Amida, early seventeenth century]

illuminated manuscript on vellum, 147 x 100mm., 197 leaves, collation: 1-1512 1612-2 (first leaf excised, final two blank leaves cancelled) with quire numbers at the foot of the first and last page of each quire, 2 leaves of the Letter of Eusebius, followed by 7 leaves of canon tables within illuminated frames, full-page miniature of an Evangel at the start of each book, with the facing text written in gold with ornithomorphic illuminated letters and an illuminated headpiece, numerous marginal illuminated vignettes and cartouches, written in bolorgir (minuscule) in double columns with 27 lines, some smaller initials and headings written in gold throughout, Armenian-style calf binding with small rope tools in the shape of a stepped cross on the upper cover and a rectangle on the lower cover, with a similarly tooled foredge flap folded in at the back, raised headbands, red edges, red fabric board liners, bifolia from an older Armenian manuscript inserted as endleaves (just a fragment of the front manuscript leaf remaining), lacking a quire at beginning (several stubs visible, plausibly once containing miniatures of the life of Christ), lacking all metalwork from the binding, foredge flap worn, spine cracked

A beautifully illuminated Armenian gospel book. The iconography and decoration is remarkably similar to a manuscript (Ms.w.541) in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, which was written by the scribe Melk'on and illustrated by Hovannes in the scriptorium of Amida in the early seventeenth century.

Provenance: Christie’s, London, sale, 21 July 1971, lot 129