Western Manuscripts & Miniatures | 08 July 2015

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Lot no.

27

Frisket fragment, - a cutting from a liturgical manuscript with music

Sold for £2000

Est: £2000–3000

Frisket fragment,

a cutting from a liturgical manuscript with music, with red ink added during early printing process [France, thirteenth and fifteenth/sixteenth century]
Rectangular fragment, 15 lines in a fine Gothic hand, some with music on 4-line red stave, ornate tall penwork initials, small 4mm. by 15mm. pillar-box-like window cut out of parchment, large area of red ink (115mm. wide) on reverse, with traces of printed letter-forms in this ink, splits and cuts concomitant with subsequent second phase of reuse in binding, approximately 155mm. by 43mm.
Friskets are an important witness to the early printing of books in both red and black ink. As they were so frequently discarded, they now survive in tiny numbers. The frisket itself is the sheet of material which lies between the paper and the print block on an early printing press, and which masks off all but the red rubrics (which are printed through the small pillar-box-like holes as here), leaving these guard-sheets covered in red ink. Early printers frequently reused medieval manuscript leaves for this purpose, and some then set aside the discarded leaves for drying and reuse by binders.
They were first discussed in print by Margaret Smith ('Fragments used for ‘Servile’ Purposes: The St Bride Library Frisket for Early Red Printing', in Interpreting and Collecting Fragments of Medieval Books ), and more recently comprehensively studied and surveyed by Elizabeth Upper ('Red Frisket Sheets, c.1490 - 1630', Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 108:4 (2014) , who lists 21 in total; not including this one). No other example has been recorded on the open market.

Western Manuscripts & Miniatures

Wednesday 08 July 2015, 10.00am

Ely House
37 Dover Street
London
W1S 4NJ

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Ely House
37 Dover Street
London W1S 4NJ
4th July
11.00am-4.00pm
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