Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures | 06 December 2017

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Lot no.


Leaf from the Beauvais Missal, with a very large initial , in Latin

Sold for £5000

Est: £2000–3000

Leaf from the Beauvais Missal, with a very large initial , in Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment [northern France (perhaps Beauvais or Amiens), early fourteenth century (probably c. 1310)]

Single leaf, with double column of 21 lines of a high grade of early gothic bookhand (written space: 195 by 138mm.), capitals with hairline penstrokes and touched with a stripe of pale yellow, pale red rubrics (some with ornamental penwork), reverse with 10 lines of text with music on a 4-line red stave (rastrum: 11mm.), five 2-line initials in blue or dark pink with delicate white penwork, on coloured grounds with gold baubels set at their corners, each initial with long curving foliate extensions into margins and borders (one initial on reverse formed from the body of a long necked bird, whose head reaches up from the lower corner of the initial to grasp a gold bauble in his beak, one large initial ‘D’ (opening the Oratio “Da quesumus omnipotens deus …”, 67 by 75mm.) in blue with swirling intricate white penwork, on pink grounds, enclosing curling vinework forming a geometric interlace of circles and a central diamond shape in blue and burnished gold grounds, floral extensions from corners of initials, that at lower forming a coloured and gold bar border running the vertical length of the whole column, pencil folio no. ‘71’ in lower outer corner, crackles to gold in large initial, small mark from tape in corner, two areas of tape adhesive in margin on reverse from mounting, else fresh and bright condition, 290 by 199mm.; in Otto Ege’s card mount with his printed description taped to front and his pencil notes

Of all books dispersed by the biblioclast Otto Ege (1888-1951), the Beauvais Missal is perhaps the most famous as well as the most visually striking. It was owned by Robert de Hangest, canon of Beaucais Cathedral. He gifted the book to the Cathedral in 1356, and it was still there in the seventeenth century. By the nineteenth century it had passed to Didier Petit de Meurville (1793-1873) of Lyon; his sale in 1843, lot 354. It passed to Henri Auguste Brölemann (1775-1854) of Lyon, and by descent to his great-grand daughter, who sold it in Sotheby’s, 4 May 1926, lot 161, to William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951). It was then sold by the Gimbel Bros., New York, to Philip C. Duschnes (1897-1970), who presumably broke the volume and sold a number of leaves to Otto Ege in 1942 or 1943 (see S. Gwara, Otto Ege’s Manuscripts , 2013, p. 45) . It was no. 15 of Ege’s Handlist, and the known leaves are now widely dispersed (see Gwara, Otto Ege’s Manuscripts , pp. 122-3 for lists of these). The present leaf is hitherto unrecorded.

Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures

Wednesday 06 December 2017, 2.00pm

Bloomsbury London
Bloomsbury House
24 Maddox Street


Saturday 2 December
11am - 4pm
Sunday 3 December
11am - 4pm
Monday 4 December
9.30am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 5 December
9.30am - 5.30pm
Day of Sale from 9.30am

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