Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures | 06 December 2017
Remnant of a Psalter , in Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment...
Remnant of a Psalter , in Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment [Southern Netherlands (possibly Ghent), mid-thirteenth century]
16 leaves, detached individually or bifolia, each with single column of 22 lines in a squat early gothic bookhand, versal initials in blue or gold with black outlines, 23 initials in burnished gold on red and blue grounds heightened with white penwork and with some ascenders or descenders stretching entire length of border, one large historiated initial of King David singing (illustrating “Cantate domino …”, Psalm 97), that somewhat rubbed and worn around face of figure, some leaves with small white fabric mounts from preparation for mounting, others with Ege’s handwriting noting what they are and adding individual prices, small spots and stains, trimmed at edges with losses to border decoration, small area of lower inner corner torn away from last leaf, else good and presentable condition, 137 by 98mm.; parts loose and parts still bound into battered eighteenth-century gilt-tooled calf over pasteboards (both front and back boards, marbled endleaves and spine present, the spine split down length from Ege’s cutting up of the manuscript), with Ege’s large printed label, as well as another label for a “Leaf from a Confederate Imprint, New Testament, 1862”
Owned in the late seventeenth century by Francois Sallet: his mostly erased ex libris dated 1699 on last leaf. The whole Psalter was catalogued by De Ricci (Census , II, p. 1939, no. 13) as once in the collection of Claude Scellier of St-Quentin, and subsequently bought by Otto Ege from Grafton, London, cat. 63 (1928), no. 1. It was his Handlist no. 12. It originally had 153 leaves, and leaves from it are now recorded in University of Texas, Austin, HRC, MS leaf P1, and University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Andersen Library, MS. 13, as well as appearing in Sotheby’s, 25 April 1985, lot 55 (3 leaves including 2 from Calendar with SS. Remigius, Vedast and Bavo in red), 1 December 1998, lot 15a (single leaf), and 26 November 1985, lot 55 (the present group and binding).
This item has an additional and perhaps macabre fascination, in that it evidences the ‘archaeology’ of Ege’s dismemberment of books, showing his methodology in the cuts to its binding, and his method of storage of leaves within the original boards, even when processed for sale as individual leaves. In 2015, the Beinecke Library acquired the remainder of Ege’s complete codices and leaves directly from his heirs, and thus this may be the last chance to acquire a substantial ‘relic’ of Ege’s self-proclaimed “biblioclast” activities.
Wednesday 06 December 2017, 2.00pm
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