BREVIARY, for the use of the Carmelites, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Lombardy, c.1457]
Schätzpreis: 30.000 £ - 50.000 £
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ca. 62.433 $
BREVIARY, for the use of the Carmelites, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Lombardy, c.1457] A sparkling Breviary with fascinating provenance and in its original binding, made for the marriage of Angelo Simonetta, secretary of Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, and Francesca della Scala. 140 x 103mm. 582 leaves: 1 6 , 2-5 10 , 6 8 (of 10 lacking i and x), 7-45 10 , 46 8 (of 10 lacking i and ii), 47-59 10 , modern pagination in pen 1-3078 followed here (pagination skips from 305-406, 659-670, 743-6, 1099-2000, 2099-3000 with no leaves missing), 2 columns of 30 lines, ruled space: 88 x 67mm, rubrics in red, catchwords survive, hundreds of initials in red or blue with purple and red penwork extending into margins and often incorporating birds, scrolls and faces, 2 illuminated initials within full borders with coats of arms, 20 historiated initials, of which one within a full border with coats of arms (lacking 4 leaves: one before p.95, one before p.111, 2 before p.1003). Contemporary blind-tooled calf over wooden boards (scuffed and rubbed, lacking clasps and catches). Blue cloth folding box and morocco case. Provenance : (1) Probably commissioned for the marriage of Angelo Simonetta (c.1392-1472) and Francesca della Scala in 1457: their coats of arms on p.653. Angelo Simonetta was in the innermost circle of Francesco Sforza (1401-1466), 4th Duke of Milan and the founder of the Sforza dynasty in Milan, and indeed represented him on diplomatic missions. This close relationship is reflected in the Sforza arms and emblems present on pp.75 (the biscione ) and 653 (the ducal arms of Milan and the dove in the golden-rayed sun with the motto ‘a bon droit’ in the margins). (2) Fra Cristoforo Avogadro: his coat of arms (barry of 10, or and gules ) on p.651, with the letters ‘F.’ and ‘??[IST]?F[…]’ (‘Cristoforo’) flanking the heraldry. A Fra Cristoforo Avogadro, mentioned in a notarial document of 1506, was prior of the Carmelites of Vera (parish of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Veneto). (3) Carmelites of Piacenza: ownership inscriptions in 16th/17th-century hands on f.i and f.1. (4) Sister Maria Benvenuta, subprioress of S. Antonio, and later, in 1684, prioress of Santa Teresa in Verona: her 17th-century booklabel. (5) Robert Chambers (perhaps the Scottish publisher, 1802-1871): his bookplate. (6) Bertram Ashburnham, 4th Earl of Ashburnham (1797-1878), British peer and one of the great collectors of the 19th century: his library bookplate, no 25, May 1897. Published in Catalogue of the Manuscripts at Ashburnham Place , Appendix, cat. no XL. His sale at Sotheby’s, Portion of the collection of manuscripts known as the 'Appendix,' made by the late Earl of Ashburnham , 1 May 1899, lot 11. (7) Preston A. Perry: his sale Anderson, New York, 21 April 1908, lot 265. (8) Walter Thomas Wallace (1866-1922): remnants of his ex libris on inside upper cover (with motto ‘[Espera]nce’). His sale Illustrated catalogue of the literary treasures of Walter Thomas Wallace, of South Orange, New Jersey , 22 March 1920, lot 88. (9) Raymond J. Schweizer (d.1928): his sale Anderson, New York, 7 February 1929, lot 358. (10) Jörn Günther and Bruce Ferrini, Overlooking the Ages , 1999, no 17. Content : Calendar pp.3-14; rubrics, prayers, Psalms and lections pp.15-73; Temporal, from Advent, pp.75-649; hymns pp. 651-2; Psalter pp.653-859; Office of the Dead, with Litany and detailed instructions on the preparation of the body and burial pp.860-90; rubrics for the Sanctoral pp.891-902; Sanctoral, following the calendar year rather than beginning in Advent, from St Maximus of Nola (15 January) to Thomas Apostle (21 December), pp.903-3023; Communal pp.3025-3075. Illumination : The clear, bright palette – combining saturated tones of green, blue, red and magenta – and small-featured doll-like figures are very similar to the illuminations found in a Breviary sold at Christie’s on 2 June 2004, lot 15, and are absolutely characteristic of the highly decorative and
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