Lot 510 - A192 Manuscripts & Autographs - Monday, 15. June 2020, 04.00 PM

Workshop of the Master of the Antiphonal Q of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice (?).

Franciscan hymnal. Latin manuscript on vellum. With 7 large, 5- to 7-line magnificent foliate initials (1 of which historiated) in gold and colours, as well as 2 4-line coloured initials in pen and ink.
Veneto (Verona?), c. 1460. Folio (41 x 29 cm). [128] leaves. 23 lines. Black-brown textura with numerous red and blue initials. Text area 25 x 17 cm; leaf dimension 38 x 27.5 cm. Later suede binding on wooden boards over 5 bands with 2 later leather clasps (1 partially preserved; lower spine-end torn, heavily rubbed, small losses on the cover, somewhat bumped, front cover slightly warped).

The present manuscript, a hymnal for Franciscan use, may have been produced in the Veneto basin, probably Verona. Its Franciscan origin is derived from the hymns for Franciscan festivities, for honouring Saint Francis, for honouring his stigmatisation, as well as for Anthony of Padua and for Saint Clare, who figure in the last part of the hymnal. The manuscript, written by an experienced and confident hand, contains five magnificently illuminated initials with foliate decoration. Especially richly decorated is the frontispiece with the initial B containing a frontal male face in its lower tendril. The richness of the initials rendered in saturated colours with extremely careful illumination of lush tendrils and flourishes and the tooled gilt initial ground suggest one of the leading workshops of northern Italian illumination circa 1460.


The style of the initials is reminiscent of the illuminations of the Master of the Antiphonal Q of San Giorgio Maggiore. This illuminator is named after his paintings in the Codex Q of the splendid choir book series for the Benedictine monastery on San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. His art combines various northern Italian and Venetian stylistic features, in particular that of Pisanello, and was therefore also already located in Verona and associated with the Veronese workshop of Stefano Marino (Castiglioni, Gino in: Castiglioni (ed.), La Parola Illuminata. Per una storia della Miniatura a Verona e a Vincenza tra Medioevo e età Romantica, Verona 2011, S. 139 ff.).

A comparison of the frontal male face in the initial B on fol. 1 of our hymnal with the face of the martyr saint of the cut leaf from the eponymous choir book Q from San Giorgio Maggiore (Inv. 22112 of the Fondazione G. Cini in Venice) seems to confirm the artistic connection with the workshop of the Master of the Antiphonal Q. The Franciscan manuscript may be assigned a date of production circa 1460.
(Prof. emer. Dr. Gaudenz Freuler, University of Zurich)

The last leaf by another contemporary hand. - Slightly wavy, occasional brown and ink stains in the margins, some leaves slightly browned or with damp stains on upper margin, somewhat thumbed on lower right corner, occasional small worm holes and material losses (without text loss), some tears and cut-outs professionally renewed (in the margins, without text loss), some small seams in right margin (from old parchment treatment). front inner hinge slightly cracking, back flyleaf slightly detached vom liner. The initials partly slightly rubbed and/or with craquelure in gold leaf, 1 with small loss there. However, overall very legible manuscript in good condition. - A few marginalia by an old hand. - The back flyleaf with 2 p. old handwritten annotations.

Provenance: Acquired from Swiss dealer, early 1970s, thence Swiss private collection.

CHF 20 000 / 30 000

€ 17 540 / 26 320