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USE OF BEAUVAIS
Northern France, perhaps Beauvais or Amiens, late 1275 - From a Manuscript Famed for its Beauty and Outstanding Condition. 286 x 197 mm (11 1/4 x 7 3/4"). Double column, the leaves with as many as 21 lines of text in an excellent formal gothic book hand, and always with at least one column containing 10 staves of music. Attractively matted. Rubrics in red, chant text containing black penwork initials with red and yellow geometric elaboration, BEAUTIFULLY ILLUMINATED with four two-line initials in blue or pink with white tracery with background in the contrasting color and with blue and pink extensions terminating in orange leaves, each initial accented with two burnished gold dots; recto featuring a three-line "L" in the same style with horizontal extension across the head edge, immediately below that initial an orange fish within a box five lines tall and 10 mm. wide; verso with a large (40 mm. square) and complex "G," the center filled with swirling vines bearing orange leaves, the whole highlighted with burnished gold in 15 places, a gray heron with a red head swallowing an eel perched on the upper left corner of the initial, and a tiny orange dog at the initial's lower left, topping an extension descending the length of the leaf and dividing into two in the lower border. Just barely trimmed at top, touching edge of decorations, otherwise IN SPLENDID CONDITION, remarkably clean, bright, and sparkling with gold. This sumptuously decorated leaf--which could hardly be more handsome or in a fresher, cleaner state--comes from the last volume of a three-volume Missal presented to Beauvais Cathedral by Canon Robert de Hangest (d. 1356). The Missal remained at the cathedral at least through the 17th century, when it is noted in an inventory, but was removed from the church at some point, likely in the aftermath of the French Revolution. The parent volume of our leaves eventually entered the collection of Henri-Auguste Brölemann (1775-1854) of Lyon. It passed to his grand-daughter Etienne Mallet, who sold it at Sotheby's in 1926. Sometime in the next two decades it was acquired by Otto Ege, doubtless the person responsible for breaking up the book, as leaves from it are featured in his portfolios of "Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts." Other leaves from the volume are in the collections of the Morgan Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Houghton Library at Harvard. The text here is the end of a Mass for Saint Margaret (July 20), the complete Mass (July 21) for Saint Praxedes (an early martyr of Rome), and the beginning of a Mass for Saint Mary Magdalene (July 22). Although there is some dispute in the matter, the illumination has been tentatively attributed to the artist of the Hours of Yolande of Soissons, produced in Amiens ca. 1280 and now held by the Morgan Library (MS M.729). It is worth noting that the town of Hangest, where the original owner came from, is only 10 miles from Amiens, and is a likely place of origin for the Missal. Beauvais Missal leaves appear only infrequently on the market, and it is uncommonly lucky to find one in such exceptional condition. [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2013-12-03           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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