A funeral scene, miniature on a leaf from a Book of Hours, Use of Paris, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment [France (probably Paris), c. 1440]
Single leaf, with large miniature of a funeral scene in which the priest reads from an open book dolefully, as two men lower a body stitched into a shroud into an open grave before mourners, all before a medieval church, within thin gold arch-topped frame, above 3-line initial in blue heightened with white penwork, enclosing foliage and on burnished gold grounds, and 4 lines of text with capitals touched in yellow, red rubrics and coloured panels with gold circles forming line-fillers, full decorated border of densely packed acanthus leaves and rinceaux foliage terminating in gold and coloured leaves and seed-pods arranged around gold and coloured double bars, blue inkstamp of Kushelev-Bezborodko in lower outer margin (see below), verso with 16 lines as before with one-line initials in gold on burgundy or blue grounds, small spots and stains, else excellent condition, 180 by 120mm.
1. From a Book of Hours owned in the eighteenth century by 'M r Jourdan Secrétaire de M gnr l'ancien Evêque de Limoges Precepteur des Enfans de Françe', and passing thence to several Russian libraries before coming into the collection of Count Nicholai Alexanderovich Kushelev-Bezborodko (1834-1862), an art collector who inherited his father's large art collection and substantially added to it during a long tour of Europe after the Crimean War, but cut short by his untimely death; much of his collection surviving in the Kushelevskaya Gallery in the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg: his small inkstamp in corner of this leaf.
2. The codex sold Christie's, 7 December 1988, lot 22 (then imperfect and with only three miniatures).
3. Reappearing Sotheby's, 5 December 2000, lot 61, and then dispersed.
4. This leaf acquired from North American trade in 2005.