Leaf from the Llangattock Breviary, with two historiated initials, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment [Italy (Ferrara), c. 1450]
Single leaf with double column of 30 lines of a rounded late gothic bookhand, capitals touched in yellow wash, red rubrics, one initial formed of coloured acanthus leaf fronds on rectangular gold grounds, three columns with a decorative border on their inner sides formed from thin gold and coloured bars, each exploding into penwork foliage with coloured acanthus leaves and gold leaves and seed-pods at head and foot, other sprays of hairline foliage and bezants at midpoints, the fourth column with decorative border of scrolling hairline foliage with acanthus leaves and gold leaves and seed-pods, one 4-line historiated initial on recto in blue and pink acanthus leaves on gold grounds, enclosing either St. Gaius or John the Evangelist, as a bearded man with deeply furrowed features, wrapped in a green cloak, another on verso in same enclosing Luke seated writing in a book within a gothic interior, small chipping from background of second initial, small spots and stains, else excellent condition, 272 by 198mm.
1. This leaf comes from a parent manuscript corresponding to the physical dimensions and illumination of the Missal of Borso d'Este, marquis and then duke of Ferrara (Modena, Biblioteca Estense, MS. W.5.2, lat. 239), and must be from a sister-manuscript containing a breviary, also intended for use in the ruler's chapel. It is now usually identified with the Breviary recorded in accounts in the d'Este archives as having been illuminated for Leonello by the artists Giorgio d'Alemagna, Bartolomeo de Benincà, Guglielmo Giraldi and Matteo de' Pasti (see F. Toniolo La miniatura a Ferrara dal tempo di Cosmè Tura all'eredità di Ercole de' Roberti , 1998, pp. 19, 20, 76-77).
2. John Rolls (1870-1916), 2nd Baron Llangattock, with inscriptions in the parent volume recording his family's acquisition of it, already imperfect, during the Peninsular War in the early nineteenth century; sold in his sale Christie's, 8 December 1958, lot 190.
3. Goodspeeds book shop, Boston, and widely dispersed by them.
4. Acquired in North American trade in 2016.