6011. Leaf with illuminated initial, 1435-40

Large initial on a leaf from a manuscript Sequentiary identified as the work of Giovanni di Paolo, in Latin on vellum. Northern Italy (Siena), c. 1435-40.

Single column, 6 lines of text with music on a 4-line red stave, red rubrics in fine calligraphic script, capitals touched in yellow and in calligraphic penstrokes, large initials in red or blue, some with blank vellum lines left within their bodies and all with contrasting penwork with interstitial spaces coloured in yellow, large initial 'K' in fluted orange-red bars edged in coloured acanthus leaves, a coloured knot at its central point, on a large and brightly burnished gold ground within a pale purple frame, the ends of the initial terminating in acanthus leaf sprays with gold bezants edged with hairline black penstrokes, the lower with a yellow clean-shaven man's face, mouth open in the act of singing, contemporary folio number "XXXVIII" in red at head of recto, and late nineteenth-century pencil "39" in lower uter corner of same. Leaf: 562x394 mm, initial: 135x105 mm, and rastrum: 34 mm. Penwork around initials faded in places, some areas of gold grounds perhaps with later painted repairs, lower outer corner cockled, overall fine and presentable condition.

The warm palette, luscious acanthus leaves, lavish use of thick burnished gold and double outer boundary lines identify this as a previously unrecognised leaf from a now dispersed Sequentiary (a choir text supplementary to the Gradual) almost certainly made by the important Sienese artist Giovanni di Paolo (c. 1403-82) for the Augustinians of Lecceto, Tuscany (see G. Freuler, Manifestatori dell cose mircolose, 1991, pp. 210-11, and Koller, 18 September 2015, lot 129, for other sister leaves). The human face in the curled tip of the acanthus leaves is a charming feature otherwise not yet recorded for this dispersed manuscript, but is found in another cutting also attributed to Giovanni di Paolo (T. Kren and K. Barstow, Italian Illuminated Manuscripts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005, p.41).

We would like to thank Dr. Timothy Bolton for his cataloguing of the present lot.