MS Lab 2 Leaf Provenance as Claimed by Dealer
ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAVES, FROM A
BREVIARY AND FERIAL PSALTER IN LATIN.
(Autun, 1472[?]) 229 x 165 mm. (9 x 6 1/2)." Double column, 31 lines, written in a very pleasing uncluttered gothic book hand. Four groups of leaves from a sizable fragment: (1) basic leaves, with rubrics in red, usually from three to six two-line initials in red or blue; (2) the same, but WITH A FINE THREE-LINE INITIAL AND ACCOMPANYING SMALL PANEL BORDER (typically a little more than two inches long), the initial in blue or pink with intricate white decoration and enclosing winding tendrils and leaves in blue and pink with white tracery; (3) the same as the first group, but WITH A SPLENDID FIVE-LINE INITIAL (designed like the three-line capitals) AND AN EXTENSIVE AND LOVELY ACCOMPANYING PANEL BORDER of acanthus, various flowers, and many gold leaves and disks on hairline stems, the border always at least a full column long, and sometimes forming a full frame with bar elements between the borders and the edge of the text as well as running down the middle of the page between the two text columns (the leaf signed by the scribe [see below] is of this type and features the full frame border); (4) the same as the third group, but BEHIND GLASS IN A HANDSOME GOLD FRAME made by a professional framer. Occasional fading to portions of the text, some leaves slightly dampstained along the bottom, isolated darkening, but GENERALLY IN EXCELLENT CONDITION, MOST OF THE LEAVES VERY BRIGHT, SMOOTH, AND CLEAN.
These leaves come from a Burgundian prayer book on vellum that contained both a psalter and a breviary. The manuscript is unusual in that it was signed and dated by its scribe, Gerald Lequyn. He tells us that he began the book on the 15th of December and that it was intended for use by the Cathedral of St. Lazare in Autun, or, as he learnedly calls it, the cathedral of the Aedui, the Gaulish tribe headquartered in the place in Roman times. Manuscripts that are signed and dated are very uncommon in the marketplace to begin with, but what is extraordinarily rare here is that the scribal information is provided, not at the end of the codex (as one would normally see), but on the first page of the Temporale. We could find no mention or recorded appearance of Lequyn in the Bénédictins de Bouveret, Colophons II, 1967 or anywhere else; Leroquais describes a number of Autun breviaries with inscriptions by their scribes, suggesting that such announcements of responsibility were a local custom. Our inscription reads in part: Incipit breviariu[m] s[e]c[un]d[u]m usum egregie ac s[an]c[t]e cathedralis ecclesie eduen[sis]. Inceptu[m] per supradictum geraldum lequyn. xv mens[is] decembris. Unfortunately, the year is uncertain, as the portion of this manuscript available to us does not include a leaf giving information beyond what is delineated here. The date of 1472 has been supplied by the source of the leaves, and while there is no definitive evidence for that date, there is nothing about the manuscript that would make that date seem wrong. We have a calendar leaf containing the feast of the Transfiguration, which means that the manuscript had to be written out after 1453. What we have of the calendar also contains the feast (on 30 December) of the dedication of the cathedral of St. Lazare, which still stands today, its 12th century sculpted tympanum of the Last Judgment considered to be one of the greatest masterpieces of Romanesque art.