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Auction: Valuable Books & Manuscripts
was auctioned on: 30 July 2020
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Anonymous scribe and illuminator

Estimate: £150,000 - £250,000
ca. US$189,818 - US$316,363
Price realised:  n. a.
Lot number 11, Views: 1039

GOSPEL LECTIONARY, in Greek, illuminated manuscript on vellum with ecphonetic notation [eastern Mediterranean, late 11th century] A splendid manuscript from the Byzantine Empire containing passages from the Gospels in the order in which they would have been read in church during the liturgy. 262 x 205mm. 247 leaves, complete: 1-148, 157 (of 8, vi a cancelled blank), 16-178, 187 (of 8, iii a cancelled blank), 197 (of 8, vii a cancelled blank), 207 (of 8, i a cancelled blank), 218, 227 (of 8, viii a cancelled blank), 235 (of 6, iii a cancelled blank), 244, 25-288, 296, 30-318, 327 (of 8, viii a cancelled blank), 337 (of 8, vii a cancelled blank), modern pencil foliation 1-247 followed here, ff.1-241 written in a regular, round 11th-century minuscule with 20-21 lines in 2 columns, ruling pattern Leroy 44C2; ff.242-247 written in a 13th-century archaising minuscule with 29 lines in 2 columns, ruling pattern 21C2b, four illuminated and two decorated headpieces, initials, headers and ecphonetic notation in red (text in left column of f.22v scrubbed, lower edges of ff.120-136 gnawed, affecting text on ff.120-6, some wormholing and cockling throughout). 16th-century ‘alla Greca’ binding of cuir de cordoue over thick wooden boards (some loss of leather to spine and corners). Green cloth box. Provenance: (1) The manuscript has been classified as Gregory-Aland l 1996. On the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung database, it is listed as 12th century, but the classic Perlschrift in which it is written – with omegas as double-omikrons, pis the same with a horizontal stroke added above, rather short ascenders and descenders and the generally rounded aspect of the letter forms – allows us to compare it to other manuscripts datable to the second half of the 11th century as British Library, Add. MS 5153B and 82957 (also a Gospel Lectionary with ecphonetic notation). (2) Folios 242-247 are written in an archaising 13th-century minuscule, similar to British Library Add. MS 22735. (3) 16th-century inscription on f.247v in Slavonic: ‘Kalitsa, deacon and priest. Stoica the scribe wrote. Holy’. The names suggest an early Romanian provenance: by the 16th century the manuscript may have been somewhere in Moldavia or Wallachia, where Slavonic was the administrative and liturgical language. (4) Sotheby’s, 3 May 1870, lot 341. (5) Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), his no 22405: paper label on spine. By descent to: (6) Thomas Fitzroy Fenwick (1856-1938) and Alan George Fenwick (1890-1966). (7) Robinson Bros., London, 1946. (8) H.P. Kraus, New York, 1979 and 1990: their stock no P1105 on paper label on lower corner of lower pastedown. (9) Martin Schøyen, Oslo and London: his bookplate and MS 800. (10) Robert McCarthy Collection, London. An 11th-century miniature with John the Evangelist was attached to the manuscript as an upper pastedown and is now in the McCarthy collection of Byzantine miniatures (see G. Freuler, The McCarthy Collection, vol. 1, no 81, pp.258-259), but it was not originally part of the lectionary. Content: Gospel lections, starting from Easter Sunday, from John, Matthew, Luke and Mark ff.1-156v; Passion Gospels for Good Friday vespers ff.157-195v; Menologion from September to August ff.195v-241v; additional Gospel lections for select feast days, added in the late 13th century ff.241v-247v; list of introductory verses for Sunday matins, in the order of the eight musical modes, added in the 12th century, lower pastedown. The illuminated headpieces are on ff.1, 53, 77v and 106v; the decorated headpieces are on ff.157 and 195v.

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Valuable Books & Manuscripts
Date of the auction: 30 Jul 2020
Address: Christie's
King Street, St. James's 8
SW1Y 6QT London
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7839 9060 · +44 (0)20 73892869