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Auction: Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts
was auctioned on: 12 June 2013
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Estimate: £70,000 - £100,000
ca. US$108,370 - US$154,815
Price realised:  £85,875
ca. US$132,947
Lot number 32, Views: 67

THE BOOK OF THE FRATERNITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF BILLERBECK, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [Germany, likely the diocese of Münster, end 15th century] 360 x 250mm. iii (medieval pastedown and flyleaves) + 57 leaves: 1-5 8 , 6 9 (of 8, f.44 inserted), 7 8 , COMPLETE, the leaves apparently untrimmed: prickings occasionally survive, leaf signatures survive in some gatherings ('a', 'd' and 'e'), and instructions to the rubricator often survive at the lower edge of leaves, two columns of 30 lines written in a fine regular gothic bookhand in black ink, justification: c.245 x 160mm, rubrics in red, music in hufnagel notation on four-line staves, one FULL-PAGE MINIATURE depicting the Crucifixion at the Canon of the Mass (f.44), TWO LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS in blue with gold foliate patterns, infilled and surrounded by leafy penwork designs in red ink against a green background, the penwork extending the full height of the text to form a partial border, one three-line (f.34v) and one two-line initial (f.41) in blue with red penwork, three-, two- and one-line initials alternately red or blue, three-line cadels at the start of pieces of music stroked in red (first and last few leaves creased, some corners dog-eared, signs of use and wear throughout, rubrics sometimes worn, not significantly affecting legibility). CONTEMPORARY BINDING: sewn on five slit tawed thongs laced into short horizontal channels in oak boards with rounded edges, covered with dark brown leather decorated with a blind-tooled lattice pattern within a frame, the upper board with traces of clasp fittings, the lower board with nail-holes and recesses for corresponding catches (some of the thongs coming loose, the leather somewhat scuffed and defective, and shrunk so that it no longer fits the boards neatly). PROVENANCE: THE FRATERNITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF BILLERBECK, IN THE DIOCESE OF MüNSTER: an inscription on the flyleaf facing the opening of the text and written by the main scribe of the manuscript reads, 'H(u)nc libru(m) scribi fecit d(omi)n(u)s theodricus wiggerink p(re)sbiter curatus in Ottensteyn p(ro)prius expensis ad usu(m) fraternitatis spiritus sancti pro debito exitus sui'. The Ottenstein of which Wiggerink was the parish priest is clearly the town in Westmünsterland (Nordrein-Westfalen) that lies close to the border with The Netherlands: the style of the illuminated initials is localisable to the eastern part of the northern Netherlands; on f.50 among the rules of the Fraternity, a joining fee in Münster currency is stipulated ('et a fratribus admissus fuerit tres solidos denariorum monast. [i.e. of Münster] camerario nostro per introitu prompte soluet'), and although the Use of the Office of the Dead is not recorded by Ottosen ( The Responsories and Versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead , 1993), the first three responsories are recorded only from sources attributed by him to Münster (p.194), and the other six correspond to this Münster series (with the exception of the 4th and 5th, which are reversed). One of the two great fraternities in the territory of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster -- later known as the Grosse Kaland des hl. Geistes -- was founded in 1314 by Bishop Ludwig II of Hesse in the town of Billerbeck, which lies halfway between Ottenstein and Münster. The liber decani of the Kaland of Billerbeck in the archive of St Johannes (Hs.14), was not compiled before 1568 but it records the full list of deceased members; Dirick Wigherinck, undoubtedly the Theodricus Wiggerinck of the donation inscription, is one of them. The date of his death is not given but the position of his name in the list suggests sometime in the decades to either side of 1500, the date added to the record of gift. The Canon of the Mass includes 'our king' after the Pope and the Bishop. This is presumably a reference to the King of the Romans, the title borne by the future Holy Roman Emperor, either during the lifetime of his predecessor or until his coronati

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts
Date of the auction: 12 Jun 2013
Address: Christie's
12 June 2013, London, King Street