Saints Barnabas & Paul, Breviary leaf c.1460




A manuscript Breviary leaf with many illuminated initials, Italy



Verso:  35 lines of text in Latin written in two columns on vellum in a very small Gothic bookhand.  Ruled in red and rubrics in red.  Nine two-line illuminated initials in blue with extensive and elaborate penwork in red.  See images below


Recto:  As Verso, with eight similarly illuminated initials.  See Recto image below


Source:  Probably Italy


Date:   c.1460


Content:  The text is heavily abbreviated, making it difficult to follow, but there are multiple occurrences of “Barnabas”, making it likely that this is a section from the Feast Day of St. Barnabas, celebrated on June 11.  Adding weight to this supposition is that there are several occurrences of “Paul” - St. Barnabas’ travelling companion on their missionary journeys, and a mention of Barnabas and Paul at Antioch where the “Incident at Antioch” took place around the middle of the first century.


Condition:  This leaf is in very good condition.  There is minimal brown spotting and the text and illuminations are in fine condition.

The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 160x110 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx.  125x80 mm.  Mat size: approx. 315x260 mm.  Presented in a museum quality mat, ready to frame.  Certificate of Authenticity. Contact us for further images of this leaf.

Packing & registered, insured post within Australia: $22.50.  Overseas destinations: ask for quote.


Item No:  MOT 013


Notes:  St. Barnabas (originally Joseph) was born on Cyprus of Jewish parents, members of the tribe of Levi.  As jews of the Diaspora living outside of Palestine, they would have spoken Greek. He spent much time in Jerusalem, probably even before the Crucifixion, and appears to have settled there.  Barnabas’ story appears in the Acts of the Apostles and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles.  Considered the founder of the Cypriot Church, Barnabas was stoned to death at Salamis.

The word “breviary”, etymologically a compendium or abridgment, is applied to the liturgical work which contains the psalms and the hymns, the readings from Sacred Scripture and from the writings of the Fathers, the prayers and the responses, which are combined to form the canonical hours of the divine office of prayer recited daily throughout the world by priests and the religious.


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