M/S Breviary leaf, c. 1475 with jewel-like initials.

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Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr of Syracuse, Sicily.

St. Lucy, Italian Santa Lucia, (died 304, Syracuse, Sicily; feast day December 13), virgin and martyr was one of the earliest Christian saints to achieve popularity, having a widespread following before the 5th century. She is the patron saint of the city of Syracuse in Sicily and of virgins. Because of various traditions associating her name with light, she came to be thought of as the patron of sight and was depicted by medieval artists carrying a dish containing her eyes.

Lucy was probably a victim of the wave of persecution of Christians that occurred late in the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. References to her are found in early Roman sacramentaries and, at Syracuse, in an inscription dating from 400 AD. As evidence of her early fame, two churches are known to have been dedicated to her in Britain before the 8th century, at a time when the land was largely pagan.

 

Verso:  Text in Latin written in two columns on high quality vellum in black ink in two sizes of an assured Gothic bookhand.   Pricking marks on the left margin.  Ruled in red, rubrics in red and some initials touched in yellow.  The scribe has carefully written around a fault in the vellum in the 5th and 6th lines of the right column. Five exquisite two-line illuminated initials in pink and blue outlined in black and finished with fine white penwork.  The initials are on highly burnished gold grounds and three have illuminations radiating into the margins of black tendrils bearing coloured acanthus and other flowers, green leaves and burnished gold ivy leaves and bezants.

Recto:  As Verso, with a further four equally exquisite illuminated initials.

Origin:  Northern France/Flanders, for the Use of Sarum (Salisbury).

Date:   c.1475

Content: The text on Verso contains sections of Lessons from the Feast of Saint Lucy, celebrated on December 13.  The illuminated ‘C’ in the left column begins the 1st Lesson: Cum per universam provinciam beatissimae virginis Agathae fama crebresceret et Syracusanus populus

Then follows the 2nd Lesson, beginning:  Igitur dum processionis mysteria agerentur, haec Evangelii lectio fuit recitata quo legitur fimbria vestimenti mulier a sanguinis fluxu curata. Et dum haec lectio recitaretur, dixit sancta Lucia matri suae.

Condition:  The leaf is in pristine condition apart from one wormhole in the bottom margin. It has clean, fine vellum and jewel-like illuminations as colourful and lustrous as the day they were done, well over 500 years ago. It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Size: Size of leaf: approx. 190x140 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx. 135x95 mm.

Item No:  MOT064

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