Saturday 8 April 2017

A Fifth New Leo X cutting

I have written about a dismembered Missal of Leo X several times, most recently here. Browsing images of cuttings in Parisian collections I came across this initial "P", in the Musée des arts décoratifs, shown above.

The online description is vague:

Unlike those previously found, the cutting consists not just of an initial, but also a border:
And although the style and colouring of the illumination does not seem to me to be identical to the previously found ones, the border confirms that this is definitively from a Leo X book: it includes at the bottom the familiar letters "L.X.P.M." for "Leo X Pontifex Maximus", as shown in my first blog post on the subject:

This is also the first cutting to show any evidence of music (a four-line red stave is visible to the right of the initial "P", with a musical note on the top line). I suspect it comes from the Prefaces which usually precede the Canon in missals, and begin "Per omnia ..." as in this example, which also has a priest doing something with the chalice:

So far, therefore, we have located:
-- two cuttings at Vassar College
-- one in the Wildenstein Collection, Paris
-- one sold by Maggs c.1970
-- one sold by Christie's in 2016
-- the present one, in Paris

Doubtless more will come to light ...


  1. Dear Peter,
    A great discovery as usual. Please add to your list of Leo X cuttings illuminated by Attavante:
    Harvard University, Houghton Library, MS Typ 980

    London, British Library, Additional 21412, ff. 20-44
    See the catalogue record's 'Notes' for a list of others.

    Anne-Marie Eze & William Stoneman
    Houghton Library

    1. Thanks. I have always thought of those borders as independent panels of decoration, but some, such the middle one here:
      and the left one here:
      show clearly where there was once a decorated initial



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