MINIATURE. Initial ‘C’ on a cutting from an illuminated choirbook on parchment.

[Italy (Rome?), c. 1560 – 1570]




£ 950


9 x 8 cm (framed and glazed 19 x 18 cm). A cutting with the initial ‘C’ in pink, green and blue acanthus leaf swirls, enclosing a distinctively angular and hooked white flower on a vivid blue ground, all on burnished gold ground, cut to edge. Excellent condition.


The strange angular twists to the edge of the leaves and flower petals here are startling distinctive, and find close parallels in foliage painted into the borders of two historiated initials from a series of choirbooks commissioned by Pope Pius V (reigned 1566-1572) for the Dominican convent of Santa Croce in his native town of Bosco Marengo, near Alessandria. These historiated initials have been discussed most fully by Pia Palladino, (Treasures of a Lost Art, 2003, nos. 87a-b, pp. 18 172-174), and have been identified by S. Pettenati (Grandi Pittori per Piccole Immagini nella Corte Pontificia del ‘500. I corali miniati di San Pio V, 1998, pp. 93-94) as strongly influenced by the work of the foremost illuminator of the papal curia, Giulio Clovio (1498-1578), executed by a team of artists and scribes working between 1567/8 and 1572 there. This cutting is quite possibly from the same dispersed set of choirbooks.