AUGUSTINE, St. Tractatus in Iohannem, Homilies. 14 complete folio leaves of which 2 leaves are finely decorated with a painted initial. Mid-twelfth century, Italy (probably Tuscany). Each leaf 435mm x 307mm, double column, 44 lines in an elegant and precise Romanesque bookhand without biting curves with a strong st-ligature and capitals within text often following Carolingian forms (‘M’ and ‘A’ in particular) small contemporary corrections in a hand with a broken ct-ligautre (the ‘t’ leaning back, but not touching the ‘c’, a number of later notes showing use through thirteenth century at least, written space 310mm x 210mm, titles and rubrics in red ornamental capitals, original prickings in the margin preserved, some skin side of laves slightly discoloured through grain pattern of hair follicles, vellum slightly cockled, minor spots else in excellent condition.
2 of the leaves with large Romanesque white-vine style decoration 6-line painted drop capitals, D and Q in red, orange, blue and green with inter-twined white vines. Red running heads indicating the number of the homily. . Presented in a specially handmade clamshell box. Italy, first half of the 12th century.
Some of these leaves were sold at Sotheby’s Lot 7, on 8 July, 2014. There were 2 decorated ‘vine initial’ leaves for sale by Quaritch in their catalogue 1439, nos. 8 & 9. The story is that the Codex from which these leaves originate was broken up by a London dealer in the 1960s.