A cutting, c.160×160mm, of an illuminated initial ‘N’, doubtless the introit for the Mass on the feast-day of Sts Peter and Paul (29 June), probably ‘Nunc scio vere quia misit dominus angelum suum …’: the reverse preserving its continuation: “[… de omni exspectation]e plebis [judaeorum] V(ersus). Et […]”, with music in square notation on four-line red staves, the versicle with an enlarged red initial ‘E’ filled with, and surrounded by, ornament in blue; both saints shown half-length, Paul holding a sword (the instrument of his martyrdom) and Peter holding keys (to heaven) and a book in a red blind-tooled binding with two clasps. Condition: Some decoration is cropped at the extremities; a little gold has flaked from the field surrounding the initial and some rubbing of the initial letter to the right; silver (notably Paul’s sword) has darkened due to oxidation; the main scene is generally in fine condition. In a giltwood frame, c.30×30cm.
The palette, whose dominant colours are an emerald green, deep blue, and several shades of burgundy red, and the soft treatment of the figures and their draperies, point to Florence as the place of origin; it is reminiscent of the work of Francesco di Antonio del Chierico (on whom see Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani: secoli IX-XVI, ed. by Milvia Bollati (Milan, 2004), pp. 228–32). He was born in Florence in 1433 and joined the Compagnia di San Paolo in 1452, going on to illuminate classical and liturgical texts for patrons including the Medici, the Duomo of Florence, Federico da Monetfeltro, Alfonso of Aragon, and Matthias Corvinus, apparently as head of a large and prolific workshop. While the depiction of the hands of the two figures lack sophistication, suggesting the efforts of a workshop assistant, the faces are sensitive renderings of two different personalities with considerable psychological power; the draperies show both the underdrawing of an accomplished draughtsman and a painterly handling of pigment.