Parchment, single leaf, c.460×345mm, each side with 7 lines of text and music on a 5-line red stave, the recto with a large illuminated initial from which extend foliate borders into the outer and upper margins, incorporating a fine Wild Man (a border of the ex-Sotheby’s and Christie’s sister leaf also has a – heavily cropped – Wild Man), and large initials in red or blue incorporating human profiles in the penwork ornament; the upper border somewhat cropped (as are the sister leaves)
Apparently from the same manuscript as a leaf with an initial “A” depicting the Resurrection that was in the collection of Carl Richartz, Amsterdam, by 1966, and a leaf with an initial “A” depicting the Last Judgement, sold at Sotheby’s, 7, December 2010, lot 10 (attributed to a followed of the panel painter known as the Master of the Munich St John on Patmos), resold at Christie’s, 11 December 2019, lot 213 for £8,750.
A significant oeuvre has now been attributed to the Swiss artist Nikolaus Bertschi (see Ulrich Merkl, Buchmalerei in Bayern (1999), pp. 41–48 and 273–314). He was born in Rorschach am Bodensee, but moved to Augsburg, where he worked from c.1510 until his death c.1541. Two comparable choirbooks illuminated by him, from early and late in his career at Augsburg, are dateable to 1511/12 (Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Inventar-Nr. Cod. mus. fol. I 65) and 1531 (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Cod.lat. 28 150). Absolutely typical of Augsburg illumination is the frame around the initial, in alternating sections of red and green, and typical of Bertschi are the faces, in which the eyes are painted as straight black lines terminating in a dot. The gold background is not tooled, but instead is patterned with a pale wash in scrolling designs. Immediately adjacent is a finely painted Wild Man, as often found in Bertschi’s borders.