Initial F, with Saint Francis dressing St Clare with the Franciscan habit

Manuscript Cutting
early 16th century (illuminated)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In illuminated manuscripts there was usually a hierarchy of initials marking important divisions in the text. At this time these were added by specialist illuminators and rubricators in spaces left blank by the scribe. The more important initials might be historiated with a figurative picture ('istoire' being the term for a story) or contain miniatures of representations of the Saints. In Italy illuminated choirbooks and liturgical manuscripts contained large numbers of miniature paintings. Choirbooks in particular were produced in sets of many volumes (often more than thirty).

From the early nineteenth century onwards such choirbooks provided an easy source of images that connoisseurs eagerly sought to add to their collections of paintings. Manuscripts could be cut up to make them more marketable and pleasing to the collector. Single leaves survive, but also initials, as here, cut to shape.

The illuminations gathered by the South Kensington Museum in the nineteenth century represented a new kind of collection, which aimed to provide examples of medieval illumination for students to copy. From the beginning the Museum bought ready-made collections. A portfolio of cuttings from an Italian choirbook, from which this cutting comes, was acquired from J. & W. Boone in 1866.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Water-based pigment and gold leaf on parchment
Brief Description
Miniature from a choir book, St Francis admitting St Clare into the Franciscan order, attributed to Domenico Morone, Verona, early 16th century.
Physical Description
Cut-out miniature on a cusped panel of burnished gold. Taken from a choir book it shows St Francis with stigmata admitting St Clare into the Franciscan order in front of an altar in a church with green panelled walls and blue domed ceiling. St Clare's secular clothes lie beside her, and she is accompanied by a lay woman dressed in pink and blue, who is praying. The floral marginal decoration terminates in a jewel pendant with pearls.
Dimensions
  • Maximum height: 37.5cm
  • Maximum width: 24.3cm
  • Miniature height: 200mm
  • Miniature width: 155mm
Gallery Label
  • Miniature of St Francis receiving St Clare, Renaissance ornament, historiated initial with cherubs. Illumination attributed to Domenico Morone Northern Italy, c.1490s From a portfolio bought by the Museum in 1866 from J. & W. Boone for £15(1995)
  • ST FRANCIS ADMITTING ST CLARE INTO THE FRANCISCAN ORDER About 1500 Probably by Domenico Morone (about 1442 - after 1518) This cut-out miniature of the initial F comes from a Franciscan convent and once belonged to an illuminated choir book. The praying fi gure is a laywoman, perhaps the person who commissioned the manuscript. St Clare was the founder of the order of the Poor Clares, which follows the spiritual rules of St Francis. Italy, Verona Watercolour on parchment, with gold Museum no. 4916(2009)
Object history
Probably part of a larger group that belonged to a Franciscan convent's antiphonary.

Part of a group of 11 cuttings which came to the museum in 1866 from J. & W. Boone.



Cuttings from the same manuscript in the V&A collection: Museum nos 4916, 4917, 4918:1, 4919, 4920, 4921:1, 4922, 4923, 4924, 4926, 4927.



Cuttings from the same manuscript in other collections: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975.1.2483; Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Berliner Kupferstichkabinett, inv. 629; Sotheby's, London, 19 June 1990, lot 35.
Historical context
Data taken from notes compiled by Rowan Watson. The full text of the entry is as follows:



' Cat. 335 FRANCISCAN CHOIR BOOK; Italy, c. 1490 (4916, 4917, 4918.1, 4919, 4920, 4921.1, 4922, 4923, 4924, 4926, 4927)



335.1

4916 (MS 1029)

CHOIR BOOK

Cut miniature (St Francis with stigmata admitting St Clare into the Franciscan order in front of an altar; St Clare's secular clothes lie beside her, and she is accompanied by a lay woman praying) with floral marginal decoration terminating in jewels with pearls from a choir book, attributed to Domenico Morona (Hans-Joachim Eberhard)



Italy. c.1490

(370 x 240 mm) ; miniature 200 x 150 mm.



From an album containing 4916-4928 bought for £15 from J & W Boone 1866.

Pub: 1908 cat, 90; 1923 cat, 83'
Subjects depicted
Summary
In illuminated manuscripts there was usually a hierarchy of initials marking important divisions in the text. At this time these were added by specialist illuminators and rubricators in spaces left blank by the scribe. The more important initials might be historiated with a figurative picture ('istoire' being the term for a story) or contain miniatures of representations of the Saints. In Italy illuminated choirbooks and liturgical manuscripts contained large numbers of miniature paintings. Choirbooks in particular were produced in sets of many volumes (often more than thirty).



From the early nineteenth century onwards such choirbooks provided an easy source of images that connoisseurs eagerly sought to add to their collections of paintings. Manuscripts could be cut up to make them more marketable and pleasing to the collector. Single leaves survive, but also initials, as here, cut to shape.



The illuminations gathered by the South Kensington Museum in the nineteenth century represented a new kind of collection, which aimed to provide examples of medieval illumination for students to copy. From the beginning the Museum bought ready-made collections. A portfolio of cuttings from an Italian choirbook, from which this cutting comes, was acquired from J. & W. Boone in 1866.
Bibliographic References
  • Catalogue of illuminated manuscripts : Part II, Miniatures, leaves, and cuttings, by S.C. Cockerell and E.F. Strange (London: HMSO, 1908, 1st edition).p. 90.
  • Catalogue of Miniatures, Leaves, and Cuttings from Illuminated Manuscripts. Victoria and Albert Museum. Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, by S.C. Cockerell and C. Harcourt Smith (London: HMSO, 1923, 2nd edition).p. 83
  • Watson, Rowan. Vandals and Enthusiasts: Views of Illumination in the Nineteenth Century, London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1995no.79
  • Bollati, M. (ed).Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani secoli IX-XVI. Preface by Miklós Boskovits. Milan, 2004.pp. 807-810 (Hans-Joachim Eberhardt), pl. XXXV.
  • Marinelli, Sergio and Marini, Paola, eds., Mantegna e le arti a Verona, 1450-1500, Venezia : Marsilio, 2006no. 78.
Other Number
MS 1029 - Previous number
Collection
Accession Number
4916

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record createdDecember 21, 2005
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