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Cutting from the Missals of Pope Clement VII

Maker(s) &

Giallo, Jacopo del, artist, Italy, Rome


Charles Brinsley Marlay


illuminated manuscript


cutting (manuscript); sub-category
missal; type of text


circa 1523 circa 1534


first half of 16th Century


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, traces of earlier paper mounts on verso, collage formed of original central miniature and composite frame made up of separate border elements. Central miniature 202 x 132 mm, left and right borders 312 x 58 mm, upper border 47x 135 mm, lower border 66 x 135 mm.

DECORATION: Arch-topped miniature of the Deposition of Christ surrounded by full historiated border with gold ornament on black ground and ovoid compartments with portraits of the Evangelists at each corner, Adam and the Tree of Knowledge in the left-hand border, a prophet (probably Isaiah) in the right-hand border, the arms of Clement VII and two female supporters, Justice and Charity, in the lower margin, and Clement VII’s device of the crystal sphere and burning tree in the upper margin, two small ovals containing inscriptions CLE and VII in outer margin.


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




bequeathed; 1912; Marlay, Charles Brinsley


Pope Clement VII (r. 1523-1534); Abate Luigi Celotti (c.1768-c.1846); his sale, Christie’s, London, 26 May 1825, lot 63 (Marlay cutting It. 35) and part of lot 74 (Marlay cuttings It. 33 and It. 34); Thomas Miller Whitehead


Marlay, Charles Brinsley; previous owner
Whitehead, Thomas Miller; previous owner
Celotti, Abate Luigi; previous owner
Pope Clement VII; previous owner


Marlay cuttings It. 33a-h, 34, 35: Cuttings from the Missals of Pope Clement VII. Clement VII’s two Missals for saints’ feasts were listed in the 1714 inventory of the Sistine Chapel manuscripts (Talamo 1997, 225), and were probably looted by French troops in 1798, only to re-emerge dismembered in the early nineteenth century at the sale of the cleric-turned-dealer Abate Luigi Celotti (Hindman et al. 2001, 53-55; Melbourne 2008, 62; other leaves from the missals have survived and are listed with Celotti sale lot numbers in Cambridge, Mass. 2006, no. 30). There is no doubt that these cuttings originated from Clement VII’s Missals. His mottoes are found in Marlay cutting It. 33e (Vera philosophie et cogitatio mortis) and in the borders of Marlay cuttings It. 34 and It. 35, in the image of the suns rays passing through a crystal sphere and setting a tree on fire, while leaving his motto Candor ilesus unharmed. This device, intended to show the pope’s imperturbability, was invented by Clement’s treasurer Domenico Buoninsegni and used extensively in decorative schemes in the Vatican (Parry 1977). However, it is clear that the corner pieces of Marlay cuttings It. 33c-f (inscribed gold tablets surrounded by gold foliage on a dark ground), and the border ornament of Marlay cutting It. 34 (similar foliage and ground, with inscribed ovals) are painted in a different, much later hand from the central panels or miniature which they now flank. Significantly, it is on these corner pieces and borders that we find the information about patron and date which we know in the case of other cuttings to have been manufactured at the instance of Abate Celotti (though perhaps drawn from the original manuscripts), undoubtedly to bolster their provenance (London and New York 1995, nos. 136 and 137; Hindman et al., 2001, 93; Wieck 2006, 498). Exactly the same ‘collage’ technique and scrolling gold ornament can be seen in another leaf from a Clement VII Missal sold by Celotti and still in the frame in which it was purchased (London, V&A, PDP E. 4578-1910; Hindman et al. 2001, 55, pl. 22). Border fragments from a Missal with a gold plinth bearing a nineteenth-century inscription stating that the book was made for him while still a Cardinal survive in another item from the Celotti sale (Philadelphia, Free Library, MS Lewis E M 46.13; Philadelphia 2001, no. 66). Moreover, Marlay cuttings It. 34 and It. 35 use the same collage technique to produce ostensibly integral pages out of several fragments, for the main part original but with nineteenth-century historical ‘enhancements’. The original illumination in Marlay cuttings It. 34 and It. 35 was associated with the French artist Vincenzo Raimondi (d. 1557), who was in the service of Popes from Leo X to Paul IV (London and New York 1995, nos. 127, 129, 130), by Panayotova (Cambridge 2005, no. 65; Melbourne 2008, no. 15). But the miniatures in Marlay cuttings It. 34 and It. 35 have been attributed more convincingly to the artist Jacopo del Giallo (Marcon in Bollati 2004, 263-65), who arrived in Rome in about 1523 and who is documented as painter of the arms and insignia for the funeral of Clement VII in 1534 (Levi d’Ancona 1962a). He is also credited with painting other leaves from the same book (London, BL, Add. MS 35254 L and M; Stockholm, Nationalmuseum B. 2339 [wrongly listed in Bollati as Oslo]; Harvard, Houghton Library, MS Typ. 734; Cambridge, Mass. 2006, no. 30).


The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West. 2005 - 2005
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Library
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Catalogue number: 65

The Medieval Imagination:Illuminated Manuscripts from Cambridge, Australia and New Zealand. 2008 - 2008
Organiser: State Library of Victoria
Venue: State Library of Victoria
Catalogue number: 15

Splendours of Italian Illumination: Romanesque - Gothic - Renaissance. 1989 - 1990
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Notes: unpublished handlist of an exhibition held in the Adeane gallery, October 1989 - February 1990
Catalogue number: 119


Wormald, F. and Giles, P. M.. 1982. A descriptive catalogue of the additional illuminated manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): p. 118-20

Binski, P.. Panayotova, Stella. 2005. The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West.London:
cat. no. 65

Stocks, B.. Morgan, Nigel. 2008. The Medieval Imagination: Illuminated Manuscripts from Cambridge, Australia and New Zealand.Melbourne (Australia):
cat. no. 15

Voelkle, W. M.. Wieck, R. S.. Saffiotti, M. F. P.. 1992. The Bernard Breslauer Collection of Manuscript Illuminations.New York:
cat. no. 90, p. 266

Bollati, M.. 2004. Dizionario dei miniatori italiani.Milan: p. 263-65
Marcon in Bollati

Levi D'Ancona, M.. 1962. Jacopo del Giallo e alcune miniature del Correr.
Source Title: Bollettino dei Musei Civici Veneziani 7 (2) (1962) : 1-23

p. 6, 21 n.14


Object Number: Marlay cutting It. 34
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 176579; input: 2010-04-24; modified: 2016-08-18)


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