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Historiated initial from a Gradual


Master of the Murano Gradual; artist; Italian illuminator, 15th c.
; production


Charles Brinsley Marlay


illuminated manuscript


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


circa 1420


fifteenth century, first quarter


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, 305 x 320 mm, four lines of fragmentary text and four fragmentary four-line musical staves ruled in red on reverse.

CONTENTS: The initial introduced the Introit of the Mass for the Assumption of the Virgin, Gaudeamus [omnes in domino diem festem celebrantes sub], which continues on the reverse, honore marie virginis. De cuius assumptione gaudent angeli et collaudant filium dei.

DECORATION: Historiated initial in blue and graded pink foliate forms on a shaped ground of solid gold with painted foliate forms: [G] Dormition of the Virgin, with Saints Peter, Paul and John behind her, and the lame and blind in the foreground.

ORNAMENTATION: The text adjacent to the initial is written in burnished gold on solid blue ground with white highlighting, the music in burnished gold on white staves on painted ground.

Place (legacy):

Italy, production, region
Venice, place


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




bequeathed; 1912; Marlay, Charles Brinsley


William Young Ottley (1771-1836); his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 11 May 1838, lot 191; Rev. John Fuller; Thomas Miller Whitehead, 1853; note ‘1887. No. 2396’ on earlier cardboard mount


Marlay, Charles Brinsley; previous owner
Whitehead, Thomas Miller; previous owner
Fuller, Rev. John; previous owner
Ottley, William Young; previous owner



Burlington Fine Arts Club. 1908. Exhibition of Illuminated Manuscripts.
cat. no. 30

Wormald, Francis. Giles, Phyllis M.. 1966. Illuminated Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.):
cat. no. 89

Wormald, F. and Giles, P. M.. 1982. A descriptive catalogue of the additional illuminated manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): p. 112-13

Binski, P.. Panayotova, Stella. 2005. The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West.London:
cat. no. 60

Stocks, B.. Morgan, Nigel. 2008. The Medieval Imagination: Illuminated Manuscripts from Cambridge, Australia and New Zealand.Melbourne (Australia):
cat. no. 35

Levi D'Ancona, Mirella. 1970. The Wildenstein Collection of Illuminations: The Lombard School.Florence: p. 54

Mattheisen Fine Arts, London. 1983. Early Italian Paintings and Works of Art, 1300-1480.London:
cat. no. 47, pl. 43

Bollati, M.. 2004. Dizionario dei miniatori italiani.Milan:
Lollini in Bollati 2004, p. 699-710 (sub voce Maestro di San Michele a Murano)

Vikan, G. et al. 1975. Medieval and Renaissance Miniatures from the National Gallery of Art. Washington..Washington:
pp.73-74, n. 2 and n. 11

Morgan, Nigel. Panayotova, Stella. Reynolds, Suzanne. 2011. A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges. Part Two. Vols. 1-2: Italy and the Iberian Peninsula.London: Harvey Miller Publishers
cat. no. 56

Padovani, S.. 1978. Su Belbello da Pavia e sul 'Miniatore di San Michele a Murano'.
Source Title: Paragone 29 () : 25-34

fig. 22

Russell, F.. 1980. A Gothic miniature from Murano.
Source Title: Burlington Magazine 122.923 (1980) : 117-18
p. 117-18


Object Number: Marlay cutting It. 18
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 176542; input: 2010-04-22; modified: 2017-04-05)


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