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Ink, tempera and gold on vellum
Leaf: 19.7 x 14.3 cm (7 3/4 x 5 5/8 in.)
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2005.206
The elaborate floral and foliated borders of this leaf, decorating the top, bottom, and sides of both recto and verso, contain four separate elements: blue and gold acanthus leaves, gold-leaf ivy vines, sprays of flowers or fruit, and a grotesque. Here the margin prominently includes an illuminated roundel with an angel chasing a devil with a lance. As a time-saving device, illuminators in the 1450s and later would often paint identical borders on both sides of a leaf. The motifs would be drawn on one side and then traced on the other by holding the leaf against a window. The manuscript from which this leaf came is no longer intact. It included numerous painted roundels relating to the lives of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and the more obscure Saint Alexis. It is possible that the manuscript originally belonged to a married couple for whom these saints served as patrons.
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