MANUSCRIPT: POOR CLARES. Italian Manuscript on vellum, the Rule of St. Clare of Assisi and statutes of the province of Milan,
Lot 1
MANUSCRIPT: POOR CLARES.
Italian Manuscript on vellum, the Rule of St. Clare of Assisi and statutes of the province of Milan,
Sold for US$ 11,875 inc. premium

Lot Details
MANUSCRIPT: POOR CLARES.
Italian Manuscript on vellum, the Rule of St. Clare of Assisi and statutes of the province of Milan, 15 leaves (of 16), [112, 24 (lacking 1/10)], 232 x 173 mm, written 170 x 135 mm, [Milan, after 1463], two hands in brown or black ink, in a rounded Italian Gothic Script, vertical ruling in lead, horizontal ruling in pale brown ink, two columns of 32 lines, 2 or 3 line Lombard initials in red or blue, two (ff.1v & 11r) on liquid gold grounds with red pen-flourishing; rubricated, lacking one folio (1/10) with loss of text, later manuscript alterations including a lengthy addition on f. 9v, and light text cancellation on ff. 8r-9r, many leaves strengthened in the margins, some wormholes, some repairs, pasteboard wrapper, pink paper spine and corners, slightly soiled.
Provenance: Poor Clares of the province of Milan; Suor Archangela Lucretia Canobia (signature f. 15v); Byron Reed, acquired before 1892; his sale, Christie's, New York, October 8, 1996, lot 177.

RARE 15TH CENTURY MANUSCRIPT OF THE ORDER OF POOR CLARES, the second Franciscan Order, founded by Saint Clare of Assisi inspired and assisted by Saint Francis. The rule of St. Clare is the earliest documented example of a rule for nuns written by a woman.

The present example contains the 1463 statutes of the Poor Clares of Milan (1v-9v), apparently incomplete at the end, followed by the Rule of St. Clare, in a vernacular Italian (10r-15v), and ending with the vow of profession under the rule of St. Clare (15v). The 15th century witnessed a dispute over the interpretation of the rule, with some sects re-asserting the original austerity of the order. This phenomenon likely resulted in the present document, a manuscript reminder of the Rule and its statutes for a reformed community.

Both the rule and statutes are in the vernacular, providing greater accessibility to the women in the order, and the inclusion of a vow of profession at the end points to the practical use of the document (the rule was read to the sisters every Saturday, and the statutes every two months), and the alterations and cancellations within the manuscript show further emendations to the practice. The two cancelled chapters have to do with the activities of the sisters outside the monastery.

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