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Made in north-eastern France or Flanders, perhaps Brabant, in the late 13th century, the manuscript is illustrated with six full-page miniatures, eight historiated illuminated initials and over 60 other foliate initials with elaborate extensions, usually incorporating drolleries, hybrid creatures, or marginal scenes – as in the leaf pictured right.

The manuscript’s first recorded auction appearance was in 1926 at Sotheby’s, when it was knocked down at £680 to Quaritch, who sold it on to Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. It came back to the same rooms in 1933, when Quaritch were again the buyers, but at much cheaper £390. This time they sold it to Alice Millard, who within months had sold it to Estelle Doheny. In the 1987 London sale of the Doheny manuscripts it was knocked down at £210,000 to Heribert Tenschert, the dealer from whom Ritman made many of his purchases. In Ritman’s June sale, it sold for £460,000 to Sam Fogg.