Cutting from a Manuscript: Initial [D]

late 15th century–early 16th century

Place of Manufacture: Italy


Overall: 6.7 x 6.2 cm (2 5/8 x 2 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tempera and gold on parchment

Not On View





A cutting from a manuscript with an Old Testament figure, possibly Daniel, in brown tunic and red, white-trimmed cloak, hands clasped at prayer gazing up at the head of God peering down from a heavenly aperture, with a lion (as a stylized dragon) in background, verso blank, in a foliate letter [D] on a gold-leaf background. The size of the miniature suggests that the cutting came from a choir book, either a gradual or an antiphonary. However, there are no liturgical offices that would be historiated with this image in the letter [D]. If this is indeed a representation of Daniel, it seems more likely that the initial was cut from a large Bible, where it began Jerome’s prologue to the Book of Daniel, which begins “Danielem prophetam iuxta…” With no text on the verso, however, the question of the cutting’s source must remain open.


By 1979, Aimée and Rosamond Lamb, Boston, MA; gift of Aimée and Rosamond Lamb. (Accession date: October 17, 1979)

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Aimée and Miss Rosamond Lamb