A calligraphic manuscript on birds

Justumus, Dominique. Cahier d'écriture.

Auch (Midi-Pyrénées), 1857.

Folio (433 x 280 mm). 17 ff. Coloured ink on coloured paper. Contemp. half cloth with gilt-stamped spine title.


Highly original and exceptionally colourful manuscript in elegant calligraphy, written in inks of various colours (mainly white, blue, red, and green) on glossy and silk paper in alternating colours. The writing is surrounded by elaborate calligrams showing birds and penwork. The text itself consists mainly of descriptions of various kinds of birds (such as the magpie, quail, pheasant, peacock, jay, and swallow), but also includes bits on bears and hedgehogs; another page offers two capital blackletter alphabets instead. The calligrapher has succeeded in marrying content, script, and image, achieving a unique and impressive synthesis, undoubtedly penned with a feather quill.

Binding insignificantly rubbed; extremeties bumped. The delicate pages show occasional slight signs of wrinkled; the silk papers are browned. Several pages show ink bleeding or offsetting on the reverse.