MS M.786c

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Seated Ruler with Two Women and a Standing Saint

Cutting from a choir book, in Latin
Illuminated by the Spanish Forger

France, perhaps Paris
first quarter of the twentieth century
245 x 195 mm

Purchased (as the Spanish Forger), 1967

MS M.786c
Item description: 

The Spanish Forger was keenly aware of the growing market for single leaves and cuttings, producing nearly two hundred fifty of them for an unsuspecting public. The forger's nationality remains unknown, but Belle da Costa Greene named him the Spanish Forger after she had exposed a panel by him that was thought to be Spanish. This leaf was the first manuscript illumination tested using neutron activation analysis, resulting in the identification of the green pigment as copper arsenite or Paris green, which was not available before 1814. In 1978 the Spanish Forger became the first illuminator to be given a one-man show at the Morgan, causing Hilton Kramer to comment "that many a genuine artist has received a lot less from posterity."