Prominently featured in a Books & Works on Paper preview in ATG No 2498, it was among those lots in that July 6 sale of Western manuscripts and miniatures that came from a collection formed by the late Roger Martin.
Someone who described himself as “an impoverished enthusiast”, Martin turned to collecting in this field only on retirement and after reading Christopher Hamel’s splendid History of Illuminated Manuscripts of 1986.
Martin made his first manuscript purchase in 1996, though it was to be another 20 years before he acquired the single parchment text leaf pictured here, which sold at £24,000.
Dating from the latter decades of the 8th century and originally discovered being used as a pastedown in another, later volume, it features part of a well-known early medieval text, the Moralia in Job of Pope (later Saint) Gregory I.
Written in southern Germany, most probably in a region bordering Switzerland, said the cataloguer, this leaf may once have been part of a manuscript in the library at Reichenau, a monastery founded in 724 on an island in Lake Constance.
That religious house came to be one of the more important monasteries in medieval Europe but was finally dissolved in the late 18th century.
Its library had been greatly enlarged in the early decades of the 9th century, but the manuscript from which this leaf came would have been one of its much earlier acquisitions, or indeed creations.