A large (25” x 36”) vellum manuscript bound in brass-capped leather. The interior of the work (entitled Liber Ivonis) is in illuminated Latin, accompanied by copious marginal illustrations, miniatures, and decorated initials (most of which seem to consist of a rather fanciful toad or frog). The manuscript binding is in fair condition—some of the brass fittings have been lost, the inside cover has been gouged repeatedly (apparently to remove a book plate, the scraps of which remain, but are totally illegible), and there are recent small scorch marks on the rear cover. The manuscript interior is in excellent condition. The artwork within depicts many strange scenes, some of which are rather disturbing and unlike those found in a typical medieval work.
This work is a grimoire allegedly written by the magician Ivon “of Hyperborea.” It serves as both a grimoire and to provide an autobiographical account of the author’s life, from his time as an apprentice to his departure from Hyperborea.
Ivon, after his apprenticeship, journeyed about “Hyperborea” encountering many strange beings and individuals (some of whom he traveled with for a time). Most importantly, he pledged his service to some sort of batrachian being of great power (Xatogua—“he who sleeps and is served by crawling shadows”) in exchange for the being’s vast magical knowledge.
Beyond Ivon’s tutelage under this strange furry being, there are also discussions of astronomy, astrology, protective magical signs, and a lengthy passage about a dragon of some sort that laid waste to much of “Hyperborea.” The work concludes with a discussion of Ivon’s flight from this kingdom due to some sort of religious conflict as well some commentary about his apprentice (apparently written by said apprentice).
The frequent illuminations of the tome often depict the disturbing topics contained within in a shocking manner. The artistic style is somehow more representational than that typically found in medieval manuscripts, yet contains elements that would almost be described as modernist certain stylistic elements suggest the artist was trained in the Persian Miniature school. The combined effect of the unsettling illustrations with the bizarre text is an undoubtedly disturbing one.