Saturday, 9 October 2021

A Contemporary Opinion of the Ottley Collection of Illuminations

In the English journal The Athenæum, founded in 1828 [Wikipedia], is a contemporary account of the  items offered for sale in the 1838 Ottley auction of illuminated cuttings.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Manuscripts Written at Rome in 1465, Now at the V&A and Houghton [II]

Before moving on the the 20th-century provenance of the manuscript(s) discussed in the previous post, I need to add an important piece of the 19th-century provenance that I failed to include last week.

Howel Wills (1854-1901) was a collector in whom I've had an interest since the 1990s, when I catalogued some of his manuscripts now at the Bodleian. On my old provenance webpages, made in the early 2000s, I posted some basic biographical information and some images to show how his books can be recognised. More recently, I have occasionally had the chance to mention him in blogposts, such as here. [1]

It turns out that he was the owner of the 1465 manuscript (when it was still bound as a single volume) and it was included in his sale at Sotheby's, 11 July 1894, lot 1194:

[Click to enlarge]
As can be seen from the annotation in this image, the manuscript was bought by Quaritch for £20, and I suspect it was offered for sale in their Rough List no. 144: A rough list of choice and valuable books...[f]rom the library of Howel Wills, Esq., of Florence (August 1894), but I have not yet had a chance to verify this.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Manuscripts Written at Rome in 1465, Now at the V&A and Houghton [I]


Houghton Library, MS Typ 496 [Source]

A reader sent me an enquiry about a manuscript a few weeks ago, that sent me off on a provenance-hunting trail with a very satisfactory result. The image above shows the last page of the manuscript, a copy of Andrea Domenico Fiocchi (alias Fenestella), De Romanorum Magistratibus, which is at the Houghton Library, and this is a detail, showing that the scribe dated its completion in 1465:

"die .v. novembr. 1465"

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Illuminated Cuttings Sold in 1821 [II]: The Consignor

Six months ago I speculated about the identity of the owner of a group of Italian illuminated cuttings sold at a previously-unremarked sale at Sotheby's in 1821, suggesting "that it was either (i) someone who had bought the cuttings from Celotti, or (ii) Celotti himself", giving reasons for preferring the second possibility.

A significant number of those lots were bought by Ottley, yet re-appeared four years later in the famous sale of Celotti's illuminations at Christie's; I therefore suggested that Ottley and Celotti were acting in partnership to ensure that lots achieved respectable prices.

More recently I looked at the question of who actually owned the illuminations at the 1825 "Celotti" sale, and concluded that it probably was Celotti -- rather than Ottley as Christopher de Hamel has suggested.

This week I will reconsider the question of who consigned the illuminations for sale in 1821.

Saturday, 14 August 2021

Olschki Stock Numbers

I have for several years known the above cutting, which was until recently in a distinguished south London private collection.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

The Illuminations of Stephano Bardini (1836-1922)

I don't think that I had ever heard of Stephano Bardini [Wikipedia] until Laura Zabeo kindly told me that a couple of the illuminations in the collection of Rodolphe Kann had previously belonged to Bardini, and I was able to update their provenances and current whereabouts accordingly in this blogpost.

Laura also kindly sent me images of the relevant pages of Everett Fahy, L'Archivio storico fotografico di Stefano Bardini: Dipinti, disegni, miniature, stampe (Florence, 2000). This includes (pp. 62-64) a list of 30 illuminated cuttings and leaves, and a codex (numbered 692-723), of which photos exist in the Bardini photo archive.

The present location of some is recorded, but the whereabouts of most were not known to Fahy. In two or three posts I will therefore try to identify as many as possible so that his collection will be better known, and so that current owners can add him to the provenance of their own items. I will start with the ones for which Fahy was able to identify the later provenance, and next week turn to some of those that are harder to trace.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Who Owned the "Celotti" Cuttings Sold in 1825?

I mentioned last week that -- until I got side-tracked -- I intended to discuss some ideas put forward by Christopher de Hamel in the Introduction to the Burke Collection catalogue.

I received a copy of the Burke catalogue on 11 February, less than a week after its official 5 February publication-date, and by a curious coincidence of timing this was just four days after I wrote a blogpost about possible collaboration between Ottley and Celotti when selling illuminated cuttings, a subject addressed in the Introduction.