Saturday, 25 January 2020

Unrecognised Brölemann Provenances



As mentioned in an earlier post, I have been attempting to create a list of the Brölemann manuscripts, with a detailed account of their pre- and post-Brölemann provenances. It is now nearly 100 pages long, and I hope to share it fairly soon.

This exercise has been interesting for lots of reasons, one of which is to see how many later owners were, and still are, unaware of Bröleman's prior ownership. In some cases this is doubtless because the volume has been rebound, and the old covers with the Brölemann bookplate discarded, but in many others the volume has apparently not been rebound, which suggests that the bookplate was never there. I suspect that Henry-Auguste Bröleman (d. 1854), who formed the collection, put his characteristic blue-edged octagonal labels in all his most valuable books, but that towards the end of the century his grandson, Arthur-Auguste (d. 1904), put his bookplate in them only selectively.

Here are some manuscripts whose most recent or current owners seem (according to the most recent descriptions that I can find) not to know of their prior Brölemann provenances:

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Manuscripts of T. O. Weigel, V:
Volto Santo Images; or, The Importance of Consulting Hardcopy Catalogues

[Source]
There are two versions of the Weigel catalogue online. In my first blogpost about the collection, I included a link to one which includes the colour images, of which an opening is shown above.

But there is another version, with blank spaces in place of the images, presumably because of perceived copyright issues. This image shows the same pair of pages as the one above, but the reproduction of the Crucifixion miniature has been suppressed:
[Source]

Saturday, 11 January 2020

The Illuminated Cuttings and Leaves of Eugène Rodrigues (1853-1928)


I recently catalogued for a Sotheby's sale, on 3 December 2019, lot 1, the cutting above. It belongs to a group in which I have had an interest for many years.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The Manuscripts of T. O. Weigel, IV:
Cuttings from a Dominican Nuns' Antiphonary (from Zurich, and datable to 1300?)


The apparently unique iconography of the miniature above allows us to identify it as no. 26 in the 1898 Weigel and 1905 Hiersemann catalogues discussed in the previous posts:

Sunday, 29 December 2019

A Draft List of the Brölemann Manuscripts

In a post about the Brölemann catalogues in 2015 I wrote "In due course I intend to tabulate the numbers of the three catalogues to see what patterns emerge." I had hoped that one of the catalogues might be arranged in order of acquisition, and that it would thus allow me to determine the relative dates of acquisition for those whose source was unknown.

I made a start on this, but the initial burst of enthusiasm faded when it became clear that patterns were unlikely to emerge, and the table has languished until now. Over the past few days, however, I have brought my table to a more complete state, and share it now as a Google Doc in case it is of use to anyone. It is arranged like this:
[Click to enlarge]
For anyone nervous about opening a shared Google Docs file, I have also put a PDF version on my academia.edu page here. (The Google Doc will be updated periodically, the PDF version probably won't).

I hope that people will find this table when they encounter a manuscript with a typical "Ex libris A. Brölemann" bookplate and Google it, and that they will send me additional identifications, current locations, or additional provenance.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

The Manuscripts of T. O. Weigel, III:
Miniatures at the Met and the Houghton

[Source]

In a 2016 blogpost I discussed the miniature above, which was given to The Metropolitan Museum in 1939. I showed that it can not only be traced to a 1912 Boerner auction [1], but also so a fixed-price catalogue issued by the same firm the following year. The Met website has since been updated to include this information and these two items of bibliography, and has added the (unsubstantiated) statement that Boerner sold it in 1913.

The scrolls held by the figures in the image make for an easy identification in the 1898 Weigel and 1905 Hiersemann catalogues:
We can thus take the provenance of the miniature back more than thirty years further, at least to 1881, when Weigel died.

Also in 2016, I wrote a couple of posts (here, with a postscript here) about this leaf at Harvard:
The unusual combination of a full-page miniature of The Baptism on the recto, and a full-page Beatus initial on the verso, makes it easy to identify as another of the Weigel leaves:

This allows us to flesh-out its provenance a bit more, as follows:
  • Theodor Oswald Weigel (1812-1881), Leipzig book dealer; included in his posthumous 1898 auction catalogue, but acquired instead by:
  • Karl W. Hiersemann (1854–1928), Leipzig book dealer; offered for sale in 1905 priced 500 Marks, but perhaps still unsold, and traded to:
  • C.G. Boerner, Leipzig book dealer and auctioneer, Auction CX, 28 November 1912, lot 15; presumably unsold, and re-offered in C.G. Boerner, Katalog XXIV (Leipzig [1913]), no. 20, priced 3,600 Marks; presumably unsold and traded to:
  • Gustav Nebehay (1881-1935), Leipzig book dealer; sold anonymously as "The Property of a Gentleman" at Sotheby's, 14-16 June 1926, lot 120; bought for for £80 by:
  • Maggs Bros., London book dealers, perhaps acting on behalf of:
  • Edgar Huidekoper Wells (1875-1938), of Edgar H. Wells & Co., a rare book company in New York, who in turn sold it to:
  • George J. Dyer, of New York; given in 1927 to the Fogg Art Museum (inv. no. 1927.21) and transferred in 1990 to:
  • The Houghton Library, Harvard.


[1] In fact, this information was already published in a footnote to a short acquisition announcement in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 35 no. 4 (April 1940), p. 93, of which I was unaware, but to which Michael Gullick drew my attention later:


Saturday, 21 December 2019

The Brölemann "Catalogue A" Has Resurfaced


"Catalogue de mes manuscrits" (detail of spine-title)

In several previous posts I have discussed the manuscripts of the Brölemann family, including the famous Beauvais Missal, and the catalogues of the collection (here).

In summary: hitherto, the only known catalogue of the manuscripts was printed in 1897; at the end of each entry it has references to "Cat. A" and "B", each with a number, presumably referring to two older handwritten catalogues or inventories:

The "A" numbers correspond to numbers found in the books themselves, usually on the front pastedown on an blue-edged octagonal paper label, such as this:
Underneath the A number, "A 79", is a price in code, in this case "uc".

Elsewhere on the pastedown there is often another number, prefixed "B", corresponding to the "B" numbers in the printed catalogue, and very occasionally corresponding to a brief description inserted into the manuscripts themselves.

A portion of the Brölemann library will be sold at auction in January, and it includes the long-lost handwritten "Catalogue A".