Saturday, 23 January 2021

More ex-Hachette Illuminations at Yale University Art Gallery

As it turned out, there was only one day when Oxford libraries reopened after the Christmas and New Year break, before they had to close again due to new Covid restrictions. Fortunately, I had booked a slot on that day, and was therefore able to work through a list of things that I wanted to check. One of these was Charles Seymour's 1970 catalogue of Yale Art Gallery's early Italian paintings, which I had been unable to consult when writing this blog post.

For the sake of completeness, it seems worth providing a full list of the Lehman illuminations now at Yale, whose Hachette provenance has been unknown since 1954. I can now tabulate the Yale items with their respective numbers in the catalogues by Seymour [1], Pia Palladino [2], and the 1953 Hachette auction [3].

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Contemporary Descriptions of Ottley's Portfolios

Samuel Rogers (1763-1855) [Source]

A little while ago I was very pleased to find a contemporary description of Ottley's portfolio of medieval illuminated manuscript cuttings, and in light of the recent posts about the sheets on which he mounted his cuttings, later bound into an album owned by Hoe and now at Harvard, it seemed worth sharing it now.

The story concerns Samuel Rogers [Wikipedia], one of the most celebrated English poets of his day (until his fame was eclipsed by Wordsworth, Coleridge and Byron), who was able to lead a life of leisure and art-collecting after inheriting a large share of his father's banking business. Of several possible portraits I have selected the one above because it gives a sense of his beady eyes, for reasons that will become apparent below.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

The Hoe Album IV: More Ottley Identifications

In previous posts we have seen that five groups of cuttings from the Hoe Album, now at the Houghton Library, Harvard, can be confidently identified with five lots in the 1838 Ottley sale catalogue.

The first piece of evidence was the presence of a cutting signed by its illuminator, Frate Nebridio. From that firm foundation we found that other lots could be identified by a combination of features: their style, subject-matter, traces of erased pencil lot numbers, and the fact that they had all been bought by Payne.

Using the same kinds evidence, several more Harvard cuttings can be identified as coming from lots in the Ottley sale catalogue, and today we'll look at two of them.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

The Hoe Album, III: Payne

My primary interest in the Hoe Album, until recently, was not Nebridio: it was the border cutting from the Murano Gradual, discussed here. But now that we have established that many or all of Hoe's Nebridio cuttings came from the Ottley sale, we can ask another queston: did Ottley also own the Murano cutting?

Saturday, 26 December 2020

The Hoe Album II: More Cuttings Illuminated by Nebridio

Last week we saw that two cuttings illuminated by Frate Nebridio passed from the Ottley sale in 1838, to Robert Hoe, and eventually to the Houghton Library, where they form part of MS Typ 979.

Looking through the thirteen cuttings that comprise MS Typ 979, I found that eight of the others have also been attributed to Frate Nebridio [1]. This raises the possibility that they all passed together, as a group (via as yet unidentified intermediary owners), from Ottley to Hoe. So can any of these other Nebridio cuttings be identified in the Ottley sale catalogue?

Sunday, 20 December 2020

The Hoe Album, I: Frate Nebridio

Following my blogpost in September in which I virtually reunited a cutting of an illuminated border at Harvard, with an historiated initial at the Fitzwilliam Museum illuminated by the Master of the Murano Gradual, I had  a series of email exchanges with Bill Stoneman, which have now borne unexpected but very satisfying fruit.

The Murano border is one of a series of illuminated cuttings at Harvard with consecutive shelfmarks and a common recent provenance, described in detail below. A few of these cuttings have previously been associated with William Young Ottley (especially those with "from the Cathedral of Como" inscriptions, like those discussed in this post), but I can now show that all of them come from the 1838 Ottley sale.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

A Fake in Detroit: An Addendum

Regular readers will remember the fake miniature of Abelard (shown above) about which I posted a year ago , and mentioned again in February this year.

It was given to Detroit in March 1925:

"Given by Mrs. John S. Newberry (23 March 1925)."

I can now take the provenance back a little further.