Saturday, 18 May 2019

Another "Spanish" Forger?

Wellesley College MS 27, fol. 15v (detail) [source]
I realise that such value-judgements are unfashionable, but to my eye, the painting of the Madonna and Child above is very ugly.

I also suspect that it is no older than the 19th century.

In April 2015, about year and a half before the Beyond Words exhibition opened, I contacted some of its organisers to suggest that the illuminated manuscript in which this miniature is found should perhaps not be included in the exhibition. I wrote:
"To me, the figures in the miniatures mostly look 19th-century, most obviously the Madonna and Child on f.15v, but I suspect that the whole miniatures, not just the figures, are modern, probably copied from a real Flemish book."
This opinion refers only to the miniatures, and especially the human figures in them; the manuscript in which the Madonna and Child miniatures appear is a genuine Book of Hours, which has been attributed to "Probably Antwerp, Brabant, southern Netherlands, c. 1480–90".

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

A Dismembered Book of Hours Once Owned by Count Durrieu: A Postscript

I have belatedly realised that the Olschki catalogue cited in the previous post is available online, and provides several images of the miniatures of the manuscript, some of them with unusual iconography:

Diptych of Christ Blessing and the Virgin, fols. IIv-IIIr
St John the Baptist, fol. 111v
St John on Patmos, fol. 112r
St Anthony of Padua and a corpse; Death and a nobleman, fol. 114r
St Francis preaching to animals(?), fol. 115r
Does any reader know where they are now?

I also now have a better scan of the small images in Pirages Catalogue 44:





Saturday, 11 May 2019

A Dismembered Book of Hours Once Owned by Count Durrieu


The image above shows a leaf of a manuscript that has puzzled me for some time. I don't recall having seen script and decoration like this anywhere else.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

The Nationality of the Sées Missal


A month ago I blogged about a Missal at Sées, datable to c.1332 (plus or minus 5 years) which I claimed to be English. Since then I have spoken to two specialists of English illumination, who both agreed that the script is English, but expressed scepticism about whether the decoration is English as well. So before posting a blog about the contents of the Missal, which has been sitting in my "Drafts" folder for some weeks, I feel I ought to address this issue.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

The Pontifical of John of Neumarkt (d. 1380)?



For about 20 years I have wanted to solve a puzzle concerning a bifolium from a grand Pontifical, later used as binding-waste. This week I had a breakthrough.

One side of the bifolium is shown above, and the other below. It is substantially complete, though creased and somewhat damaged (as binding waste almost invariably is), yet impressive due to its large size: about 39cm high by 57cm wide, the ruled space of the text in two columns of 21 lines being about 25cm by 18.5cm.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

A 15th-Century Breviary in Douai, Probably Made At Bury St Edmunds


Earlier this year I visited a few libraries in the far north of France, including Douai. One manuscript that I pre-requested to see is their MS 167, an English 15th-century Sarum Breviary. Such a text would not normally be of much interest to me, but for the fact that, based on the images online, I thought it was probably produced at Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk, one of few English regional styles of illumination that I can recognise with some confidence.

By asking to examine the manuscript in person I hoped that I might find my gut-feeling confirmed, for example by finding that St Edmund and other East Anglian saints are given special emphasis.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

"Madame X" and the Marcadé Collection


During the past few years I have tried hard to verify the identity the woman whose manuscript illuminations were auctioned anonymously at the Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, on 6 December 1926:
Title-page
[detail]
"Catalogue des enluminures de hautes époques, tirés des manuscrits et antiphonaires ... appartenant a Madame X ... dont la vente aux enchères publique aura lieu Galerie Georges Petit ... le lundi 6 décembre 1926"