Saturday, 19 July 2014

A Miniature from the Loredan Hours in Los Angeles

LACMA exterior (from Google streetview)
A recent visit to LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) led to some nice surprises. One was the discovery of another of the missing miniatures from the so-called Loredan Hours, about which I wrote previously.

It has a pope, cardinal, king, and layman kneeling before God in heaven, and illustrates a suffrage for Peace:
Los Angeles, LACMA, 58.62.1, verso
In the previous blog-post I gathered together four of the dispersed miniatures now in American collections. Most of the rest of the manuscript is now Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, ms. 575, of which images are online via the BnF image-bank.

Essentially the Arsenal volume is the first half of a Book of Hours, with the following texts and miniatures:
  • Calendar
  • Gospel extracts
    • (fol.13r) John
    • (fol.15r) Luke
    • (fol.17r) Matthew
    • (fol.19v) Mark
  • Hours of St Anne
    • (fol.21r) The Meeting at the Golden Gate
  • Hours of St Catherine
    • (fol.26r) St Catherine
  • Hours of the Virgin
    • Annunciation [now separate, belongs before fol.33r]
    • (fol.56v) Visitation [illuminated by the Fastolf Master]
    • (fol.73r) Nativity [illuminated by the Fastolf Master]
    • (fol.80r) Circumcision [illuminated by the Fastolf Master]
    • (fol.86r) Adoration of the Magi
    • (fol.92r) Presentation
    • (fol.98r) Flight into Egypt
    • (fol.108r) Massacre of the Innocents
  • (fol.114v) Hours of the Passion (alias Long Hours of the Cross)
    • (fol.125r) Betrayal and Arrest
    • (fol.127r) Christ before Pilate
    • (fol.128r) Flagellation
    • (fol.129r) Mocking
    • (fol.130r) Crucifixion
    • (fol.131r) Deposition
    • (fol.132r) Entombment
    • (fol.133r) Resurrection
  • (fol.124v) The Fifteen Gradual Psalms (Pss.119-133)
    • (fol.139r) Ps.124. The Incredulity of Thomas
    • (fol.145r) Ps.129. Ascension
  • (fol.149v) Hours of the Spirit
    • (fol.150r) Pentecost
The dispersed miniatures come from a second volume, as François Avril realised; they were formerly in a codex of 102 leaves with 17 miniatures which was sold at  Sotheby's, Illuminated and Other Manuscripts, Sacred and Secular, Autograph Letters and Modern Historical and Literary Documents ... 15–16 March 1907, lot 459, part of "The Property of a Gentleman" (lots 458–461), in a binding described as "old red morocco gilt", with two plates reproducing the miniatures of St Sebastian and St John the Baptist. Annotated copies of the catalogue show that it was bought by "Belin" for £355.

The volume was next offered by Théophile Belin, in his Catalogue de livres précieux, riches reliures ... (Paris, 1908), item 325, with a plate reproducing the St Nicholas leaf.


Belin reoffered it the following year in his Manuscrits avec miniatures, livres à figures sur bois des XVe et XVIe siècles (Paris, 1909), item 11, reproducing the leaf with the Trinity miniature.

In both catalogues the binding is described as:
"mar[oquin] rouge, dent[elle], tr[anche] dorée (Rel[iure] anc[ienne])"
The volume was broken-up with a few years and the miniatures appear in Ludwig Rosenthal's Antiquariat, Katalog 155: Handschriften & Miniaturen aus Europa, Asien und Africa VIII.–XIX. Jahrhundert (Munich, [1914]), items 487–502.

Therefore, we can assume that in addition to several more miniatures, there are 86 text leaves from the manuscript waiting to be recognised. The reverse (recto) of the LACMA leaf gives a good impression of what we should be looking for:

The text here is the end of the suffrage for All Saints, the 15th of the 17 miniatures. Just about visible in the upper right corner of the recto is a pencil folio number "50":


From the 20th-century descriptions we know that the volume was essentially the second half of the Arsenal 575 Book of Hours, described above; its texts and miniatures were:
  • Seven Penitential Psalms, litany, collects
  • Suffrages
    • St Michael 
      • Rosenthal no.492: "St. Georges en armure d'or tuant le dragon, au fond un paysage avec édifices"
    • Sts Peter & Paul 
      • Rosenthal no.488: "debout dans une chapelle"
    • St John the Baptist 
      • Rosenthal no.493; now in Honolulu
    • Trinity 
      • Rosenthal no.494; reproduced in Belin 1909 - see below
    • Mass of St Gregory 
      • Rosenthal no.500: "Un Pape à genoux à l'autel et priant"
    • St Christopher 
      • Rosenthal no.491, with plate - see below
    • St Eustace
    • St Sebastian 
      • Rosenthal no.489, with plate - see below; now in Honolulu.
    • St Francis 
      • Rosenthal no.496: "Stigmatisation de St. François, au fond un château dans un beau paysage"
    • St Louis? 
      • probably Rosenthal no.497: "[St Antoine?] Un saint avec la gloriole debout dans une chapelle, tenant une branche"
    • St Nicholas 
      • Rosenthal no.487; reproduced in Belin 1908; J. Günther, A Selection of Manuscripts and Miniatures (2003), no.43
    • Mary Magdalene 
      • Rosenthal no.501: "debout dans un paysage sous le ciel étoilé"
    • St Clare 
      • Rosenthal no.502: "debout dans une place entourée d'une muraille, au fond un paysage"
    • All Saints 
      • Rosenthal no.495: "12 portraits de saints avec glorioles"
    • Peace 
      • Rosenthal no.499; now at LACMA
  • Office of the Dead
    • Funeral Service 
      • Rosenthal no.498?: "[La Messe] Un prêtre disant la messe, derrière lui des religieuses et ecclésiastiques"
The Rosenthal catalogue reproduces two of the miniatures:
St Christopher
St Sebastian
The second of these, as Scott Gwara has kindly informed me, is together with the John the Baptist leaf in Honolulu, both having been acquired in 1961:

And the 1909 Belin catalogue reproduces another leaf, still unaccounted for:
The Trinity
Finally (for now), the St Nicholas leaf was offered by Jörn Günther in A Selection of Manuscripts and Miniatures (2003), no.43, and is now (he kindly informs me) in a private collection in Belgium:

The other leaves will doubtless emerge in due course. I would be grateful to readers who bring any of them to my attention.

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