Saturday, 25 October 2014

Yet More About the Cuttings From the Bible of Pedro of Pamplona

In a recent post I discussed some of the missing cuttings of the Bible of Pedro of Pamplona, known only from old photographs.

Within a few days of that post Bill Stoneman, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at Houghton Library, Harvard, identified for me the present whereabouts of one of the initials I had discussed; and just a few days after that Geneviève Mariéthoz sent me news that two more cuttings have been acquired by the Bibliothèque municipale in Angers.

First, here is Geneviève's report:
Deux fragments de la Bible de Pierre de Pampelune, qui ont été identifiés par François Avril en 2009, se trouvaient il y a peu dans une collection privée française. Ils ont été acquis en août 2014 par la Bibliothèque municipale d’Angers.
Monsieur Marc-Édouard Gautier, directeur adjoint et conservateur chargé des fonds patrimoniaux de cette bibliothèque, précise que les deux miniatures de la Bible de Pierre de Pampelune portent désormais les cotes suivantes:
« Rés. Ms 2370 (1) » pour la miniature de Jérémie,
« Rés. Ms 2370 (2) » pour une initiale « P » des Épîtres de saint Paul.  
Notice de la bibliothèque municipale d’Angers:*frf 
Description des fragments:
Angers, B.M., Rés. Ms 2370 (1) : Une miniature de petite taille (2,2 x 2,4 cm) dépeint le prophète Jérémie assis sur un siège à dossier, tenant et désignant un phylactère partiellement déroulé sur lequel son nom est inscrit.
Angers, B.M., Rés. Ms 2370 (2) : Une lettrine « P » à la hampe tronquée (env. 2,8 x 3,4 cm) illustre probablement de l’Épître de Paul aux Philippins, qui manque dans la bible sévillane. Saint Paul, assis sur un siège surmonté d’un ample coussin, transmet, à un jeune messager vêtu d’une tunique – son disciple Timothée ? –, son épître figurée sous la forme d’un rouleau inscrit partiellement déroulé, dont chaque protagoniste tient une extrémité.
Geneviève Mariéthoz, Dr de l'Université de Genève

-- -- --

The other re-discovered initial brought to my attention my Bill Stoneman is now MS 31 at Brandeis University, a few miles west of Boston:
Robert D. Farber University Archives &
Special Collections Department, Brandeis University
A label on the back of the frame of this cutting records its donation to Brandeis:
"Gift of Eugene L. Garbáty – Oct. 3 1962 Illuminated initial E showing in its upper half St. Peter kneeling before X, and in lower half, X preaching to 5 men – French, early 14th cent. (ca.1300)"
Eugene (1880–1966) belonged to a wealthy Jewish family of cigarette manufacturers in Berlin, whose family home was Schloss Altdöbern. The company was founded in 1882 by his father, Josef. In 1916 Josef's sons, Moritz and Eugene became co-owners, and a decade later in 1929 Josef retired and Eugene sold his 50% share to Reemtsmaa competitor brand. The factory was "Aryanized" in 1938; Josef died in Berlin in June 1939; and the rest of the family emigrated to the USA the same year (see Beate Meyer, "'Aryanized' and Finacially Ruined: the Case of the Garbáty Family", in Beate Meyer, ed., Jews in Nazi Berlin: From Kristallnacht to Liberation (Berlin, 2000), pp.64–79).

At the beginning of 1940 Eugene was apparently living in New York (he later settled at Shorehaven, Connecticut), when he loaned the initial to an exhibition in Boston:

The next stage in the provenance of the initial is very curious and presents an interesting puzzle. Despite the fact that he donated it to Brandeis in 1962, he had apparently sold it at Sotheby's six years earlier, on 23 April 1956, lot 34:

Lot 34 was bought by "Hammerstein" for £55, and lot 35 (also owned by Garbáty, and also later donated to Brandeis) went to the same buyer for £70. There is no indication in the master copy of the Sotheby's catalogue (now at the British Library) that either lot had a reserve price, or that either lot was "bought in" and returned to its owner.

Perhaps Garbáty was working with "Hammerstein", simply to establish the market value of these two lots? Or perhaps "Hammerstein" was an alias for Garbáty himself, bidding on his own property for the same purpose? If so, sending the items to London and getting them sent back, seems to be an expensive way to have done so. It is perhaps more likely that Garbáty genuinely sold the two items at a time of financial need; that Hammerstein was a dealer; and that Garbáty later bought them back from Hammerstein when his finances improved.

This cutting is due to be included in the exhibition of medieval manuscripts from Boston-area collections, to be held in 2016. Hopefully the puzzle will be solved in time to be explained in the exhibition catalogue.

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