Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition Catalogues

Many readers of this blog will know the Burlington Fine Arts Club in London held a truly landmark exhibition of about 270 illuminated manuscript books, leaves, and cuttings in 1908, but perhaps most will not know that this was preceded by two others.
"Case B: English Psalters etc.", as displayed at the 1908 exhibition
The catalogues of all three are now available online.

The Illuminated Manuscripts Catalogue (Printed for the Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1874) is online here.
The Preface notes that "The magnificent collection of Mr. Bragge, which fills five entire cases and part of a sixth, forms the nucleus of the Exhibition, and should be separately noticed." William Bragge (1823–1884) lent eighty-one manuscripts: catalogue numbers 1–73, 112, 116–118, 120, 121, 126, and 127. Following the 161 codices is a section devoted to 52 "Single Leaves and Cuttings", including a few modern copies.

The Catalogue of a Series of Illuminations from MSS. Principally of the Italian and French Schools  (Printed for the Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1886) is online here.
In this instance the exhibits were "lent by Mr. C. Brinsley Marlay" (1831–1912), who bequeathed them to the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Charles Brinsley Marley, c.1850 [Source]

Finally, and by far the most important, the Exhibition of Illuminated Manuscripts (Printed for the Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1908), online here:
Unfortunately, the copy available online is the unillustrated edition of the catalogue. It seems that both editions were printed from the same type, but the unillustrated edition is on much smaller paper, at about 280×220mm as compared to the illustrated edition, whose pages are 405×305mm:


Each of these exhibitions deserves an individual future blogpost, as does an exhibition held in the winter of 1926–27, of which a few copies exist of the unpublished Catalogue of a Collection of Pictures, Drawings, Pages from Illuminated Manuscripts, Furniture and Objets d'Art (Typescript, London, 1926).

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