Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition, Winter 1926-27 [Part I]


Most readers of this blog will be aware of the landmark 1908 exhibition of illuminated manuscripts held by the Burlington Fine Arts Club (BFAC) in 1908. In a previous post, I discussed two lesser-known exhibitions of illuminated manuscripts held by the BFAC, in 1874 and 1886.

Even less well known that either of these two exhibitions, however, each of which is commemorated by a printed catalogue, is an exhibition held during the winter of 1926 to 1927, for which there is no published catalogue.

There is, however, a typescript draft catalogue which only survives in a single copy, as far as I am aware. It was in the BFAC archive transferred to the library of the V&A Museum when the BFAC was wound-up in 1951.

The Exhibition Committee was composed of five men, including St.John Hornby, a well-known collector of manuscripts:

The exhibition consisted, as the title-page above shows, of "Pictures, Drawings, Pages from Illuminated Manuscripts, Furniture, and Objets d'Art". They were apparently displayed in the Club's Gallery and in the downstairs "Writing Room" at 17, Savile Row.

Some of the manuscript items are easily recognisable. The first two exhibits were a cutting from an Italian choirbook, and a leaf from a copy of Les Sept articles de la Foi, by Jean Chappuis, illuminated by Maître François, lent by Sydney Cockerell:

Cockerell had acquired it it 1906, in time to include it in the 1908 BFAC exhibition (no.225); he sold it at Sotheby's in 1957, where it was bought by the Art Institute, Chicago (1957.162):

[This blog-post is late because I have been in the US for the past two weeks. I'll try to resume my normal Saturday postings this weekend with a continuation of this look at the BFAC exhibition.]

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