Sunday 17 December 2017

Barney Rosenthal, by Ian Jackson

Many readers of this blog will have known, or at least known of, Bernard ("Barney") Rosenthal, who died at the beginning of the year. There are online obituaries by John Schilman here and by Ian Jackson here (also here).

Saturday 9 December 2017

A Third New Cutting Illuminated by the Master of the Brussels Initials

Trawling images on my hard drive this week for something completely different I came across another cutting, apparently unpublished, apparently from the same Gradual as the ones in a recent post, now at the Detroit Institute of Arts:

Sunday 3 December 2017

Louise Ege, Book-Breaker

After Otto Ege's early death in 1951, his widow Louise inherited his estate, of which much of the value was his collection of medieval manuscript leaves. At the time of his death he had apparently done all the groundwork to prepare the portfolios of "Fifty Original Leaves", but did not live long enough to start marketing and selling them. In a previous post I looked at an example of Louise's attempts to market portfolios after his death.

It is usually assumed or implied that she sold leaves from books that he had already broken up, and that her role after his death was simply to try to recover the money that he had invested in the collection, but I have recently identified an example of a book that she apparently bought and broke herself.

Monday 27 November 2017

Two New Cuttings Illuminated by the Master of the Brussels Initials: A Postscript

Christie's kindly send me some snaps of the cutting that is at the top of my previous post; personally, I think the iPhone snap (above) looks much more appealing, and the colours more believable, than the professional studio image used on the website (below):

Saturday 25 November 2017

Two New Cuttings Illuminated by the Master of the Brussels Initials

St John the Evangelist. Initial "U". 
[Source: Christie's "online only" auction.]
Christie's forthcoming "online only" sale of leaves and cuttings includes an unrecorded cutting from a Gradual (above) illuminated by an artist in whom I've had an interest for many years: the so-called Master of the Brussels Initials.

Saturday 18 November 2017

Cuttings Related to the Missal of Leo X

In a series of previous posts (e.g. here) I have been gradually finding dispersed cuttings from a Missal of Pope Leo X.

I recently looked, for the first time in more than a decade, at the catalogue of the Holford Collection, published in two volumes in 1927:

Saturday 11 November 2017

The "Ghistelles" Hours [III]

The main clue to the origins of the Ghistelles Hours (as I will continue to call it) is its first quire, which was owned by Rosy Schilling, and sold after her death at Sotheby’s, 5 December 1994, lot 20:
It was resold at Sotheby's, 1 December 1998, lot 17, and is now at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; I am very grateful to Lynley Herbert of the Walters for her help in my investigations.

Saturday 4 November 2017

The "Ghistelles" Hours [II]

The 1989 catalogue of manuscripts in New Zealand was the first attempt to pull together what was known about the manuscript and list its dispersed leaves. As mentioned in the previous post, this was the first time that the manuscript was associated with John III of Ghistelles:

Sunday 8 October 2017

The "Ghistelles" Hours [I]

Over the course of  a few blog posts I plan to re-examine the provenance of the so-called Ghistelles Hours, and especially its oft-repeated association with Jan III, heer van Gistel, a.k.a. John III Ghistelles (d.1315), Lord of Ghistelles.

For this first post, why is the manuscript known as the Ghistelles Hours?

Sunday 27 August 2017

A Tree of Affinity [Part II]

A few weeks ago I wrote about a single leaf with a Tree of Affinity, now in a private collection. Since then I have had the opportunity to examine and photograph the parent volume, thanks to Mike Widener, of the Yale Law Library.

The volume is still bound in old red velvet, as described in the 1909 Delamarre auction catalogue:

Saturday 29 July 2017

Two More Miniatures from the Loredan Hours

Greg Clark has kindly contacted me, sending me a scan of a slide found among the those of the late Anne van Buren, depicting two more of the missing leaves of the Loredan Hours, about which I have written before, here in 2012 and here in 2014.

Sunday 23 July 2017

A Tree of Affinity

One of the miniatures in the private collection that I am cataloguing is this leaf with a fine miniature of a Tree of Affinity:

I already knew it from reproductions is a series of dealer an auction catalogues from the past few decades:

Sunday 9 July 2017

The Voynich Manuscript

Michal Habdank-Wojnicz, alias Wilfrid Voynich
I have been sent by its publisher a copy of The Voynich Manuscript: The World's Most Mysterious and Esoteric Codex, with Foreword by Stephen Skinner and Introduction by Rafał T. Prinke and René Zandbergen (Watkins, 2017).

Monday 5 June 2017

Alfred Henry Huth (1850-1910)

Following my blog post about Henry Huth, Ian Jackson contacted me with the following amusing note about his son Alfred (shown above), which I share with his permission:
"The younger Huth is also worthy of attention. He wanted to marry his cousin, but his (or their) parents forbade it on grounds of consanguinity. He then spent several years studying the subject, producing not only a thin (but pioneering) bibliography on the marriage of near kin, but a fat book on its history and anthropology, abundantly documented as only a bookworm could. 
His conclusion was that the only form of incest generally condemned around the globe was between parties of vastly different age. The family realized that they're been let off lightly, and consented to the marriage. It's the most heartwarming story of applied bibliography I know."

Here are some of Alfred Huth's publications:
  • The marriage of near kin considered with respect to the laws of nations, the results of experience and the teachings of biology (London, 1885, second edition 1887).
  • "The Fertilization of Plants and Consanguineous Marriage ...", The Westminster Review (London, 1877).
  • An Index to books and papers on marriage between near kin. From the Appendix to the Report of the Index Society (London, 1879).

Saturday 27 May 2017

Leaves Bound for Mark Lansburgh?

Mark Lansburgh [Source]
Four leaves of the so-called Knyvett Hours (of which two other leaves with miniatures were sold at Sotheby's on Tuesday), now at LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), are bound in plain parchment over pasteboards, with a title in gilt capitals on the front cover and spine, and signed on the turn-in “Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, London, England”.

Friday 19 May 2017

Quires From a Rennes Breviary, now in New York

On a recent Saturday in New York I visited the Public Library and examined a few manuscripts that were - understandably - not considered sufficiently beautiful or interesting for inclusion in the 2006 Splendors of the Word exhibition.

Saturday 29 April 2017

Cuttings at the Walters

I spent part of the Easter weekend sorting through my filing-cabinet of photocopies. Among them was a brief article by Judith Oliver in an old issue of the Walters Art Gallery Bulletin, called "Manuscripts, Scissors, and Paste" (vol.31, no.3, December 1978, pp.[1-2]), in which she discusses two examples of manuscripts being cut up.

The first (above) caught my eye because I recognised the style: the illumination is attributable to the so-called Almagest atelier, and it reminds me of some leaves in a private collection I am currently cataloguing, which have a number of their illuminated initials cut out.

Saturday 22 April 2017

More About The Elmhirst-Courtanvaux Hours

Several more leaves from the manuscript I am calling the Elmhirst-Courtanvaux Hours have been consigned for sale at Sotheby's on 23 May. They provide two important clues as to the place of origin and the patron.

Saturday 15 April 2017

Tracing the Present Whereabouts

In a previous post I mentioned some cuttings from an early 15th-century Parisian Book of Hours, each with a miniature in the style of Jacquemart de Hesdin. I took the reproduction above from the 1983 Sotheby's catalogue in which they were last sold, as lot 99.

A reader contacted me to ask if I knew where they are now, and I didn't. But I thought that it ought to be possible to work it out.

Saturday 8 April 2017

A Fifth New Leo X cutting

I have written about a dismembered Missal of Leo X several times, most recently here. Browsing images of cuttings in Parisian collections I came across this initial "P", in the Musée des arts décoratifs, shown above.

The online description is vague:

Sunday 2 April 2017

Henry Huth (1815–1878): An Addendum

In my previous post I mentioned that I had not yet tried to verify my hunch that the so-called Haddaway Bible (of which I show another detail above) had belonged to Henry Huth, rather than being added to their library by his son, Alfred.

I suggested that a good clue would be whether or not a bible listed in the catalogue of Henry's books published in 1880, as being bound in BR[own] M[orocco], could be identified with the Haddaway Bible, which is known to have been lot 645 in the sale of the Huth Library at Sotheby's, 15 November 1911, and following days. If the Haddaway Bible, when sold in 1911, did NOT have a brown morocco binding, then it is almost certainly not the one described in the 1880 catalogue, and my hypothesis would be proved incorrect.

On reading that blog, Bill Stoneman very kindly consulted a copy of the 1911 catalogue and sent me a scan of the relevant pages:
As can be seen, the last word on page 180 and the first on p.181 described the binding as "brown morocco".

It is also notable that the early 13th-century manuscript is incorrectly dated "XIVth Century", just as the manuscript had been in the 1880 catalogue. It therefore seems that we now have proof that the Haddaway Bible did indeed belong to Henry Huth.

But Bill then went further and made a remarkable discovery. Next to the Huth auction catalogue on the shelves at the Houghton Library is a finely bound copy of the 1880 catalogue, with (i) the Huth leather book-label on the upper pastedown,
(ii) an inserted original photograph of Alfred Huth,
and (iii) annotations in the main text:

These enhancements demonstrate that this was Alfred Huth's own copy of the catalogue of his father's library.

The marginal annotations next to each catalogue entry consist of a price, an initial letter (such as "E", "L", "Q", and "S"), and a two-digit number.

The price is doubtless the purchase price (or possible a probate valuation?), the initial letters must indicate the source (since "Q" is unlikely to stand for anything other than Quaritch), and the final two digits are presumably the year: on the pages shown above they range from [18]56 to [18]76. If "Q" is Quaritch, "E" is probably F.S. Ellis, "S" is probably Sotheby's, and "L" is doubtless Joseph Lilly: according to the ODNB entry on Henry Huth, "Joseph Lilly ... exercised a good deal of influence on his purchases over the years and was generally his agent".

The Haddaway Bible was therefore bought by Henry Huth in 1856 for £18 18s from Joseph Lilly. Lilly may have sold it from stock for 18 Guineas, or perhaps he bought it at auction on behalf of Huth for £18, to which he added 5% commission.

The next step in tracing the provenance of the Haddaway Bible will therefore be to trawl auction and Lilly catalogues for 1856. For the latter, David Pearson's Provenance Research in Book History: A Handbook, tells us "The best collection will be found in the Bodleian Library, which hold about 180 Lilly catalogues, 1827-70 ... many of these were previously Sir Thomas Phillipps's copies".

Saturday 1 April 2017

Henry Huth (1815–1878)

Henry Huth (1815–1878)
I have recently been doing some work on a bible that is often usually referred to by the names of its former owners as the Huth-Hornby-Cockerell-Haddaway Bible, or simply the Haddaway Bible, from which this image comes:

The outlines of its provenance are well known, and get repeated when leaves appear on the market, most recently at Christie's, December 2015, lot 5. Sometimes the first owner is recorded as Henry Huth (1815–1878), and sometimes as his son, Alfred Henry Huth (1850–1910), also a bibliophile, who added to his father's collection. The manuscript was broken-up in 1981 so some evidence on flyleaves may have been lost forever, but I thought it worth seeing if there is any evidence that the book did indeed belong to the father before the son.

Sunday 12 March 2017

Another Forrer Bible Historiale Cutting?

On my way back from seeing the current exhibition of manuscripts in Rouen (perhaps the subject of a future post?), I visited the Musée Marmottan yesterday for the first time in about 20 years, to look at the Wildenstein leaves and cuttings, about which I've written several times before (e.g. here).

Saturday 4 March 2017

The Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition, Winter 1926-27 [Part II] - Addendum 2

In a previous post I identified one of the leaves that was exhibited at the 1926-27 BFAC exhibition.

A private collector who owns another leaf from this volume (shown above) has contacted me and told me that his leaf was sold at Sotheby's, 2 Dec 2003, lot 26. I had annotated my copy of this catalogue with references to several other sales, which enables me to provide a much more detailed provenance for the parent volume and some of the individual leaves:

Sunday 26 February 2017

The Texas Gutenburg Bible

I've just watched a good lecture, by Eric White, analysing the provenance of the copy of the Gutenburg Bible now in the Harry Ransom Center, at Austin, Texas. Despite concerning a printed book, the lecture combines analysis of the most of my favourite clues to a manuscript's provenance: added decoration, handwritten additions, and entries in modern printed catalogues.

For example, there is this inscription, which (as Neil Ker pointed out) indicates that it was in Carthusian ownership:

You can watch the lecture on YouTube here.

Saturday 18 February 2017

George Jackson (1692-1763) of Livorno

This week, I learned of the existence of the significant library of George Jackson, an English merchant who lived in Livorno, and about whom I would like to know more.

Saturday 21 January 2017

Fragments of a Dismembered Bible Historiale

In December 2015 Bloomsbury auctions offered a cutting "showing the murder of a youth" (lot 61 in the catalogue), attributed to "the early fourteenth-century husband and wife illuminator-team Richard and Jean [sic] de Montbaston":

The text was not precisely identified, and the iconography only tentatively so: "The parent text here may well be from a Bible translation, with part of Proverbs, and if correct, then the scene may represent Cain and Abel".

Sunday 8 January 2017