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".

The cutting was unsold at Bloomsbury and re-offered a year later, at Sotheby's, 6 December 2016, lot 18, where it sold, with a lower estimate:
Here, for the first time:
(1) the text was firmly identified as part of the Bible Historiale of Guyart des Moulins:
(2) the former ownership of Robert Forrer of Strasbourg (whom I have mentioned a few times on this blog, e.g. here) was recorded, as it has his typical purple-ink stamp (Lugt 941a):

(3) and a sister-cutting at the Free Library was identified (also previously in the Forrer collection):

Today I found what I think must be another cutting from the same manuscript, with the end of IV Kings and the beginning of Job, now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam:

It seems very likely that more bits of this volume will surface ...

Update, 22 January 2017
Well, that didn't take long! Anne Korteweg has kindly contacted me to remind me that she published the the Amsterdam cutting, along with one now in Enschede, and also referred to the Philadelphia one, in the exhibition catalogue Splendour, Gravity and Emotion (The Hague, 2002) pp.84-85 figs.64-65, and p.208 nos.36a-b, attributed to Richard de Montbaston. I should have remembered one or other of these catalogues, especially as the Enschede one has their cutting on the front cover of the catalogue:

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