Saturday, 7 December 2019

The Manuscripts of T. O. Weigel, I:
The Catalogues

Some years ago, in part payment for some work I had done for a dealer, I acquired two copies of the auction catalogue of manuscripts of Theodor Oswald Weigel (1812-1881), bookseller and art historian of Leipzig, but best known as a collector and publisher of 15th and 16th-century prints.

One copy is in a red hardback binding and was published in Leipzig by the firm of Oswald Weigel, and has dual title-pages in German and French [1], announcing that the auction would take place "im Oswald Weigel'schen Auctionslocale in Leipzig, Koenigsstrasse 1 1, am 12. Juli 1898":
 or "... dans la salle de vente de la maison Oswald Weigel ... le 12 juillet 1898":
As these title-pages state, there are five "colorirten Tafeln" / "planches colouriées", one of which is shown at the top of this post.

My copy of this catalogue is annotated in pencil with corrections, suggesting that the manuscripts were available for examination, even though the sale was cancelled (see below). I do not know whose copy this was, but they were clearly more knowledgable than the author of the catalogue; here, for example, they correct a mid-12th-century date to the first half of the 13th century:

The other copy of the catalogue seems to be almost identical, except that the reproductions are not in colour and all references to the auction itself have been crossed-through in red by overprinting:

It also has an additional pair of German and French title-pages, which includes at the bottom a statement that the Weigel collection is now in the possession of another book dealer (also based in Königsstraße [now renamed Goldschmidtstraße], Leipzig), Karl W. Hiersemann (1854–1928):
Tucked loosely into the hardbound copy is a four-leaf pamphlet, dated Leipzig, Oktober 1905, in which Hiersemann explains that the 1898 auction did not take place, and that the contents of the cancelled sale are now being offered at fixed prices:
Many items have a few notes to supplement or correct the 1898 descriptions:
I knew nothing about the owner or the auction when I acquired the catalogues and have only recently had a reason to look at them more closely.

Of the five reproductions in the catalogue, I recognise only the one shown at the top of this post; it is a portion of the Ramsey Psalter, now at the Morgan Library:
Morgan Library, MS M.302 fol. 4v [Source]
Several other Wiegel manuscripts are also at the Morgan:

Wiegel no. 2 = MS M.284:

Wiegel no. 3 = MS M.299
(This miniature is also reproduced in the catalogue)

Wiegel no.  4 = MS M.280:

Wiegel no. 7 = MS M.268:

Wiegel no. 49 = MS M.279:

Wiegel no.  50 = MS M.267 (description; no images online)

One more ex-Wiegel bound volume was no. 30; it was in the Vasselot Collection, and sold at Christie's, Paris, in 2011:

The Wiegel provenance of all of these was already known; what interests me more are the single leaves and miniatures whose Wiegel provenance has been forgotten. Over the coming weeks I therefore plan to write a few short posts, each identifying and discussing one or two such items.

[1]  Katalog einer Sammlug illuminirter Manuscripte und Miniaturen auf Einzelblaettern aus dem Besitze von T. O. Weigel in Leipzig / Catalogue d’une collection de manuscrits enluminés et de miniatures sur feuilles séparées, provenant de la succession de feu Mr. T. O. Weigel à Leipzig ... 12 July 1898 et les jours suivants (Leipzig: Oswald Wiegel, 1898). A digitized copy with the colour reproductions is available via

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