Saturday, 28 March 2020

A Recently Dismembered Illuminated Bible, Probably from Oxford

I have become aware in the last few years of leaves of a 13th-century Bible, that have appeared on the market in the past decade. I had been cursorily filing images from online auctions, but only recently did I have a reason to look into it more closely.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

A Dispersed Album of Illuminated Cuttings

Boston Public Library, MS pb Med. 174
An exchange on Twitter this week caused me to look again at the online images of single leaves at cuttings at the Boston Public Library, and it reminded me that they have the item shown above: a cutting of an illuminated manuscript on parchment, inset into a paper mount, which was presumably either fol. 38 in a bound volume or no. 38 in a portfolio of loose leaves. The number appears in the upper right corner:

Sunday, 15 March 2020

The Macclesfield Copy of the Works of Lewis Caerleon

On Friday, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, issued a Press Release announcing that they have has placed a temporary export bar on a manuscript of astronomical works by Lewis of Caerleon (d. c. 1500).

I catalogued it for the owner in 2009, and revised my description for an exhibition in 2014. It was thanks to that work that I was able to recognise another Lewis Caerleon manuscript at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, about which I blogged in 2016.

The volume seems to have been written under the author's direct supervision, and he writes his name in several places. I reproduced a few images of Lewis's signature in the 2016 blog, but here I will show the evidence for the other stages in its provenance.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

A Glimpse of Bathsheba Bathing

I decided to fill some free time one evening recently by browsing old art-sale catalogues at the Warburg Institute (arguably the best humanities library in London). Usually when I browse old catalogues I concentrate on auction catalogues of medieval manuscripts, but illuminated manuscripts occasionally appear in catalogues of Old Master drawings (the subject of a future blogpost) and of more general art collections.

The front cover of one such is shown above; the title-page provides more information:

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Provenance Details Depicted in Manuscripts Depicted in Paintings

I've been in Belgium most of the week, to see the Van Eyck exhibition in Ghent, so have not had time to write the usual blogpost.  Apart from the exhibition, one of the most interesting things I saw was an exceptionally detailed depiction of two Books of Hours in this pair of early 16th-century Flemish portraits, of Lievin van Pottelsberghe (d. 1531) and his wife Livina van Steelant (d. 1563):
The books are painted with such detail that one can see their heraldry and read their mottos.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

An Exhibition in Richmond, Virginia, in 1943


A few years ago I was trying to find out what leaves and cuttings are in Virginia, so I contacted the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts about an exhibition catalogue that seemed not to be available in any London library:
The archivist Courtney Yevich Tkacz very kindly sent me a scan of it. (It has since been put online here). Looking at it again this week, I noticed several connections with recent blogs.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

A Gradual at Central St Martin's, From the Collection of Howel Wills

A year or two ago, I discovered that Central St Martins, the London college of art and design [Wikipedia], has a collection of medieval illuminated manuscript leaves and cuttings, including quite a number of interest to me. I'll try to write about some of them on another occasion, but today I will describe one of their three bound codices: a characteristically large late medieval Italian choirbook.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Illuminated Manuscripts from the Collection of Siegfried Laemmle (1863-1953)

Siegfried Laemmle
This week's blog has lots of gaps in it -- I am hoping that readers can help fill some of them.

Having worked in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum for two years in the early 1990s, I naturally have an interest in medieval manuscripts in LA (and California more generally). But it was only fairly recently that I was able to obtain a copy of a fairly scarce catalogue of an exhibition held in 1953-54:

Loans came from "the usual suspects", including the Walters, the Morgan, and the Houghton; and from some well-known dealers and collectors, such as Duveen Brothers, H.P. Kraus, Wildenstein and Company, and Philip Hofer; but also from a small number of much less well-known dealers and collectors, such as Victor Spark, Piero Tozzi, Siegfried Laemmle -- a successful Munich art dealer who fled to the US from Germany in 1938 -- and his son Walter.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Three Brölemann Updates

I. Brölemann "Catalogue A"
The Brölemann "Catalogue A" discussed in a recent post sold for €5,790, approximately seventy-five times higher than its pre-sale estimate of €70-90!
I do not yet know who the successful buyer was, but I am attempting to find out.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Unrecognised Brölemann Provenances

As mentioned in an earlier post, I have been attempting to create a list of the Brölemann manuscripts, with a detailed account of their pre- and post-Brölemann provenances. It is now nearly 100 pages long, and I hope to share it fairly soon.

This exercise has been interesting for lots of reasons, one of which is to see how many later owners were, and still are, unaware of Bröleman's prior ownership. In some cases this is doubtless because the volume has been rebound, and the old covers with the Brölemann bookplate discarded, but in many others the volume has apparently not been rebound, which suggests that the bookplate was never there. I suspect that Henry-Auguste Bröleman (d. 1854), who formed the collection, put his characteristic blue-edged octagonal labels in all his most valuable books, but that towards the end of the century his grandson, Arthur-Auguste (d. 1904), put his bookplate in them only selectively.

Here are some manuscripts whose most recent or current owners seem (according to the most recent descriptions that I can find) not to know of their prior Brölemann provenances:

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Manuscripts of T. O. Weigel, V:
Volto Santo Images; or, The Importance of Consulting Hardcopy Catalogues

There are two versions of the Weigel catalogue online. In my first blogpost about the collection, I included a link to one which includes the colour images, of which an opening is shown above.

But there is another version, with blank spaces in place of the images, presumably because of perceived copyright issues. This image shows the same pair of pages as the one above, but the reproduction of the Crucifixion miniature has been suppressed:

Saturday, 11 January 2020

The Illuminated Cuttings and Leaves of Eugène Rodrigues (1853-1928)

I recently catalogued for a Sotheby's sale, on 3 December 2019, lot 1, the cutting above. It belongs to a group in which I have had an interest for many years.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The Manuscripts of T. O. Weigel, IV:
Cuttings from a Dominican Nuns' Antiphonary (from Zurich, and datable to 1300?)

The apparently unique iconography of the miniature above allows us to identify it as no. 26 in the 1898 Weigel and 1905 Hiersemann catalogues discussed in the previous posts: