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.