Saturday 27 June 2020

At Home With Robert Forrer in 1937


By chance I recently came across an article about Robert Forrer (who has been mentioned in several previous posts, e.g. here): Jean R. Debrix, ‘Visages d’Alsace: M. Robert Forrer’, La vie en Alsace (1937), pp. 132–36.

This includes seven photographs of the interior of Forrer's home, on the walls of which hang framed manuscript leaves and cuttings, including the one above, and these two:
Looking closely, I recognised an old friend.

Saturday 20 June 2020

The Holford Album

I ended the previous blogpost [not including its small addendum] by mentioning the Holford Album of illuminated cuttings, which was loaned by George Lindsay Holford (1860-1926) to an exhibition in London, just a year after the death of his father, the collector, Robert Stayner Holford (1808-1892).

In 1927, after George's own death, two well-illustrated catalogues of the collection appeared in print (as detailed in that previous post) but by this time the album had been taken apart, and the cuttings framed.

What do we know about the origin and later history of the album?

Friday 19 June 2020

Whitehead-Holford-Malcolm: A Small Addendum

In my previous post I suggested that the initials transcribed by a British Library cataloguer as "J. M. W.", that are inscribed on the back of the miniature shown above, should in fact be read as "T. M. W.", the initials of Thomas Miller Whitehead.

I have now found near-certain confirmation that he did indeed own it.

Saturday 13 June 2020


I have been working recently on various collections of illuminations, including that of R. S. Holford [Wikipedia], attempting to trace the present whereabouts of each item.

In the course of tracing Holford's miniatures, I was reminded that he lent several to the 1862 International Exhibition [Wikipedia] at the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A). The catalogue is available online through Google Books and
Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Works of Art of the Mediæval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods, on Loan at the South Kensington Museum, June 1862, edited by J.C. Robinson (revised edition: London, January 1863).
The Holford miniatures were catalogued in detail twice in 1927, each time with numerous reproductions, so we have a very good idea of its contents before dispersal:
Robert Benson, The Holford Collection, Dorchester House, with 200 Illustrations, from the Twelfth to the End of the Nineteenth Century, 2 vols (London: Humphrey Milford).
Sotheby & Co, The Holford Library, Part I: Catalogue of the Magnificent Series of Illuminations on Vellum, Forming Part of the Collections at Dorchester House, Park Lane, the Property of Lt.-Col. Sir George Holford, K.C.V.O. (Deceased) ... 12th of July, 1927.
In principle, therefore, it ought to be easy to identify items from the collection. In practice, however, it is not always so simple.

Saturday 6 June 2020

A Dispersed Album of Illuminated Cuttings [II]: The Collector(s) Identified


Christopher de Hamel has kindly contacted me about a previous post. He points out that a leaf from a Book of Hours in the Reed collection at Dunedin (shown above) is also from the same album, with the same characteristic handwritten captions.