Saturday, 13 March 2021

One More Montbaston Bible Historiale Cutting


In previous posts (especially here, but also here, and here) I have discussed cuttings from a 14th-century Bible historiale with miniatures attributed to Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, who who worked in Paris in the second quarter of the 14th century. At least two or three of them were previously owned by Robert Forrer.

In this post I observed that a significant number of items in the 1921 sale of the collection of Rudolf Busch of Mainz had previously belonged to Forrer. Looking at the Busch catalogue again I noticed the cutting shown above.
"292  Kain und Abel bei der Arbeit. ... Auf Pergament, 7,7 × 7,5 cm."
These dimensions are a close match for the previously-discussed cuttings: the ex-Sotheby's cutting, for example, was reported to be "c. 80×75mm" (when offered at Bloomsbury the dimensions were given, width before height, as "72 mm by 80 mm").

It may be significant that both depict scenes from the Genesis story of Cain and Abel. As pointed out in the Sotheby's description, the miniature here is stuck on to a piece of text from the book of Proverbs, while the other cuttings come from Job, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes. This suggests that the cuttings were salvaged from an already very fragmentary portion of the Old Testament, perhaps the first volume of a multi-volume set. This might partly account for the very different ways in which the miniatures were cut from the volume, sometimes with no accompanying text, sometimes with a whole column.

Job and his children:

"Ci fine li quaes liure des roys.
Ci commence li liures iob"

Job feasting:

Psalm 109:

Ecclesiastes:

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