Lots Descriptions by wuzhenguang


(Sale 7982)
London, King Street
06 Jul, 2011

Lot 2
ST BARBARA, miniature by the MASTER OF MONZA, on a cutting from a Lives of the Saints, in
Estimate: 5,000 - 7,000 British pounds

[Lombardy, c.1280-85]79 x 60mm. The saint shown holding a palm of martyrdom standing beside a
tower, with an accompanying initial 'B', fragment of text and rubric above. Remnants of seven lines
of fragmentary text in a gothic bookhand on verso (slight fading of pigment to top of tower). Card

Lots 2 and 3 are bright and appealing miniatures which originally introduced the lives of Saints
Barbara and Boniface in a manuscript that has been identified as one of the earliest known texts of
Jacobus da Voragine's Golden Legend. They are two of eighteen such fragments recorded by Giovanni
Valagussa (see 'Santi lombardi di fine Duecento' in Scritti per l'Istituto Germanico di Storia dell'Arte di
Firenze, 1997, pp.23-34. Of these, nine miniatures and an initial were published by Robert Forrer
(1866-1947) of Strasbourg, see Unedierte Federzeichnungen, Miniaturen und Initialen, 1902, pp.15-16; a
miniature of St Catherine of Alexandria is now in the Musée National du Moyen Age, Paris).
Interestingly, the fragmentary texts on the reverse sides of both Arcana miniatures, visible under UV
light, are from Bartholomew of Trent (c.1200-1251), Liber epilogorum in gesta sanctorum (ed. Emore
Paoli, 2001, pp.21 & 136), one of the two main sources for the Golden Legend.

The cuttings all share the same distinctive stylistic qualities associated with painting in Lombardy in
the final quarter of the Duecento. The simplified figures delineated with thick black lines, the
chromatic scheme of bright, contrasting reds, blues, yellows and greens and stylised architectural
backdrops have been linked to the hand of an anonymous illuminator active in the 1280s and
responsible for the initials in an Antiphonary made for a church in Monza, close to Milan, now
Jagellonska Library, Krakow, ms. Rps. akc 20/1951 (see Valagussa, p.25 and F. Todini and M.
Bollati, Una collezione di miniature Italiane... Parte terza, 1999, pp.15-17). This group of cuttings suggests
the parent manuscript was a densely illustrated copy of the text; although many manuscripts of the
Golden Legend survive, few are adorned in this way, a reflection of their utilitarian purpose as a
sourcebook for sermons or readings in chapter houses.
Lot 4
four compartments with captions in French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
Estimate: 15,000 - 20,000 British pounds

[Paris, c.1340] 290 x 205mm. Single leaf, the recto blank, the verso with a large miniature 190 x
140mm, divided into four scenes, with French captions in formal gothic script above and below, and
roman numerals (glue-marks at the gutter edge, some smudging of pigments and text). Mounted on
card. Provenance: Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872); bought in 1945-46 by Messrs Robinson; sold by
them to Eric Korner (1893-1980), his no 25; his sale, Sotheby's, 19 June 1990, lot 14.

At least 32 leaves of this manuscript are known. The parent volume was broken up by 1834, when
the Bodleian Library acquired one leaf. The numbering of the captions shows that the images were
distributed in three groups, probably prefacing Psalms 1, 51 and 101 in a Psalter. The first series
concerns the life of Christ, ending with an image of King David to introduce the start of the Psalms;
the second (from which the present leaf comes) concerns the Acts of the Apostles; and the third
(now British Library, Add. ms 19992) concerns the life of Joseph. The present leaf, with scenes
numbered XIII-XVI, would have followed immediately after the scenes numbered IX-XII (now Art
Institute, Chicago, Inv. no 1992.1), and come before the Bodleian leaf, which also has (unnumbered)
scenes from the life of St Paul. A comprehensive listing of the leaves is C. de Hamel, Gilding the Lilly,
2010, no 43, citing the present leaf at p.96. The illumination is lively and expressive, most scenes
with gesticulating figures; an engaging theatrical narrative flow was apparently more important to the
patron than refined elegance. The style is difficult to pin down precisely: the miniatures have usually
been attributed to Lorraine or Metz, c.1320, and compared to Paris, BnF, ms lat. 6918, made in
Metz from 1313 to 1316, and Vienna, ÖNB, Cod. 2583*, but similarities to these manuscripts are
superficial. In fact, the style of miniatures and pen-flourished initials should be attributed to Paris,
and the short gipon (or gippon, a sort of padded doublet) in the so-called Catalonian fashion worn
by the male figures in some of the miniatures suggests a date closer to 1340.
Lot 5
THE CONVERSION OF ST EUSTACE, miniature on a leaf from the Loredan Hours,
Estimate: 7,000 - 10,000 British pounds

[?Rouen, c.1430 and Bruges, c.1455]180 x 129mm (leaf), 76 x 50mm (miniature). The saint kneeling
in a woodland clearing and praying before the stag with the vision of the Crucified Christ between
its antlers, surrounded by a full-page border comprising burnished-gold baguettes on three sides
with sprays of blue, green and orange acanthus at the corners and hairline tendrils with golden
trefoils and flower terminals, on the recto 13 lines of text, within a three-sided fillet of burnished gold
and pink and blue and a full-page border of golden trefoils and flower and fruit terminals on hairline
sprays (the miniature and surrounding gold baguette in excellent condition but a coat of arms erased
from the lower border, smudging and white overpaint in the upper half of the left-hand border,
remains of adhesive from tape in the corners of the upper margin). Card mount.

The miniature shows the conversion of Placidus, a Captain of the Emperor Trajan; one day while
Placidus was out hunting, the figure of Christ on the Cross appeared to him between the antlers of
the stag he had been pursuing. Placidus listened to Christ, adopted Christianity and the name
Eustace. The text beneath opens the suffrage to Eustace and comes from a Book of Hours, the bulk
of which survives in Paris (Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, ms 575), with the coat of arms of the Loredan,
the great patrician family of Venice. In his book centred on the Arsenal manuscript J.D. Farquhar
noted that a section, including the Suffrages, was lacking: Creation and Imitation, 1976. This missing
section, of 102 leaves and already in an 'old' binding and with the coats of arms erased had been sold
at Sotheby's, 15 March 1907, lot 459. It contained 17 miniatures, including the present one, and was
offered again in the 1908 and 1909 catalogues of Théophile Belin. The present leaf had been
separated from its fellows when the other 16 miniatures were included in Ludwig Rosenthal's
undated catalogue 155.

The borders throughout the Arsenal manuscript, like those of the present leaf, are of a northern
French type and three of the miniatures are by the Fastolf Master, who worked in Paris and Rouen
before his departure to England in the 1440s. The remaining miniatures are the work of Willem
Vrelant and were likely to have been painted in the early 1450s: B. Bousmanne, 'Item à Guillaume
Wyelant, aussi enluminure...', 1997, pp.37-38, 288-289 et passim. Like the other suffrage miniatures from
the Loredan Hours this St Eustace is an early work of Vrelant: an example of the charming,
attractive and anecdotal style of the illuminator who went on to paint so many manuscripts for the
Dukes of Burgundy and their court, and who was so influential that elements of his style coloured
much of Bruges manuscript production in the second half of the 15th century.
Lot 11
BOOK OF HOURS, use of Soissons or Laon, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED
Estimate: 200,000 - 300,000 British pounds

[Paris, c.1405]189 x 132mm. ii + 225 + iii leaves: 112, 28, 310, 46, 5-128, 134, 14-188, 194, 208, 216, 22-
258, 267(of 6 + vii ), 27-298, a few small guide catchwords left on final versos, COMPLETE, 13 lines
written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 14 horizontals ruled in red,
justification: 88 x 55mm, prickings for horizontals and verticals remain on most leaves, rubrics in red,
line endings in burnished gold on pink and blue grounds patterned in white, one-line initials in
burnished gold flourished with dark blue or in blue flourished with red, numerous two- or three-line
initials on gold grounds extending into partial vine leaf borders, THIRTY LARGE MINIATURES
WITH FULL BORDERS of leaves in burnished gold, red and blue, some with small flowers, on
painted stems or hairline tendrils, surrounding three-sided bars of burnished gold, pink and blue,
some with dragon terminals (some wear to margins, slight rubbing to some borders, slight smudging
to some miniatures). 15th-century tan leather over wooden boards stamped in blind with tools
including a pelican, eagle, stag, fleur-de-lys and dragon, two metal studs to fasten straps, painted and
gilded fore-edges (straps and metal attachments replaced, hinged sliding metal brackets applied at
top and bottom of spine, joints cracked, wear with some losses to leather). Red solander box.


1. From the style of illumination, the book was made in Paris, from the texts, for a patron in or from
the area to the north-east around Soissons or Laon. The Office of the Dead, with only three lessons,
is found in books from various areas, excluding Paris, but seems to have been favoured particularly
in northern France and into the southern Netherlands. The calendar, not Parisian, includes saints
revered in the dioceses of Soissons and Laon, such as Vedast and Amand (6 February), Medard (8
June), Crispin and Crispinian (25 October), Quentin (31 October), Nicaise (14 December), but none
is in gold and all were popular over a wide area of northern France and the southern Netherlands.
Quentin, of St-Quentin north of Soissons and Laon, is also in the suffrages and litany; other more
local saints in the litany are from further north, such as Hermes and Celestine of Ronse in eastern
Flanders, Ghislain of Mons in Hainault and Servatius of Tongeren and Maastricht. The owner may
have had links with the Franciscan Order: Francis, but not Dominic, is in the litany and, most
unusually at this date, Our Lady of the Snow, a feast promoted by the Franciscans, is in the Calendar
as Nostre dame de la noif (5 August). Prayers are in the masculine.
2. There are offsets of pilgrims' badges or holy medals on the first endleaf. A prayer to St Sebastian
has been added in a 16th-century hand on the final endleaf.
3. 'Pouget prêtre donum domini Huberti': inside the front cover in an 18th-century hand.
4. Sir Thomas Wright of Leicester (1836-1905): his gift to George Munson Curtis of Meriden,
Connecticut (1857-1913) and by descent until sold at Sotheby's, 23 June 1987, lot 105.
Calendar ff.1-12; Gospel extracts ff.13-20: John f.13, Luke f.15, Matthew f.16v, Mark f.18v; Obsecro te
ff.21-25v; O intemerata ff.26-30v; Mass of the Virgin ff.31-36v; Office of the Virgin ff.37-104v:
matins f.37, lauds f.50v, prime f.63v, terce f.71, sext f.77, none f.81v, vespers f.88, compline f.97v;
Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.105-127; Hours of the Cross ff.127v-138v; Hours of the Holy Spirit
ff.139-148; Fifteen Joys of the Virgin, in French, ff.149-156; Seven Requests to Our Lord, titled
'cinq requestes' ff.156v-161; ruled blanks ff.161v-162v; Office of the Dead with three lessons ff.163-
201v; Suffrages ff.202-224v: Sts Michael f.202, John the Baptist f.203v, Peter and Paul f.205,
Stephen 206v, Lawrence f.208, Sebastian f.209v, Anthony Abbot f.211, Cosmas and Damian f.212v,
Christopher f.214, Eutropius f.216, Quentin f.217v, Mary Magdalene f.219, Anne f.220v, Katherine
f.222, Margaret f.223v, ruled blank, f.225.

The richly glowing miniatures are the work of the Mazarine Master, named from the Book of Hours
in the Bibliothèque Mazarine in Paris, ms 469, perhaps commissioned by the Dauphin Louis de
Guyenne. The Mazarine Master was one of the most innovative illuminators active in Paris in the
first decades of the 15th century, the period of extraordinarily intense creativity that produced some
of the greatest illuminated manuscripts. He was distinguished from the closely related Boucicaut
Master by Gabriele Bartz who included the Arcana volume amongst his works (see Der Boucicaut-
Meister ein unbekanntes Stundenbuch, Tenschert Katalog XLII, 1999, p.123, ills 15 and 33). In
comparison with the Boucicaut Master, he demonstrates a greater sensitivity to shape and line, with
more elegant figures and a smoother, more enamel-like paint-surface. Faces, as seen in the very first
miniature of St John, f.13, are often subtly painted over green undermodelling.

The border decoration of the present lot indicates a date before the Master's two Books of Hours
written in 1408, one now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Douce 144, and one dispersed, of
which three leaves also formed part of the Arcana Collection (sold in these rooms, 7 July 2010, lots
22-23). Although the Arcana volume is among the Mazarine Master's earliest works, his
characteristic stylistic traits are already evident in these serenely composed miniatures, with
gracefully contoured figures placed against decorative backgrounds of gold motifs or diaper. His
backgrounds may have developed in conjunction with the Egerton Master, with whom he
collaborated on the eponymous Book of Hours, BL, Egerton ms 1070, which came to be owned by
René of Anjou (for this and other manuscripts cited above, see E. Taburet-Delahaye and F. Avril,
Paris 1400, les arts sous Charles VI, 2004). The Egerton Master's influence may also be evident in the
slightly less refined faces of the Magdalene and Christ on f.219 but the Arcana Hours is entirely
coherent in style and shows the Mazarine Master already undertaking a major commission without
an independent collaborator.

The subjects of the large miniatures are as follows: St John on Patmos f.13, the Annunciation f.37,
the Visitation f.50v, the Nativity f.63v, the Annunciation to the Shepherds f.71, the Adoration of the
Magi f.77, the Presentation in the Temple f.82v, the Flight into Egypt f.88, the Coronation of the
Virgin f.97v, God in Majesty surrounded by symbols of the Old and New Laws and of the
Evangelists f.105, the Crucifixion f.127v, Pentecost f.139, the Virgin enthroned with Child f.149,
Christ of the Last Judgement f.156v, the Office of the Dead f.163, St Michael defeating the devil
f.202, St John the Baptist with the Lamb of God f.203v, Sts Peter with the keys and Paul with sword
f.205, the martyrdom of St Stephen 206v, St Lawrence with gridiron f.208, St Sebastian filled with
arrows by an archer f.209v, St Anthony Abbot standing in flames for St Anthony's Fire f.211, Sts
Cosmas and Damian with medicine jars f.212v, St Christopher carrying the Christ Child through
water f.214, martyrdom of St Eutropius f.216, martyrdom of St Quentin f.217v, St Mary Magdalene
not touching the Risen Christ f.219, St Anne with the young Virgin Mary f.220v, St Katherine
holding her wheel f.222, St Margaret bursting from the dragon f.223v.
Lot 13
Estimate: 300,000 - 500,000 British pounds

[Avignon, c.1415]
190 x 133mm. ii + 287 leaves: 112, 2-128, 134, 14-178, 184, 19-206, 218, 224, 23-268, 274, 288, 296, 30-318,
324, 33-368, 377(of 8, ii lacking), 388, 394, 402(of 4, iii-iv cancelled blanks), catchwords, 14 lines written
in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 15 horizontals very finely ruled in
brown, justification: 85 x 53mm, rubrics in red, line-endings in burnished gold patterned with blue,
pink and orange, one-line initials alternately in pink or blue with white on burnished gold grounds
with floral or foliate infills, two-line initials of similar type with marginal extensions on rectos of gold
and coloured leaves or flowers on hairline tendrils, EVERY PAGE WITH A BORDER OF
LEAVES AND FLOWERS, except f.216v originally blank, many with the letters 'un' in gold, with a
bar to the outer margin of intertwined strands of blue and green or red and with burnished gold
initials on gold grounds (lacking one leaf before f.270, repaired tear on f.284, tiny paint loss and
small offset to miniature f.73, wear to miniatures on ff.86v, 117v (probably from kissing), f.155v
(very slight), some wear to margins). Late 16th-century French brown morocco à la fanfare, enclosing
the initials AC on both covers, later parchment fore-edge tabs (lacking two ties, expert minor repairs
to joints). Brown slipcase.


1. The manuscript, with prayers in the feminine, was made for a lady who used 'un' as a motto; the
interpretation 'vii' seems less plausible. Although the use of Paris was widely followed, the lady may
have had links to the capital: a slightly earlier Parisian Book of Hours bears words read as 'un' and
'va' (Tenschert, Katalog LXVI, 2011, no 5). The Calendar is largely Parisian with some variations; the
saints in the litany include some who were especially popular in Paris, like Fiacre, and some more
revered elsewhere, like Martial, the Apostle of Limoges. St Genevieve of Paris and St Maturin,
whose cult centred on Sens, are invoked in the litany and suffrages. Sts Quentin and Avoye in the
suffrages are also more usual in northern France. Identifying the use of the Office of the Dead
might clarify her origins or usual place of residence. The book was made in Avignon: the miniatures
are from the workshop of Jean de Toulouse active there c.1380-1415, whose manuscripts are
characterised by Parisian style borders; some have Parisian calendars (M.-C. Leonelli, 'La dévotion
aux saints d'après les livres d'heures confectionés à Avignon', Mémoires de l'Académie de Vaucluse, 1985,
pp.329-335, citing this manuscript).
2. CA or AC: the initials on the fine 16th-century Parisian binding that demonstrates the continuing
value placed on the book. There are erased inscriptions on the endleaves.
3. Charles Gillet of Lyon and then Lausanne (1879-1972): no 40 in V. Leroquais, Exposition de
manuscrits à peintures du VIe au XVIIe siècles, Bibliothèque de la Ville de Lyon, 1920. His collections,
especially famed for the Greek coins, earned him the title 'le Prince du goût' (see M. Peyrennet, La
dynastie des Gillet, Paris, 1978). 4. Sotheby's, 11 April 1961, lot 177; Quaritch, Catalogue no 820 (1961),
no 7; Christie's, 11 July 1974, lot 13.
5. Commandant Weiller (1893-1993): his bookplate inside upper cover; his sale, Drouot, Paris, 30
November 1998, lot 78.

Calendar ff.3-14v; Gospel extracts ff.15-20; prayers including O Intemerata, in the feminine, and
Obsecro te, with some masculine endings and 'famule tue' in the feminine, ff.20v-30v; Hours of the
Virgin, use of Paris ff.31-98v: matins with variants for the days of the week f.31, lauds f.55v, prime
f.67, terce f.73, sext f.77v, none f.82, vespers f.86v, compline f.93v; Penitential Psalms and Litany
ff.99-117; Hours of the Cross ff.117v-121; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.121v-125v; Fifteen Joys of the
Virgin ff.126-131; Eight Requests to Our Lord, 'ce sont viii peticions a dieu', the usual Sept requêtes
ff.131v-135; Seven Joys of the Virgin and Marian devotions ff.135v-175; prayers and suffrages to the
saints: Michael, Angels, John the Baptist, Peter (rubric not supplied), James, Andrew, Bartholomew,
Apostles, Stephen, Lawrence, Denis, George, Eustace, Christopher, Gervaise and Protaise, Quentin,
martyrs, Nicholas, Louis of France, Anthony Abbot, Maturin, Leu (Lupus), confessors, the Trinity,
the Seven Joys of the Magdalene with a prayer to Christ, Katherine, Margaret, Genevieve, Avoye, All
Saints, for peace ff.175v-201v; prayers ff.202-207v; Hours of the Compassion of the Virgin ff.207v-
216; added prayer f.216v; Psalter of St Jerome ff.217-236v; Office of the Dead, unidentified use
(lacking end of Lesson VIII and beginning of Lesson IX) ff.237-285; prayers ff.285-288; prayers
added with slightly different decoration ff.288-289v.

This very personal collection has some uncommon texts, like the 'Eight requests' where the
introduction becomes the first request, the Seven Joys of the Magdalene and the Hours of the
Virgin's Compassion, found in several Books of Hours of the Jean de Toulouse group (see L.
Freeman Sandler, 'The Avignon Hours in the New York Public Library', in Quand la peinture était dans
les livres. Mélanges en l'honneur de François Avril, 2007, this manuscript pp.284-5, 291).

The style of Jean de Toulouse has been identified from his documented work in 1392-1393 on the
Missal of the Avignon Pope Clement VII, now in the Biblioteca Vaticana, mss Ottob. Lat. 62 and
Vat. Lat. 4766-4767. The activity of his workshop or associates -- in 1393 he had 16 scribes and
others working under him -- has been traced in Avignon from c.1380 and may have continued after
Jean returned to Toulouse c.1415 (see F. Manzari, La miniature ad Avignone al tempo dei papi, 2009,
pp.203-85). Papal and curial patronage had attracted artists from all over Europe and Avignon's
dynamic cultural mix is still evident in the present lot. The elegant figures combine decorative
contours and shapes, as pursued in Parisian illumination of the later 14th century, with a feeling for
the three-dimensionality of the human body more typical of Netherlandish and Italian illuminators:
the fusion resulted in the superb masterpiece of the Virgin weaving, f.82. The green underpainting
for flesh, as on f.237, comes from Italian practice; the figure style and delicate gold patterning of
robes suggest familiarity with North Italian painting. The mastery of pattern is most obvious in the
rich variety of the backgrounds, possibly a legacy of the Bohemian illuminator who has been
identified working with Jean de Toulouse. The bold use of colour, particularly of black, is also a
Bohemian trait.

The outstanding depictions of narrative are not specific to any one regional tradition. The appealing,
and extremely rare, sequence of the childhood of the Virgin demonstrates an acute sensitivity to
gesture and posture. On f.55v, for instance, the Virgin eagerly sets off to the Temple yet looks back
reassuringly at her parents who anxiously debate the wisdom of her departure. On f.67, her mother
makes a gesture of release, while her father gives his parental blessing, as the Virgin is poised on the
steps, between them and the Temple door. Even familiar scenes receive a new impact and intensity:
blood pours from the wounds of the Christ of the Last Judgement and soaks into the earth to
redeem the dead, f.99. The appearance of Christ is witnessed not just by St Jerome but by his lion
who also turns his head upwards, f.217.
The beauty of the miniatures is matched by the richness of the other decoration, with a border on
every page and even the small initials on gold grounds. The softly coloured borders are Parisian in
inspiration but have no precise precedent for their sprays of feathery leaves 'growing' from slender
twisted bars to curl round flowers and mottoes. All aspects of production received careful thought
to create a luxurious volume of enchanting individuality.

The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: the Birth of the Virgin f.31; the young Virgin beside
her parents f.55v; the Virgin on the steps to the Temple watched by her parents f.67; the Virgin
received in the Temple by the High Priest f.73; the Virgin praying before the Ark of the Covenant
f.77v; the Virgin weaving the veil of the Temple f.82; the Virgin reading, being brought food by an
angel f.86v; the Marriage of the Virgin f.93v; the Last Judgement f.99; the Crucifixion f.117v;
Pentecost f.121v; the Virgin suckling the Child f.126; the Trinity set against cherubim and the heads
of saints in blue monochrome f.131v; the Annunciation f.155v; St Jerome praying to Christ at half-
length in the sky above him f.217; the Raising of Lazarus f.237.
Lot 15
Estimate: 180,000 - 250,000 British pounds

[France, Angers or Tours, c. 1460]
213 x 148mm. 183 + i leaves, including one blank, + 4 paper endleaves: 1-26, 3-48, 52, 6-148, 152, 16-
258, some catchwords in lower margin on final versos, 14 lines written in black ink in a gothic
bookhand between two verticals and 15 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 104 x 70mm, rubrics
in red, text capitals touched yellow, one-line initials in burnished gold with contrasting grounds and
infills of red and blue patterned in white, similar line-endings, some not supplied, two- to four-line
initials of blue and white on a burnished gold ground with foliate infills, EVERY PAGE
BORDER of sprays of acanthus, naturalistic flowers or fruit with hairline tendrils linking leaves and
disks of burnished gold, some with sprays in the inner border, SEVENTEEN LARGE ARCH-
TOPPED MINIATURES WITH FULL-PAGE BORDERS, comprising three-quarter burnished
gold baguette bars, some patterned with leaves or flowerheads, leading to acanthus and flower sprays
within similar full borders, the border to the Annunciation miniature inhabited with peacocks, birds
and creatures including a squirrel, and an urn of carnations (occasional slight creasing and smudging,
slightly affecting the miniatures on ff.13 and 55v, slight tarnishing of silver under faces f.134v). 18th-
century French red morocco gilt with floral tools, both covers with armorial gilt stamp of the De
Nully de Grosserve, Beauvais [Olivier 336], gilt edges, blue endpapers (minor wear to extremities).
Blue solander box.


1. The use of the Hours and Office of the Dead are Paris, and feasts in the calendar include
Genevieve of Paris in gold (3 January) and in plain ink (26 November), but the litany points clearly
to Tours because of the inclusion of St Gatian and the very rare St Lidorius, both of whom were
early bishops of Tours. The calendar also has 'Les saintes reliques' (30 January), an unexplained entry
which is also found in several books of hours, also of the use of Paris but attributed to Brittany or
Anjou (see Plummer, The Last Flowering, 1982, nos.30-32, 35), and the final male saint in the litany
here is Ivo, presumably Ivo of Brittany. The original owner of the manuscript is depicted kneeling
before the Pietà (f.20v).
2. A member of the de Nully de Grosserve family of Beauvais, with their arms on the binding and a
library-label engraved with the intials 'D G' surmounted by a coronet (upper pastedown).
3. Sold by Rheims, Paris, 7 December 1960, lot 3; subsequently Tenschert Leuchtendes Mittelalter, I,
Katalog XXI, 1989, no 66.
Calendar in French with an entry for every day ff.1-12v; Gospel extracts ff-13-20; Obsecro te ff.20v-25;
O intemerata ff.25-29v; Hours of the Virgin, use of Paris ff.31-104v: matins, f.31, lauds, f.55v, prime
f.69, terce f.76, sext f.81, none f.86, vespers f.91, compline f.99; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany
ff.105-124v; Hours of the Cross ff.125-129v, and of the Holy Spirit ff.130-134; Office of the Dead,
use of Paris ff.134v-183v.

The Annunciation miniature opening the Office of the Virgin, conventionally the most important in
the book, is by the Master of the Paris Boethius (BnF, ms fr. 809), a leading member of the Jouvenel
Group of illuminators named from their work in the Mare historiarum of Guillaume Jouvenel des
Ursins, Chancellor of France (BnF, ms lat. 4915). The elegance of his distinctively elongated figures
with high foreheads is matched by the refinement of his technique with its shimmering gold
highlights (see E. König, Die französische Buchmalerei um 1450: der Jouvenel- Maler, der Maler des Genfer
Boccaccio und die Anfänge Jean Fouquets, 1982). Gabriel and the Virgin are close variants of his
Annunciation in a Book of Hours of c.1455-1460, to which the other two leaders of the group
contributed, the Jouvenel Master and the Master of the Geneva Boccaccio (BnF, ms Rothschild
2530, F. Avril and N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France 1440-1520, 1993, ill. p.117). The
work of the Master of the Geneva Boccaccio can be seen in lot 16 below.

The other miniatures are in a very different but equally appealing style. The immediacy of the
broader figures comes from their carefully modelled faces (and bodies, f.20v) and crisply delineated
draperies in bold, rich colours that clearly distinguish them from their surroundings. Original
elements are added to conventional scenes, like the surprisingly youthful St Mark and his mysterious
voyeur. The same very individual approach unites all the miniatures but other hands may have
participated on ff.69 and 134v (E. König in Leuchtendes Mittelalter, I, 1989). Despite his stylistic
differences, this arresting illuminator is also linked to the Jouvenel group, which seems to have been
centred on Angers. He took his figure types and many of his compositions from the Jouvenel
Master: the Flight into Egypt, f.91, for instance, follows the pattern seen in the Jouvenel Master's
Book of Hours in the British Library, Add. ms 28785, f.59v (König, 1982, Abb.69), while he shares
the framework of Pentecost, f.130, with the Boethius Master's Annunciation in Rothschild 2530. His
engrossingly detailed landscapes also depend on the Jouvenel Master's example; both painters drew
on the background of Jan van Eyck's famous Virgin of Chancellor Rolin (Paris, Musée du Louvre), seen
here behind the Visitation f.55v.

The enchanting border around the Annunciation, f.34, is the only one that recalls the earlier Master
of Marguerite of Orléans active in Brittany and western France. The rest are a curious mixture of
two somewhat different styles, easily distinguished by the fact that those in the slightly later style are
enclosed within a red ink framing-line. The different border styles correspond not only to two
different scribes, but also to two different page-layouts. This could suggest that each scribe was
responsible for painting his own borders, or that each scribe worked exclusively with a particular
border artist.

The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.13 St John on Patmos
f.15 St Luke
f.17 St Matthew
f.19 St Mark
f.20v Pietà with patron
f.31 Annunciation
f.55v Visitation
f.69 Nativity
f.76 Annunciation to the Shepherds
f.81 Adoration of the Magi
f.86 Presentation in the Temple
f.91 Flight into Egypt
f.99 Coronation of the Virgin
f.105 David praying
f.125 Christ carrying the cross
f.130 Pentecost
f.134v Burial service
Lot 18
Estimate: 600,000 - 900,000 British pounds

[Milan, 1471-76]
350 x 240mm. i + 241 leaves: 1-228, 232, 24-308, 317 (of 8 final blank cancelled), COMPLETE, with
horizontal catchwords and original alphabetical signatures on gatherings 1-24 running from a-aa and
on gatherings 25-30 from a-f, later binder's signatures show that gathering 31 was once bound as the
first in the volume, modern pencil foliation 1-242 followed here, 30 lines written in an elegant
humanistic script in brown ink with text rubrics in pink, justification: 215 x 135mm, principal rubrics
in large capitals of burnished gold, one-line initials alternately of blue and burnished gold
respectively flourished gold and violet, two-line ILLUMINATED INITIALS THROUGHOUT of
burnished gold on grounds and infills of blue, red and green with white penwork decoration,
in pink on grounds of burnished gold with a flower-spray infill, three with CROWNED PROFILE
HEADS (ff.61, 70v, 73v), SMALL HISTORIATED INITIAL with part-border, FIVE SPLENDID
silver and lead white, a few outer lower corners thumbed, crease on f.234, a few inconsequential
marks, central bifolium of final gathering detached). 18th-century Italian red morocco gilt, spine in
compartments gilt, red silk markers (hinges split, scuffing and minor losses of leather). Blue solander



1. Written and illuminated for Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1444-1476), Count of Pavia and Duke of
Milan. His emblems and the ducal arms of Milan flanked by the monogram GZ MA or G M are
included in the illumination of the five most extensively decorated pages: E. Pellegrin, La Bibliothèque
des Visconti et des Sforza Ducs de Milan au XVe siècle, 1955, pp.62-64 and Supplément, 1965, pp.3-46 and
this manuscript pp.56-57 and pl.172. Galeazzo Maria was the eldest son of Francesco Sforza, the
condottiere who having served Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, married his illegitimate daughter
Bianca Maria and ultimately gained his duchy. To lend visual authority to their tenure of the duchy
the Sforza adopted the quartered arms and some of the emblems of their legitimate predecessors.
These include the dove against a rayed sun with the motto a buon droyt (ff.2, 90), the branches with
hanging pails (f.46), the tied cloth (f.188), and helmed beast lying in flames (ff.2, 90, 137v, 188); the
motto ICH HOF on the beast's helmet is Galeazzo Maria's own addition.
Galeazzo succeeded his father in 1466 and was assassinated in 1476. Since the manuscript shows his
ducal arms, as well as his arms as Count of Pavia, it must have been produced during this period.
The date can be further narrowed down because Pope Sixtus is named on f.220v and Sixtus IV was
not elected until 1471.
2. In 1885 described by the Marquis d'Adda as in the possession of the Frankfurt dealer Adolf
Hamburger: G. d'Adda & G. Mongeri, 'L'Arte del minio nel ducato di Milano', Archivio Storico
Lombardo, xii, 1885, p.354.
3. Rushton M. Dorman, of Chicago: his sale, Leavitt, 5 April 1886, p.10. According to Dorman the
manuscript had passed to the Aragonese royal library in Naples and was acquired from there by
Cardinal Salviati, perhaps Giovanni, nephew of Leo X, and then to his heir, the marchese of Tocca,
Naples. There is a paper label numbered XX at the foot of the spine and the remains of blue and
white labels at the foot of the lower cover and inside the upper cover.
4. William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919), first Viscount Astor, author of the gothic romance Sforza, ms
A.6 (paper label); Astor Deposit at the Bodleian Library; Astor sale, Sotheby's 21 June 1988, lot 58.


Hours of the Virgin, use of Rome, ff.2-178, arranged by liturgical season and days of the week;
Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.180-186; matins and lauds of the Divine Office for Holy Week,
followed by masses for Good Friday and Easter Saturday ff.188-235v; final section with general
confession, psalms and prayers, the letter from Christ delivered by Thaddeus to Abgar, further
prayers, general confession and prayers ff.236-242v. Contact the Department for further detail.

The excesses of Galeazzo Maria's quixotic tyranny were more than matched by his taste for
splendour and display and this is spectacularly represented by the scale and impact of the present
manuscript. It is of exceptional format for an Hours -- its leaves almost equal in size to those of the
Grandes Heures of the Duc de Berry -- each bifolium requiring an entire goatskin. The text is
luxuriously spaced and is written in an elegant humanistic hand with each section introduced by
large sparkling golden capitals. It is a manuscript entirely appropriate for the renaissance prince so
emphatically identified in the illumination, where the owner's arms and emblems are given so much
more weight than the religious narratives in the initials.

The extensive content of the manuscript is as imposing as its appearance. An eloquent presentation
of piety, it is more fitting for use by a cleric than a lay patron, and the masses for Easter Week
include instructions for the celebrant. It has been suggested that it was for use in a ducal chapel.

Twenty-two manuscripts have been recognised as by this scribe, thirteen of them, mostly classical
texts, written for Galeazzo Maria: A.C. de la Mare, 'Script and manuscripts in Milan under the
Sforzas', Milano nell'età di Ludovico il moro, Atti del convegno internazionale, 1983, pp.399-408.

Just one gathering, ff.236-242, appears to be the work of a different hand. A binder's mark shows
that it was once at the beginning of the volume but it does not belong to the sequence of signed
gatherings. It contains a selection of miscellaneous devotions that are altogether more individual and
more individualised than the main body of the text: Galeazzo Maria 'mihi famulo tuo' is named in
prayers on ff.237v and 240v. Most of the rubrics and some of the devotions -- for example the
beginning of the letter Christ wrote to Abgar -- are in Italian rather than the Latin of the remainder
of the book and it looks to be the part intended for Galeazzo Maria's own use. Uniquely in the
manuscript there have been two changes to the text. On f.236 in the general confession, 'Confiteor
deo...', in both listings of saints, St Catherine of Alexandria has been amended to St Catherine of
Siena and vice versa so that the latter, unusually, has precedence over the former.


The illumination is as elegant and polished as every other element of this truly princely and
impressive manuscript. It is the work of an artist active in Milan from around 1445-75 who is known
as the Ippolita Master from the manuscripts he illuminated for Galeazzo Maria's sister on the
occasion of her marriage to Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Calabria in 1465: T. de Marinis, La biblioteca
dei rei d'Aragona, 1947, pp.173 & 177, and 1952, p.98; G. Toscano, 'Livres et lectures de deux
princesses de la cour d'Aragon de Naples' in Livres et lectures de femmes en Europe entre moyen âge et
renaissance, eds A.-M. Legaré and B. Schnerb, 2007, pp.298-310; for the artist and bibliography see G.
Zanichelli in Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani, ed. M. Bollati, 2004, pp.686-690. It was
Francesco Sforza who had first commissioned manuscripts for Ippolita and Galeazzo Maria from
this illuminator. Several of them were recorded in the 1469 inventory of the renowned library of the
Castello di Pavia and, following the capture of the city by the French in 1499, Louis XII had them
transferred to Blois: F. Avril, Dix siècles d'enluminure italienne, 1984, nos 133-136. The Master's style,
perfectly exemplified in the present manuscript was consistent throughout his career: colourful and
highly finished, with fluid curvilinear forms it shows a greater concern with decorative effect and
charm than with naturalism. Mingling the influence of the Master of the Vitae Imperatorum and
Michelino da Besozzo, the Ippolita Master continued the features that from the very beginning had
characterised luxury manuscripts produced for the Visconti court.

The opening folio has a full-page border with varied exotic blooms and green and golden leaves on
hair-line tendrils, four angels, four heraldic devices or arms, and small flying birds. Four other large
historiated initials have borders on three sides with a central coat of arms or device on each side
flanked by foliage. The smaller initial on f.180 has foliate sprays into the margin.

The subjects of the historiated initials are as follows: f.2 Annunciation; f.46 Virgin adoring the Christ
Child; f.90 Annunciation; f.137v Virgin and Child enthroned; f.180 King David; f.188 God
appearing to King David.
Lot 21
Estimate: 80,000 - 120,000 British pounds

[Ferrara, c.1475-90]247 x 177mm. 422 leaves (the last blank), with later flyleaves, including a
bifolium around the first gathering, COMPLETE: 16, 2-1810, 192, 208, 21-2510, 268, 27-4010,
catchwords in lower margins of final versos, 34 lines written in a fine gothic liturgical hand in dark
brown ink in two columns between two verticals and 35 horizontals ruled in pale ink, justification:
152 x 106mm, rubrics in red, versal capitals in alternating burnished gold and blue, DECORATED
INITIALS THROUGHOUT, two-line initials in alternating burnished gold and blue against
elaborate grounds of alternating blue and red filigree penwork extending into margins, with
EIGHTY-THREE LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS in pink, green, blue and red on grounds
of burnished gold with floral designs, occasionally with elaborate gold filigree extensions,
TWENTY-FOUR HISTORIATED INITIALS from four to eleven lines high, usually accompanied
by full-length bar borders sprouting panels of elaborate gold filigree enclosing painted flowers in
BORDERS OF GOLDEN FILIGREE containing medallions with saints, angels, birds and other
animals (slight rubbing to edges of the first two borders, a few creases, occasional wear).
CONTEMPORARY GILT-STAMPED BINDING of brown goatskin over wooden boards with
outer arabesque border and roundel of interlace set in an extended diamond on a field of interlace,
gilt edges, traces of gilding (rebacked with original spine laid down, a few small small repairs,
endleaves replaced, clasps lacking). Dark green solander box.

1. The Breviary appears to have been destined for an Augustinian house, perhaps in the diocese of
Padua. There are Masses for St Augustine (f.345), his octave, and Translations (ff.368 and 267),
along with an additional mass after the end of the Sanctorale for the Vigil of St Nicholas of
Tolentino (f.384), and for his canonization (f.388), and for St William of Malavalle (f.390). St
Augustine is also the only saint given a capital letter in the Litany (f.80). The calendar includes
numerous Paduan saints, as well as the Dedication of Padua Cathedral (24 April). On f.276v St
George's mass begins 'Incipit officium Sancti Georgii martyris ac patroni Fer(rariensis).' This might
confirm what the style of illumination suggests, that the Breviary was made at Ferrara.

The arms on f.7, azure a chevron argent, with three letter 'L's or arranged 2 and 1, until now attributed
to the Ferrarese Boiardo family, belong in fact to the Libanori of Ferrara (cf. Crollalanza, Dizionario
storico-blasonico delle famiglie nobili e notabili italiane estinte e fiorenti, Pisa, 1886-90, vol.II). Libanoro
Libanori was ducal chancellor of Ferrara in 1472, during the time of Ercole I d'Este (Duke of
Ferrara from 1471-1505), and the Breviary may have been commissioned by him -- or by Martino
Libanori, Bishop of Adria from 1472-1484. The Breviary cannot date from before 1472, since the
Calendar also includes the Translation of St Bernardino, which took place in May that year.
2. 'Geo. A. Leavitt & Co., Auctioneers, New York' label inside upper cover.
3. Major J.R. Abbey (1894-1969): his bookplate and numbered JA.7209, bought in New York,
probably from Harper, on 17 June 1963.

Calendar ff.1-6; Temporale, use of Rome, from Vespers on the first Saturday in Advent to the
fourth Sunday in November ff.7-178; rubrics ff.179-186; Ferial Psalter, use of Rome ff.187-244;
Sanctorale from the feast of St Saturninus (29 November) to that of St Katherine (25 November),
followed by additional offices for SS. Nicholas of Tolentino and William of Malavalle ff.245-392; the
Common of Saints and the Dedication complete with matins ff.393-412; Hours of the Virgin ff.412-
416v; Office of the Dead ff.416v-419v; Benedictions ff.419v-421; ff.421v-422 ruled blank.

ILLUMINATION. The four full-page borders of shimmering gold scroll-work, accompanied by
medallions containing saints, angels, birds and animals against naturalistic settings and landscapes are
a testament to the fervent and imaginative artistic ethos of the court of Niccolo III d'Este and his
sons Lionello, Borso and Ercole. The first of the four principal opening pages (f.7) contains an
historiated initial 'F' on a ground of highly burnished gold depicting St Paul holding a book and a
sword and is surrounded by a full border of gold penwork with pink, blue and green flowers and
medallions containing half-length saints, the first clad in green and brown with a blue turban (?St
Daniel), the second a bishop (?St Prosdocimus of Padua) and the third a young man or a girl in
green, reading (?St Justina). Above is a small mallard; below, the arms of Libanori are flanked by St
Gabriel and the Virgin Annunciate. The second opening, the incipit of the Psalter (f.187), contains
an historiated initial 'P' depicting a Bishop Saint blessing; within the border are three medallions
depicting a hare against a luxuriant green backdrop, a mallard on rolling waves of blue, and a
collared leopard seated in a fantastical barren landscape. The artist here displays remarkable depth,
and his palette spans a variety of colours: from the greens and blues of the more familiar animals to
the exotic yellows and browns of the leopard in its desert setting. The third opening, marking the
beginning of the Sanctorale (f.245), contains one 9-line historiated initial 'D' depicting St Saturninus
and one 6-line initial 'F' depicting St Andrew; the borders boast three lozenges with a bird, a seated
monkey with its back turned, and a faun. The fourth and final opening, the Common of the Saints
(f.393), contains an historiated initial 'F' depicting SS. Peter and Paul; the borders with three
compartments depicting a lone faun, a goldfinch on a perch and two deer.
The Breviary is the work of at least two illuminators, their styles showing a close relationship to
Ferrarese painter Cosmè Tura (1430-1495). The principal miniatures in this Breviary have been
identified as the work of Fra Evangelista da Reggio (d.1494), who is also documented as having
worked on the corali of Ferrara cathedral from 1477 until his death (see J.J.G. Alexander and A.C. de
la Mare, The Italian Manuscripts in the Library of Major J.R. Abbey, 1969, no 50, pp.137-9, and pls. LXIb-
LXIV and La Miniatura a Ferrara, ed. F. Toniolo, Ferrara, 1998). His work is often indistinguishable
from that of Jacopo Filippo Medici, known as l'Argenta, and this Breviary may well be a further
example of their collaboration (see Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani, ed. M. Bollati, Milan, 2004,
pp.211-12). The British Library Breviary Add. ms 17294, also illuminated by Fra Evangelista,
displays a similar use of bright colours and comparable stylistic trends: thick lips, pronounced, bony
features, deep-set eyes and pointy beards.
The subjects of the other large historiated initials are as follows: the Nativity f.29, St Stephen f.32v,
St John the Evangelist f.34v, the Holy Family f.43v, the Adoration of the Magi f.47, the Resurrection
f. 118, the Ascension f.132v, Pentecost f.139v, the Trinity f.144, the Eucharist f.147v, Christ blessing
f.235v, St Barbara f.247v, St Thomas Apostle f.252, the Annunciation f.272, St John the Baptist
f.303v, SS. Peter and Paul f.308, the Assumption of the Virgin f.338v, St Augustine f.345 and All
Saints f.372.
Lot 26
THE IMHOF PRAYERBOOK, illuminated by SIMON BENING, in Latin and Dutch,
Estimate 1,500,000 - 2,000,000 British pounds

Antwerp [and Ghent] 1511
90 x 62mm. v + 329 + viii leaves, modern pencil foliation 1-342 followed here: 17 (of 8, i cancelled
blank), 28, 34+8, 4-108, 1110, 12-138, 14-156, 169(i a singleton with miniature), 17-308, 319(i a
singleton with miniature), 328, 337(of 8, final blank cancelled), 34-358, 369(iii a singleton with
miniature), 37-398, 406, 418, likely lacking a bifolium with text between gatherings 36 and 37; 13
lines of an elegant calligraphic lettre bâtarde with cadels and decorative flourishes, between 14
horizontals and two verticals ruled in pink, justification: 41 x 36mm, rubrics in red, one- and two-
line initials of liquid gold against grounds alternately red or blue, TEN MINIATURES FOUR
LINES HIGH of Instruments of the Passion, FIVE MINIATURES TWO LINES HIGH of the
ROUNDELS with naturalistic flowers strewn on liquid gold grounds, EIGHT SMALL
MINIATURES WITH FULL-PAGE BORDERS, some with bas-de-page scenes and others with
strewn flowers, insects or birds, one with illusionistic jewels, ELEVEN FULL-PAGE
MINIATURES WITH FACING FULL-PAGE BORDERS with bas-de-page scenes, scatter
borders with flowers, fruit and branches on gold or coloured grounds some including trompe l'oeil
insects, FIVE FURTHER FULL-PAGE BORDERS of similar types, edges gilt and gauffered, old
tasselled bookmarker (a few spots, a little marginal darkening and occasional minimal rubbing,
insects on ff.73 and 272 very slightly cropped). CONTEMPORARY RED VELVET OVER
WOODEN BOARDS with elaborate German silver clasp, the foliate pierced mounts probably
contemporary and the hinged clasp later (edges of velvet rubbed, headbands c.1900). Red solander


1. Hans V Imhof (1461-1522): The colophon on f.334v records the writing and completion of the
manuscript in Antwerp in 1511. It has been generally accepted that the effaced coat of arms on f.25,
discernible if viewed from the reverse against strong light, belongs to the Imhof, one of the patrician
families of Nuremberg. The presence of the Suffrage to St Sebald, patron saint of Nuremberg and
the name saint of the church where the family had their burial chapel is consistent with this. The
importance given to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, both the subjects of miniatures and
devotions, suggest that the original owner was named Johannes or Hans. The Imhof family had
amassed immense wealth from the spice trade and had offices throughout Europe, including
Antwerp where the manuscript was written, and for many years until his death in 1522 the firm was
headed by the merchant and banker Hans V. The family provided important and discriminating
patrons of art in their own city and none more so than Hans who was a friend of Albrecht Dürer,
the sculptor Adam Kraft and the humanist Willibald Pirckheimer. It is likely that the manuscript was
commissioned by him.
2. Herman Hendrick Beels, van Heemstede (1827-1916) and by descent until sold Sotheby's, 21 June
1988, lot 107.

Calendar ff.6-21; Computistical tables and roundels ff.21v-23v (ff.22 and 23 bound-in upside-down);
Extract from the Gospel of St John ff.25-26v; Passion according to St John ff.28-42v; Penitential
Psalms and Litany ff.45-72v; Prayers to Christ and the Virgin opening with the indulgenced prayer
on the name of Jesus ff.73-80v; Fifteen Oes and further prayers ff.82-98v; Prayers on the Passion
and other prayers, in Dutch ff.100-120v; Prayer on the Resurrection and other prayers ff.122-126v;
Verses of St Gregory and other prayers, in Dutch ff.128-175; Prayers opening with a prayer for
Christmas ff.177-193v; Prayers to Christ and the Virgin opening with Salve Sancta Facies and
including the Sorrows of the Virgin, prayers to be said during Mass and St Gregory's prayer on the
wounds of Christ ff.194-247v; Prayers to the Virgin opening with one to be said before an image of
the Virgin to gain 11,000 years indulgence, in Dutch ff.249-289v; Prayers to the Virgin opening with
a prayer on her Sorrows and continuing with Stabat Mater in Dutch (the latter with rubrics in Latin,
and lacking the final 9 verses) ff.291-296v; Prayers to St John the Baptist, in Dutch ff.298-301v;
Prayers to St Francis, in Dutch ff.303-304v; Prayers to St Michael, other saints and All Saints, in
Dutch ff.305-326v; Suffrages to saints, in Latin ff.327-334; colophon f.334v. Contact the
Department for further detail.

The colophon reads 'Scriptus et finitus est liber iste in opido mercuriali Hantwerpia Anno 1511'. The
question was raised in Illuminating the Renaissance, eds T. Kren and S. McKendrick, 2003, p.449
whether the manuscript may have been written by Petrus Alamire, a scribe active in Antwerp in
1511 but originally from Nuremberg and whose family name was Imhof.

In his lifetime Bening was described as 'the greatest master in the art of illumination in all of Europe'
and he has retained that position among modern critics: 'the art of no other Flemish illuminator so
fully epitomises the triumph of Flemish manuscript painting ... and its enduring eminence as a court
art' (T. Kren in Illuminating the Renaissance, p.446, and for this manuscript, cat. no 139, pp.448-449,
with further bibliography). This exquisite little volume fully justifies and explains this claim: it is
painted with the greatest delicacy and finesse.

Simon was born around 1483, probably in Ghent, the son of the illuminator Sanders Bening and
Kathelijn van der Goes, perhaps the sister or niece of the great painter Hugo. His family was also
connected to Rogier van der Weyden: he could hardly have been born into circumstances more
favourable for his artistic development. His career was long, prosperous and prolific, working for
princely patrons in Spain, Portugal and Germany as well as in his homeland, and his achievements
were celebrated by Guicciardini and Vasari as well as by his compatriots. Simon lived until 1561 and
two self-portraits dated 1558 attest to his enduring artistic activity and ability.

Personal prayerbooks small enough to be carried around and kept close by their owners seem to
have been a speciality of Bening and the Imhof Prayerbook is a superlative example. Although it is
his earliest dated work, he was a fully mature and developed artist when he painted it and the
features that are characteristic of his finest miniatures for the next half-century are already present.
The carefully characterised figures, often set in extensive and detailed landscapes or evocative night
settings are portrayed with a sensitivity to mood and atmosphere unsurpassed in his work. He makes
no concession to scale: these miniatures are a virtuoso performance; framed in simple illusionistic
mouldings, they are presented as though they are tiny panel paintings.

The text pages that face the full-page miniatures bring one back into the world of manuscript
decoration and have borders characteristic of Flemish manuscripts from the end of the 15th century:
yet these too are remarkable and of extremely high quality, equalling the miniatures they face in
refinement of execution and echoing their palette. They seem to be the work of Bening himself
(Kren, op. cit., p.449.)

It was a consistent feature of Bening's work that he made use of workshop patterns that had first
been exploited back in the 1470s, and were often found in manuscripts associated with the Master of
the First Prayerbook of Maximilian: this continuity is part of the argument for identifying the
anonymous Master with Simon's father Alexander, or Sanders, Bening. One striking and exact
example in the present prayerbook is the Stigmatisation of St Francis - the figures exactly replicating
those of the older artist in the Rothschild Prayerbook, that summa of Flemish manuscript
illumination (sold Christie's, 8 July 1999, lot 402 for £8,250,252) to which Simon had contributed
just a few years earlier. Whereas Simon was just one contributor to that manuscript the present book
is almost entirely by his hand. Only the miniature of the Baptism of Christ is by another illuminator,
an artist named after his work in another great manuscript where his work is found alongside that of
Bening, the Master of the David Scenes in the Grimani Breviary.

It is no wonder that the scholar who first published the manuscript was moved to title his article
'Work of art or jewel?' G.I. Lieftinck, 'Kunstwerk of Juweel? Het Gebedboek van de Heer C.H.
Beels te Hilversum', Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, VIII, 1957, pp.1-28).
The subjects of the full-page miniatures, and their facing full-page borders are as follows:
ff.24v-25 St John on Patmos, facing a camaïeu d'or sculptural border
ff.27v-28 Agony in the Garden, facing strewn flowers and a housefly
ff.81v-82 Betrayal and Arrest of Christ, facing strewn acanthus, flowers and owls
ff.99v-100 Crucifixion, facing scattered roses and insects
ff.121v-122 Resurrection of Christ, facing fruit and flowers
ff.127v-128 Mass of St. Gregory, facing strewn flowers and flowers in a blue and white pot
ff.176v-177 Nativity, with the shepherds, facing a landscape border with dancing peasants
ff.248v-249 Assumption of the Virgin, facing scattered violets and butterflies and a snail
ff.290v-291 Sorrows of the Virgin, facing strewn flowers and a snail
ff.297v-298 Baptism of Christ, facing a landscape border with a tree-house and ?St Antony Abbot
with an angel
ff.302v-303 Stigmatisation of St Francis, facing a border with flowers and acanthus on a banded
The subjects of the small miniatures with full borders are as follows: f.43 David kneeling in prayer
before his palace, the border with putti, swags and a carved gem
f.73 Christ Child holding a dove, the border with flowers, a blue and white ewer and a fly
f.194 Christ, head and shoulders, the border showing a gothic interior with two children whipping
f.327 Half-length figures of Sts Peter and Paul, the border with acanthus and flowers and a climbing
f.328 St Sebald in half-length holding a model of his church, the border with strewn flowers
f.329 St Lawrence in half-length, the border with gothic architecture and a woman pushing a
wheelbarrow with a tree planted in a basket
f.330 St Katherine in half-length, a landscape border with a tree-house and the spies returning from
Canaan carrying a giant bunch of grapes
f.331v St Anne reading with the Virgin and Child, the border showing enameled and gemstone

The four-line miniatures of the Instruments of the Passion are between ff.100v and 105, and the
two-line miniatures of the Wounds of Christ are on f.239r and v.
There are full-page borders accompanying illuminated initials on ff.154v, 168, 272, 295 and 305

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