Saturday, 29 April 2017

Cuttings at the Walters

I spent part of the Easter weekend sorting through my filing-cabinet of photocopies. Among them was a brief article by Judith Oliver in an old issue of the Walters Art Gallery Bulletin, called "Manuscripts, Scissors, and Paste" (vol.31, no.3, December 1978, pp.[1-2]), in which she discusses two examples of manuscripts being cut up.

The first (above) caught my eye because I recognised the style: the illumination is attributable to the so-called Almagest atelier, and it reminds me of some leaves in a private collection I am currently cataloguing, which have a number of their illuminated initials cut out.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

More About The Elmhirst-Courtanvaux Hours

Several more leaves from the manuscript I am calling the Elmhirst-Courtanvaux Hours have been consigned for sale at Sotheby's on 23 May. They provide two important clues as to the place of origin and the patron.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Tracing the Present Whereabouts


In a previous post I mentioned some cuttings from an early 15th-century Parisian Book of Hours, each with a miniature in the style of Jacquemart de Hesdin. I took the reproduction above from the 1983 Sotheby's catalogue in which they were last sold, as lot 99.

A reader contacted me to ask if I knew where they are now, and I didn't. But I thought that it ought to be possible to work it out.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

A Fifth New Leo X cutting


I have written about a dismembered Missal of Leo X several times, most recently here. Browsing images of cuttings in Parisian collections I came across this initial "P", in the Musée des arts décoratifs, shown above.

The online description is vague:

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Henry Huth (1815–1878): An Addendum


In my previous post I mentioned that I had not yet tried to verify my hunch that the so-called Haddaway Bible (of which I show another detail above) had belonged to Henry Huth, rather than being added to their library by his son, Alfred.

I suggested that a good clue would be whether or not a bible listed in the catalogue of Henry's books published in 1880, as being bound in BR[own] M[orocco], could be identified with the Haddaway Bible, which is known to have been lot 645 in the sale of the Huth Library at Sotheby's, 15 November 1911, and following days. If the Haddaway Bible, when sold in 1911, did NOT have a brown morocco binding, then it is almost certainly not the one described in the 1880 catalogue, and my hypothesis would be proved incorrect.

On reading that blog, Bill Stoneman very kindly consulted a copy of the 1911 catalogue and sent me a scan of the relevant pages:
As can be seen, the last word on page 180 and the first on p.181 described the binding as "brown morocco".

It is also notable that the early 13th-century manuscript is incorrectly dated "XIVth Century", just as the manuscript had been in the 1880 catalogue. It therefore seems that we now have proof that the Haddaway Bible did indeed belong to Henry Huth.

But Bill then went further and made a remarkable discovery. Next to the Huth auction catalogue on the shelves at the Houghton Library is a finely bound copy of the 1880 catalogue, with (i) the Huth leather book-label on the upper pastedown,
(ii) an inserted original photograph of Alfred Huth,
and (iii) annotations in the main text:

These enhancements demonstrate that this was Alfred Huth's own copy of the catalogue of his father's library.

The marginal annotations next to each catalogue entry consist of a price, an initial letter (such as "E", "L", "Q", and "S"), and a two-digit number.

The price is doubtless the purchase price (or possible a probate valuation?), the initial letters must indicate the source (since "Q" is unlikely to stand for anything other than Quaritch), and the final two digits are presumably the year: on the pages shown above they range from [18]56 to [18]76. If "Q" is Quaritch, "E" is probably F.S. Ellis, "S" is probably Sotheby's, and "L" is doubtless Joseph Lilly: according to the ODNB entry on Henry Huth, "Joseph Lilly ... exercised a good deal of influence on his purchases over the years and was generally his agent".

The Haddaway Bible was therefore bought by Henry Huth in 1856 for £18 18s from Joseph Lilly. Lilly may have sold it from stock for 18 Guineas, or perhaps he bought it at auction on behalf of Huth for £18, to which he added 5% commission.

The next step in tracing the provenance of the Haddaway Bible will therefore be to trawl auction and Lilly catalogues for 1856. For the latter, David Pearson's Provenance Research in Book History: A Handbook, tells us "The best collection will be found in the Bodleian Library, which hold about 180 Lilly catalogues, 1827-70 ... many of these were previously Sir Thomas Phillipps's copies".





Saturday, 1 April 2017

Henry Huth (1815–1878)

Henry Huth (1815–1878)
I have recently been doing some work on a bible that is often usually referred to by the names of its former owners as the Huth-Hornby-Cockerell-Haddaway Bible, or simply the Haddaway Bible, from which this image comes:

The outlines of its provenance are well known, and get repeated when leaves appear on the market, most recently at Christie's, December 2015, lot 5. Sometimes the first owner is recorded as Henry Huth (1815–1878), and sometimes as his son, Alfred Henry Huth (1850–1910), also a bibliophile, who added to his father's collection. The manuscript was broken-up in 1981 so some evidence on flyleaves may have been lost forever, but I thought it worth seeing if there is any evidence that the book did indeed belong to the father before the son.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Another Forrer Bible Historiale Cutting?


On my way back from seeing the current exhibition of manuscripts in Rouen (perhaps the subject of a future post?), I visited the Musée Marmottan yesterday for the first time in about 20 years, to look at the Wildenstein leaves and cuttings, about which I've written several times before (e.g. here).

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition, Winter 1926-27 [Part II] - Addendum 2


In a previous post I identified one of the leaves that was exhibited at the 1926-27 BFAC exhibition.

A private collector who owns another leaf from this volume (shown above) has contacted me and told me that his leaf was sold at Sotheby's, 2 Dec 2003, lot 26. I had annotated my copy of this catalogue with references to several other sales, which enables me to provide a much more detailed provenance for the parent volume and some of the individual leaves:

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Texas Gutenburg Bible

I've just watched a good lecture, by Eric White, analysing the provenance of the copy of the Gutenburg Bible now in the Harry Ransom Center, at Austin, Texas. Despite concerning a printed book, the lecture combines analysis of the most of my favourite clues to a manuscript's provenance: added decoration, handwritten additions, and entries in modern printed catalogues.

For example, there is this inscription, which (as Neil Ker pointed out) indicates that it was in Carthusian ownership:


You can watch the lecture on YouTube here.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

George Jackson (1692-1763) of Livorno

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This week, I learned of the existence of the significant library of George Jackson, an English merchant who lived in Livorno, and about whom I would like to know more.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Fragments of a Dismembered Bible Historiale

In December 2015 Bloomsbury auctions offered a cutting "showing the murder of a youth" (lot 61 in the catalogue), attributed to "the early fourteenth-century husband and wife illuminator-team Richard and Jean [sic] de Montbaston":

The text was not precisely identified, and the iconography only tentatively so: "The parent text here may well be from a Bible translation, with part of Proverbs, and if correct, then the scene may represent Cain and Abel".

Sunday, 8 January 2017