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LANCELOT AND LIONEL
The following three lots are miniatures from the famous dismembered Livre du Lancelot del Lac illuminated c.1440 by the Dunois Master, the successor of the Bedford Master as the dominant figure in Parisian illumination. Thirty-two other miniatures are known from the volume, which formed a pair with the Guiron le Courtois in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (ms. fr. 356-7). The two manuscripts may well be those for which Prigent de Coëtivy paid Jean Haincelin in 1444 and are thus crucial to the argument identifying the Bedford Master with Haincelin de Haguenau, perhaps the father of Jean Haincelin, the Dunois Master, named from the book of hours of Jean, comte de Dunois, in the British Library (see F. Avril and N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France 1440-1520, 1993, pp.37-8).
The Lancelot was cut up at an early date: the miniatures have numbers between 1 and 152 on their reverses in an apparently 16th-century hand. The text, as preserved on the reverses of the miniatures, for the most part follows very closely that published by H.O. Sommer, The Vulgate Version of of the Arthurian Romances, 8 vols, 1909-1913, but a different version was used for the central section of Sommer's Book IV.
The three miniatures offered here have not appeared at auction since they were purchased by Denys Sutton from the exhibition of 34 miniatures offered in 1962 by W.R. Jeudwine as Early Fifteenth Century Miniatures at the Alpine Club Gallery, London. They had come from an album, bound in Paris in the 19th century, subsequently owned by Joachim Napoléon, Prince Murat (1856-1932), which had been purchased by Jeudwine after the death of Prince Murat's widow in 1960.