• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7590

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    4 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 26

    LANCELOT APPROACHES TWO COUPLES DINING, miniature cut from Livre du Lancelot del Lac, in French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

    Price Realised  

    LANCELOT APPROACHES TWO COUPLES DINING, miniature cut from Livre du Lancelot del Lac, in French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

    [Paris, c.1440]
    100 x 92mm. Before two tents, two couples sit with a cloth spread over their knees; Lancelot has dismounted and approaches from the left, on the verso 16/17 lines of text (two small holes at left edge, a spot on the face of righthand man, laid onto card surround, text visible on verso). Framed.

    The miniature, number 23 in the Alpine Club Gallery Exhibition, makes delicate use of liquid gold not only for the horse trappings but to enrich the tents with gold guy ropes and to model the lavish brown garment of the man seated left. At Bk V, 71.14 onwards, Lancelot encounters one knight eating with two ladies from a cloth more plausibly spread on the grass; the lady in blue raising her hand is probably the knight's sister, instantly lovesick on seeing Lancelot. The text on the verso is from Bk V, 73.5.


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Pre-Lot Text

    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.