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Master of the Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse
Master of the Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse
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Property from a Continental Collection
Master of the Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse


Master of the Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse
Two miniatures from the Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse, Lorraine, late 13th century
SINGING OF THE NEW SONG; and THE BLESSED BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD, two miniatures on either side of a cutting from the Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Lorraine, late 13th century].

An exceptional survival from the splendid 13th-century Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse.

110 x 140mm. The miniatures illustrating Apocalypse 14:1-3: 'And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads [...]'; and Apocalypse 4-5: 'These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb' (outer frame partly cropped, light smudging to sky around the lamb). Double-sided mount.

Provenance: (1) The present cutting was originally taken from f.30 of the famous Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse, a Latin manuscript with the gloss of Berengarius of the second family of Apocalypses (as classified by L. Delisle and P. Meyer, L’Apocalypse en français au XIIIe siècle, 1900, and by M.R. James, The Apocalypse in Art, 1931) originally (and still occasionally) assumed to be of English origin, given its close parallels with English 13th-century illumination, but now widely acknowledged to have been produced in Lorraine under the patronage of count Thibaut de Bar (d.1292) and Jeanne de Toucy-Châtillon (d.1317). The intact manuscript, it has been suggested, was perhaps made for Eleanor Plantagenet (1264-1297), eldest daughter of Edward I, and wife of Henry III de Bar. (2) The parent manuscript was likely dismembered by Peter Birmann in 1796 and its miniatures were sold en bloc to: (3) Daniel Burckardt-Wildt (1752-1819), Basel silk merchant and collector: sale by his heirs, Sotheby’s, 25 April 1983, the present miniatures f.5 in the album and lot 56 in the sale.

Many of the 41 cuttings sold at the 1983 Sotheby’s sale are now in institutional collections (four in New York, Morgan Library, MS M.1043.1-2 and MS 1071.1-2; two in Collegeville, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, MS Bean 4 (1) and (2); two in Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art, 1983.73.1-2; two in Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, 1983.38-39; one in Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, MS W.828), and only a handful have appeared at public auction since their rediscovery.

Illumination: The illumination of the Burckhardt-Wildt Apocalypse is closely linked to that of two other manuscripts of the so-called ‘Lorraine Group’ (see Tributes to Lucy Freeman Sandler: Studies in Illuminated Manuscripts, 2007, p.95): BL, Add. MS 22493 (a fragment) and Florence, Biblioteca Laurenziana ms. Ashburnham 415. The programme of illumination is also strikingly similar to the Angers Apocalypse tapestries, woven between 1373 and 1382 for Louis I, Duke of Anjou (see G. Henderson, 'The Manuscript Model of the Angers "Apocalypse" Tapestries', The Burlington Magazine, 1985, pp.208-219).

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