Anonymous German illuminator
Anonymous German illuminator
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Anonymous German illuminator

St Erasmus, miniature on a leaf from the '1524 Hildesheim Prayerbook', in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern Germany, Hildesheim, c.1524]

Details
Anonymous German illuminator
St Erasmus, miniature on a leaf from the '1524 Hildesheim Prayerbook', in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern Germany, Hildesheim, c.1524]
A lively illuminated leaf with a rare depiction of St Erasmus holding his entrails, from the famous 1524 Hildesheim Prayerbook.

168 x 139mm. 31 lines of text written in an angular calligraphic hand, the miniature depicting St Erasmus holding his entrails wrapped around a windlass, the text the Suffrage to St Erasmus, full scatter borders with a putto and strewn naturalistic flowers, 2 initials, verso with the rubric for the Suffrage to St John the Confessor (gold a little smudged, else in excellent condition).

Provenance:
(1) The parent manuscript had two borders dated 1524 (ff.61v and 74), and a coat of arms with the arms of Mansfeld, a family of great political and military importance in northern Germany in the 16th century. St Godehard (d.1038), bishop of Hildesheim, appeared in one of the Suffrages, which has led to the localisation of the manuscript.
(2) In the late 16th century the manuscript was taken to France or Belgium, where the red rubrics and prayers were added in French. At about this time too the arms of Adrienne Louvignies were added on f.1.
(3) In the collection of the Comte d'Aspremont-Lynden in the 19th century: his ownership inscription in the parent manuscript.
(4) Michael (1830-92) and Albert Linel (1833-1916), of Frankfurt am Main: their L.M.39. Their collection was acquired by the city of Frankfurt for the Kunstgewerbemuseum by purchase in 1892 and by bequest in 1916 (this manuscript is published in G. Swarzenski, Die illuminierten Handschriften und Einzelminiaturen des Mittelalters und der Renaissance in Frankfurter Besitz, Frankfurt, 1929, no 151 pp.181–83 and Taf.LXV). In July 1953, however, some of the manuscripts were de-accessioned, and exchanged for other works of art, with the local dealer W. Heinrich. At least two of the de-accessioned Linel manuscripts were acquired the following year by the Spencer Collection at the New York Public Library from the dealer Helmuth Domizlaff of Munich: Linelsammlung L.M. 38 is now NYPL Spencer 151 and L.M. 8 is now Spencer 152: see The Splendor of the Word, New York Public Library exhibition catalogue (2005), nos.64 and 68. On this, see Peter Kidd's blogpost: https://mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-1524-hildesheim-hours.html.
(5) The parent manuscript was sold at Sotheby's, 23 June 1987, lot 100, purchased by 'Pairvel' for £60,000 and still intact a decade later when offered by Bruce Ferrini, Recent Acquisitions: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts (Autumn 1997); subsequently broken up.
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Sophie Hopkins
Sophie Hopkins Specialist, Manuscripts & Archives

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