ST NICHOLAS, miniature on a leaf from a Book of Hours, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more THE MAZARINE MASTER The Mazarine Master, active in Paris during the first two decades of the 15th century, has been defined by Gabrielle Bartz as a distinct personality responsible for some of the most striking works previously attributed to the Boucicaut Master, among them the Book of Hours in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms 469, from which he takes his name (see E. Taburet-Delahaye and F. Avril, Paris 1400, 2004, esp, pp.280-287). The two masters had a decisive influence on French illumination at one of its most resplendent periods, particularly through their interest in depicting three-dimensional space, and worked for the greatest collectors of the age, like the Duke of Berry. Stylistically close to the Boucicaut Master, the Mazarine Master is distinguished by his greater liking for pattern, seen in the variety of his gilded backgrounds, by his softer modelling of draperies and by his more elegant, graceful figures.
ST NICHOLAS, miniature on a leaf from a Book of Hours, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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ST NICHOLAS, miniature on a leaf from a Book of Hours, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
Paris, 1408
178 x 130 mm. St Nicholas resurrecting the three boys who had been pickled in a tub of brine, within a bar and full border, with a similar border on the verso (water damage to border and text, slight smudging of penwork in background and a few small paint losses in miniature, increased transparency of parchment more evident on verso).

A familiar subject is here given new immediacy by the Mazarine Master through the boys' expressive faces, as they fix their eyes gratefully on their rescuer. Few books illuminated by the Master can be securely dated. This leaf, however, comes from the famous Chester Beatty Book of Hours, written in 1408, the year the bridges were washed away in Paris; a similar inscription appears in the Book of Hours, Douce 144 (Oxford, Bodleian Library). Its original patron apparently had Breton connections; its documented history begins with lot 47 in the sale of John Boycott Jarman (d.1864), Sotheby's, 13 June 1864 -- Jarman's collection had been damaged by flooding in 1846; lot 240 in the sale of Edward Arnold, Sotheby's, 6 May, 1929; W Ms 103 in the library of Sir Arthur Chester Beatty (1875-1968), who had most of the miniatures, including St Nicholas, separately mounted. Some were dispersed during his lifetime but the St Nicholas remained in the collection and was sold as lot 58i in the Chester Beatty Sale, Sotheby's 24 June, 1969. Miniatures from the Chester Beatty Hours are now in various private and public collections: the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, recently succeeded in regaining two miniatures at the sale of the Arcana Collection in these rooms, 7 July 2010, lots 22 and 23.
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Eugenio Donadoni
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