LUTHERAN PRAYERBOOK OF COUNTESS DOROTHEA VON MANSFELD, in German, illuminated by SEBASTIAN GLOCKENDON, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Nuremberg], 1551205 x 150mm. i + 128 leaves: 1-24, 36, 4-184, 195(of 4 + i) 20-244, 253(of 2 +i), 26-314, 322, COMPLETE, 21 lines written in black ink, faded to brown on some leaves, in a Fraktur hand between two verticals and 22 horizontals ruled in blind, justification: 152 x 102mm, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials in liquid gold on modelled grounds of blue, red or green, patterned in liquid gold, one large initial with partial border of acanthus, flower stems and a dragonfly, one large initial of beaked staves with partial border of flowers, fruit and a bird, THIRTY LARGE MINIATURES IN RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURAL FRAMES (some smudging to text and miniature f.1, scratch to miniature f.21, tear to margin f.46, wear to margins, cropped into borders and some cadels, lower margins made up ff.63, 66, 75). Late 18th-century German red morocco gilt, spine in six compartments gilt, gilt edges, gold floral endpapers (slight rubbing to extremities). Red solander box.
THE ONLY KNOWN WORK BY SEBASTIAN GLOCKENDON
1. Gräfin Dorothea von Mansfeld (1493-1578), daughter of Graf Philipp zu Solms and from 1521 the second wife of Graf Ernst II von Mansfeld-Vorderort (1479-1535): shields of Mansfeld (dexter) and Solms on f.2; the countess may be depicted on f.114. Famed for her piety and skills as a herbalist, she spent her long widowhood chiefly at Schloss Heldrungen, where she cultivated a notable herb garden from which she supplied Martin Luther with medicines. Luther grew up in Mansfeld and the Countess's branch of the family was among his early supporters. It has been suggested that the book was made for one of Dorothea's daughters (Saur, Allgemeines Künstlerlexicon, vol 41, 2007, p.192) but they had all died by May 1550. The scribe signed and dated his work JB 1551 in his elegant Fraktur hand, f.128.
2. Magnus Haetiger(?): faded 18th-century signature on f.1.
3. Dr Sali Guggenheim, Zurich: sale Christie's, 28 June 1995, lot 26.
'Betbüchlein Viler schönen Andechtigen gebet durch einen Gelehrten auss heyligher Göttlicher Schrift zusammen getragen' f.1; Calendar ff.3-8v; prayers, opening with 'Ein offne Beicht', and including prayers for different times of day, for the dying, ff.9-18v; the Apostle's Creed with prayers, ff.20-22v; 'Ein kurze ausslegung der zehen gebot in form eins gebets gestalt die mag man an stat einer Predig lessen und fürnemen', on the Ten Commandments, followed by prayers and Psalms 130 and 51, ff.23v-47v; prayers for the mass, ff.47v-50; 'Das Vater Unser', the Lord's Prayer, interspersed with prayers, ff.50v-59; the Ave Maria, as shortened and translated by Luther, and prayers, ff.59-63, 'Bekantnis des Glaubens', the Nicene Creed, ff.63-64; prayers on the sufferings of Christ, ff.64-67; prayers for the mass and the Church, ff.67-74v; to the Trinity, Christ, on the sacrament, including the consecration, kyrie etc, ff.75-100; 'Collect und gebet wider den Türken', against the Turks, in other times of difficulty, ff.100-104; the Eight Verses of St Bernard, guide to other psalms, prayer to be inscribed on the heart with golden letters, 'mit gulden buchstaben ins herz zuschreiben', ff.104-107v; the Magnificat, the Salve addressed to Christ, Psalm 130, prayer to God, ff.108-110v; prayers to the three Persons of the Trinity, ff.111-115; prayers of Solomon, on rising etc, ff.115-122; Athanasian Creed, ff.122-124v; Te deum, the last of Luther's creeds, and prayers, ending with Job I 21, ff.124v-128.
Presumably copied from Vil schöner andechtiger Gebet durch einen Gelerten aus Göttlicher heyliger Schrift zusammen getragen, printed in Nuremberg in 1550 (see P. Althaus, Zur Karacheristik der evangelischen Gebetsliteratur im Reformationsjahrhundert, 1914, p.40), the structuring around the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer and the four creeds is directly inspired by Luther, who was essentially conservative in worship, preserving, for instance, the 'Ave Maria' and seeing a usefulness in prayer beads. The Calendar, however, with its 'unhistorical' saints and apocryphal feasts of the Virgin is comparatively unreformed.
When the manuscript was sold in these rooms in 1995, Hans Fellner convincingly identified the initials S.G. on ff.2 and 55 with Sebastian Glockendon the Elder of Nuremberg (d.1555). This was accepted by Ulrich Merkl in his fundamental work on south German illumination, Buchmalerei in Bayern in den ersten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts, 1999, this manuscript pp.491-94. Sebastian was one of the illuminating sons of the renowned illuminator Nikolaus Glockendon (d.1533/4) and probably the father of an illuminator, the presumed Sebastian Glockendon the Younger (fl. c.1575). Sebastian's birth-date is not known but he married in 1547, the year of Johann Neudorfer's account of artists and craftsmen, where Sebastian is one of the five named sons of Nikolaus, who were mint masters, painters or sculptors. In 1551 Sebastian was definitely in Nuremberg and is unlikely to have met the Countess; he may have received the commission through Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, patron of the greatest German artists of the day and frequent employer of his father.
This is Sebastian Glockendon's only surviving work: a lost commission for Ottheinrich of the Palatinate is recorded. Merkl deduces that such a talented illuminator, 'with nothing to fear from a comparison with his father's best works', only failed to attract more book commissions because the great age of manuscript was finally ending. With opulent colours and finely applied gold, Sebastian created animated figures set in clearly constructed interiors, rich in classical ornament, or in verdant landscapes under varied skies. Like most painters of the time, he took prints as models, chiefly from the Lutheran texts used by the 'learned author'. These have so far been identified as the cuts in Luther's Enchiridion. Der kleyn Catechismus die gemeyne Pfarrheren unnd Predigern, Nuremberg, Gutknecht, 1547, and those by Hans Brosamer in Luther's Katechismus und Traubüchlein, Frankfurt, Hermann Gültferich 1553, previously misdescribed as an edition of Weygand Han of 1550 (see B. Gotzkowsky, Die Buchholzschnitte Hans Brosamers in Werken Martin Luthers und anderen religiösen Drucken des 16. Jahrhunderts, 2009, pp.439-40). While Sebastian may still have been working on the manuscript in 1553, the cuts could have appeared earlier in a lost edition or followed an unidentified earlier source.
Sebastian Glockendon maximised the opportunity to present a wide range of subject matter that included devotional and Biblical subjects and scenes of everyday activities. The miniatures of preaching are vivid evocations of Lutheran services, where Dorothea von Mansfeld may have been expected to recognise herself among the congregation; the length of reformed sermons is suggested by the hourglass carefully shown in the pulpit. The warnings of behaviour to be avoided also show glimpses into account keeping -- the prosperity of the Mansfeld-Vorderort was based on trading in copper -- and gambling. Sebastian's unique work is an arresting witness to contemporary life, the evolution of Lutheran devotional practice and the enhanced prestige of illuminated manuscripts in the age of printing.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: the Crucifixion, f.1; the coats of arms of Mansfeld and Solms, signed S.G., f.2; God creating the world, f.20; the Virgin and St John on either side of the Crucified Christ, f.21; Pentecost, f.22; Moses receiving the Ten Commandments and the Adoration of the Golden Calf, f.25; two gamblers and a merchant taking the Name of the Lord in vain (Christ on the Cross), f.26; a preacher with his congregation keeping the Sabbath holy, f.27; the Drunkenness of Noah, where two of his sons honour their father, f.28; Cain slaying Abel, for the fifth commandment against murder, Abel's offering accepted in the background f.29; David watching Bathsheba bathing, warning against adultery, f.30; Achan's theft (Joshua, chap. 7), warning against stealing, f.31; a workman with hammer and a richly dressed man before a judge, as a warning against bearing false witness, f.32; an older man seated at a table with accounts, gesturing to a young man, behind, the neighbour's house and field, with a woman, a man, an ass and an ox, none of which should be coveted, f.33; the Apostles and a disciple kneeling at Christ's feet as he prays, for the 'Our Father', f.51; a preacher in a grandly Renaissance chapel with a finely dressed congregation, for 'Hallowed be thy Name', f.52; a preacher with a boy pointing to a female member of the congregation, 'Thy kingdom come', f.53; Christ carrying the Cross, for 'Thy will be done', f.54; the Feeding of the Five Thousand for 'Give us this day our daily bread', signed S.G., f.55; a seated creditor arguing with a standing debtor, for 'as we forgive them that trespass against us', f.56; Christ taking leave of his Mother, for 'Lead us not into temptation', f.57; the Harrowing of Hell, for 'Deliver us from evil', f.58; the Annunciation, f.59; the Last Supper, f.68; the Father with a sphere of the world with the Fall of Man, f.75; the Son on the Cross, which is clutched by the kneeling Magdalene, the Virgin and St John standing by, f.76; the Holy Spirit hovering as a dove above kneeling worshippers, f.77; the Father in majesty seated on the rainbow, f.112; the Son crucified on a tree-like Cross, which supports the Virgin and St John on branches curling from its base, against a starred blue ground within a rosary and a laurel wreath, f.113; the Holy Spirit as a dove above a landscape, adored by a kneeling woman probably meant for Dorothea von Mansfeld, f.114.