THE SIEGE OF WINCHESTER AND THE BURIAL OF LIONEL, miniature cut from the Livre du Lancelot del Lac, in French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1440]
An evocative miniature from the famous Arthurian romance Livre du Lancelot del Lac illuminated by the Dunois Master
Dismembered by the 16th century, it formed a pair with the Roman de Guiron le Courtois, BnF mss. fr. 356-7; both manuscripts were possibly made for Prigent de Coëtivy, admiral of France. The scene corresponds to VI, 388:2 in H.O. Summer's edition of the text, The Vulgate Version of the Arthurian Romances, 1911, and depicts a bier with the body of Lionel being taken into the city of Winchester, with soldiers on the battlements above confronting the troops of Bohors.
(1) The Livre du Lancelot del Lac and the Roman de Guiron le Courtois may well be the two manuscripts for which PRIGENT DE COËTIVY paid Jean Haincelin in 1444, a crucial piece of evidence to the argument identifying the Bedford Master with Haincelin de Haguenau, perhaps the father of Jean Haincelin, the Dunois Master. The Lancelot was dismembered at an early date. (2) JOACHIM NAPOLÉON, PRINCE MURAT (1835-1932). (3) W.R. Jeudwine, Alpine Club Gallery, London, 1962, no 34; Sotheby's, 13 December 1965, lot 171, no 14 and Sotheby's, 6 July 2000, lot 26.
The Dunois Master was the assistant of the Bedford Master and then his successor as the dominant figure in Parisian illumination from about 1435. His soft style derives from that of the Bedford Master and he also inherited the older Master's stock of compositional patterns. He built on this legacy, showing great compositional inventiveness in both secular manuscripts and devotional books, like the Hours of the Count of Dunois from which he was named (London, BL. Ms Yates Thompson 3). The Dunois Master's assured painterly technique and narrative skills have created an entrancing epitome of the chivalric ideals at the heart of French court culture.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION AND CONDITION:
90 x 90mm. Pasted down on card, mounted and framed (some loss of gilding to the frame).