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Beauvais Hours, So-called "Sotheby's Hours", Heures à l'usage de Beauvais (Heures de Pierre Cauchon?).


Rouen, c.1430-1432. 4to. (140 x 195 mm). 18 lines, with 18 initials in gold to both verso and recto. Written in brown, red and blue ink in a professional French textura hand. With a beatiful decoration of ivyleaf sprouting from a gilted baguette in the outer margin (both verso and recte). Text faded. Oratio. f. 179 ¶ Presumably made for the bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon, at the time residing in his own "Hotel" in Rouen (the city where the book was written and illuminated). Today is Pierre Cauchon only remembered as the 'infamous' judge in the legendary trial against Jeanne la Pucelle. In 1432 was he appointed bishop of Lisieux and did then obviously loose interest in its completion in the ambitious and luxurious form it was conceived from the beginning. This would explain the sudden decline of artistic quality, the pages left unfinished, and the miserable fate it later suffered.

Sold Sotheby's 9 February 1948 Lot 225 (Property of Oswald J. Swinburne);
Sold Sotheby's 14 July 1981 Lot 118 (The property of Mrs. A Manning), Catalogue p.53-54 with illustrations; Bought by the dealer Von der Merekt. Photographs from that sale now in the Conway Library at the Courtauld Institute (37 negatives, including all calendar pages).
Unaccounted for between 1981 and 2002 when large parts were dispersed by E. Neumann-Walter of Leipzig, and sold at various auctions as gatherings, miniatures and single leaves, the leaves mostly by way of eBay auctions (2002-2006).
Three miniatures sold by Christie's in Nov. 2002 (acquired by Maggs Bros., see Catalogue 1340 next).
Miniatures and a few well preserved single leaves sold by Maggs Bros. Ltd. (Illuminations. Catalogue 1340, 2003, No.9, 10, 11, 12, 13).
Gathering from the Office of the Dead, and two large miniatures sold by Sotheby's 17 June 2003 (Lots 58, 60, 61, last two acquired by Maggs Bros.).
Additional information about some of the multiple transactions, courteously provided by Paul Harcourt of Maggs Bros.:
Firstly, the miniature of St. Agatha was sold at Bonham's in London on 25/6/03, lot 337, catalogued as France, c. 1440 (acquired by Sam Fogg, photos by Peter Kidd 2003, now Margot and David Nishimura Collection).
Also Reiss & Sohn Auktion 86 (15-18 Oct. 2002), lots 1051-1054 had I think 14 text leaves and a miniature of the Nativity. The miniature may have been unsold since it appears to have been at Hartung's Auktion 13-15 May, 2003, lot 37. Lot 38 in the sale was a miniature of St. Maur [later resold on eBay by James Barrett], and lot 39 consisted of 4 text leaves. Also Reiss Auktion 89, 6-10 May, 2003, lot 1236 was a miniature of St. Aegidius from this manuscript, and 1237 consisted of 4 text leaves.
(Research by Erik Drigsdahl).

2 770 SEK

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