Three miniatures from a richly decorated Book of Hours, illuminated manuscript on vellum [central France (probably Lyons), c.1480-90]
4,000 - 6,000 GBP
bidding is closed
three leaves, each 144mm. by 100mm., with three-quarter miniatures of (a) the Annunciation to the Shepherds, the angel with a banderole appearing to a group of male and female shepherds and their flock, (b) the Coronation of the Virgin by God wearing a three-tiered crown, within a soft shaded green and pink interior, a medieval walled city visible through the window, (c) the Deposition of Christ, with followers laying his mutilated and blood-stained corpse on a shroud within a gothic interior, all above simple 2-line coloured initials enclosing sprays of foliage, and within full borders of rows of realistic sprigs of foliage and flowers growing from grassy tussocks, and enclosing 22 realistic birds (one of which fights with a snail, and another which eyes a snail cautiously), 3 pensive looking owls and 3 snails, all on gold grounds, 14 lines on verso with decorated border panels with similar foliage and birds, some scuffing, else in good and presentable condition
These miniatures have a strikingly vivid palette and their borders offer a riotous cacophony of birds which strut or flap around the miniatures, fighting with each other and a snail, as owls in muted browns gaze quietly on. The shoots of foliage in the borders point to central France (cf. Avril and Reynaud, Les Manuscrits à peintures, 1993, no.80), while the whiteness of the faces of the figures suggests the influence of the work of the Parisian Master of Jacques de Besançon (fl.1480-90). Another miniature from the same manuscript is illustrated in S. Gwara, Census of Medieval Manuscripts in South Carolina Collections, 2007, p.46 and no.82, and includes the eighteenth-century seal of the Marquis de Courtanvaux.