Our Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts Auction achieved a total of 2,325,313. The top lot of the sale was the Hours of Dona Violante, a newly discovered masterpiece from Valencia which sold for £605,000. It was closely followed by a magnificent Gradual by Rinaldo da Siena from c.1280, which reached £509,000. Further highlights included a rare single page miniature from the Sigmaringen Psalter that achieved £269,000, and a hitherto unknown Book of Hours from the library of Tanneguy IV du Chastel which reached £173,000.
A newly discovered Book of Hours, probably made for Violante Cano around 1480, leads the 7 July Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts sale in London. The manuscript was produced in Valencia but enriched with additional miniatures by the Master of the Dresden Prayerbook and the Master of Edward IV imported from Bruges. The splendid manuscript is bound in a contemporary binding and kept in its precious red velvet chemise with piping and hanging corner ornaments of metal thread; only very few examples survive, yet they are one of the most important developments in the history of bookbinding during the Middle Ages.
Other highlights include a long lost Gradual from c.1280, illuminated by Rinaldo da Siena, a forerunner of Duccio and founder of the Sienese school of Trecento painting, which was previously known only by a few isolated leaves. Also dating from the 13th century is a full-page miniature with the Entry into Jerusalem, the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper, from the Sigmaringen Psalter which belongs to a group of deluxe Psalters made probably c.1220-40 in Strasbourg.
Other outstanding miniatures include a fine leaf from a major manuscript newly attributed to the young Bedford Master, identifiable with Haincelin of Hagenau, court painter to Louis de Guyenne, son of the French King Charles VI, with exquisite borders by the illuminator who contributed to the Belles Heures for the Duke of Berry, one of the greatest bibliophiles of the Middle Ages. A large full-page miniature with the Triumph of David, made in Rome c.1550-75, was painted by one of Giulio Clovio’s most talented pupils, one of his collaborators in the Towneley Lectionary who is perhaps identifiable as the Fleming Maximilian de Monceau.
The 15th and 16th centuries are comprehensively represented by many manuscripts across the Italian, Netherlandish, and French schools, for example an elegant Book of Hours illuminated by the celebrated Florentine artist Attavante degli Attavanti; a Bruges Book of Hours with fine miniatures by the Masters of Raphael de Marcatellis in a splendid 17th-century binding; and a hitherto unknown manuscript from the library of the nobleman and bibliophile Tanneguy IV du Chastel who received many of the manuscripts confiscated from Jacques d’Armaganc, duc de Nemours, inheritor of much of Jean de Berry’s library, a Parisian Book of Hours from the 1470s which includes Tanneguy du Chastel’s portrait, illuminated by Maître François and his workshop.