Highlights of our Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts Auction included a fine humanistic manuscript of an exceptionally rare text on astrology by the late Roman author Julius Firmicus Maternus, commissioned by an important patron, and signed and dated by the scribe Leonardus Job, in 1468, which reached £173,000.
Another humanistic manuscript, St Jerome’s Letters, a very fine copy dated 1467 with an exceptionally distinguished provenance, in this case written by the scribe for his own use, sold for £100,000. Also noteworthy was a Book of Hours, named after an early sixteenth-century owner the Tramerie Hours, which was started in Tournai in the 1430s but completed only in the 1510s, which sold for £75,000.
Sotheby’s is pleased to present the Property of a Private Collector, to be sold in our December Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts sale. The selection is distinguished by the Breviary of St Mathurin, a manuscript from the Gothic period of exceptional quality and considerable importance, beautifully illuminated by a follower of Jean Pucelle, the most influential illuminator in the early fourteenth century. It stands in sharp contrast to the Letters of Saint Jerome, an example for Ferrarese humanism, signed and dated by a well-known scribe, with an unusually detailed early ownership inscription, and a noble modern provenance that includes Charles Fairfax Murray, C.W. Dyson Perrins, Peter and Irene Ludwig of Aachen, and most recently the J. Paul Getty Museum.
A selection of richly illuminated Books of Hours offers a comprehensive record of late medieval painting in France and Flanders. Other single leaves with miniatures demonstrate the popularity of Books of Hours while selected examples such as the impressive leaf from a Gradual made in Germany around 1300 or the various leaves, cuttings and miniatures from Italian Renaissance manuscripts highlight the achievements of other schools. A finely painted miniature with Saint Paul in the style of Giulio Clovio is especially impressive.
The Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts sale also includes other manuscripts, single leaves and miniatures, notably a humanist manuscript of Julius Firmicus Maternus’ Matheseos Libri VIII, an astrological treatise from the classical period, made in Rome and dated 1468, but also other Books of Hours and manuscripts, a rich selection of leaves and miniatures of high quality, as well as papyrus from the fine 19th-century collection of Count Louis de Vaucelles and an Armenian prayer scroll.