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David in Prayer, miniature from an illuminated Book of Hours, in Latin, on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1430]
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18
David in Prayer, miniature from an illuminated Book of Hours, in Latin, on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1430]
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Details & Cataloguing

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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London

David in Prayer, miniature from an illuminated Book of Hours, in Latin, on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1430]
single leaf, 105mm. by 142mm., with a three-quarter page miniature of David kneeling in Prayer, by the Master of Harvard Hannibal, the king richly dressed in a red mantle over a blue robe, embroidered with finely pounced burnished gold applications, his harp lying on the ground, his head turned toward a glowing apparition of God the Father emerging from golden rays in the starry sky, surrounded by four red cherubs, and in the background a hilly landscape, fortified town, and windmill, above 4 lines of text (opening the Penitential Psalms), with a 4-line initial in blue on a red ground with white penwork, enclosing ivy leaves in red, blue, and green on burnished gold, surrounded by a full border of coloured and silver acanthus (now oxidised), flowers and gold ivy leaves, the verso with 21 lines of text in a gothic bookhand in brown ink, written space 102mm. by 70mm., one-line initials and line-fillers in gold on red and blue grounds with white penwork, pencil inscription ‘19’ in upper right corner, miniature with small pigment losses, burnished gold slightly rubbed, edges heavily cropped with some damage to decorated borders, left side of leaf yellowed from tape on verso used in a previous mounting, else in good condition, framed
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Catalogue Note

The miniature is a very fine work by the Master of Harvard Hannibal (fl. c.1415-40). He was named by Millard Meiss after the miniature of the Coronation of Hannibal in a French translation of Livy (Cambridge, MA., Harvard, Houghton Library, Richardson MS.32, fol.263r). It is based on a design by the Boucicaut Master (cf. Paris, BnF., fr.259, fol.253r), and he was clearly trained by that artist. The Harvard Hannibal Master's later works also show his familiarity with the work of the Limbourg brothers. Despite attempts to see two artists in his so-called ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ styles (see C. Reynolds in England and Normandy in the Middle Ages, 1994, pp.299-313, esp.304-05), there are no major differences in style. Characteristic are figures with pale flesh tones modelled with grey and green. Interiors and landscapes are filled with numerous small details and dark skies are embellished with golden stars. The present leaf is remarkable because of the subtle modelling of the face and the fine pouncing of the burnished gold.

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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London