Attributed to MASTER OF BEATRIJS VAN ASSENDELFT'S "LEVEN VAN JEZUS"
Very large miniature on vellum (leaf ca. 22,8 x 15,7 cm, miniature ca. 21,5 x 14,5 cm).
Exceptional miniature originating from a major unpublished Dutch Book of Hours in Latin and Dutch, presently in a European private collection. The manuscript originally containing the present Nativity miniature is quite important, among other reasons, because it is the largest Book of Hours known to have been made in the Northern Netherlands during the 15th century (see, previous lot). The pencil foliation in the Book of Hours has missing leaves of various folios, including number "76", which is the folio number found on the present leaf. The measurements also confirm the identification, as the manuscript is 22,9 cm high (the leaves of the manuscript are wider, measuring 16,9 cm - the present leaf is less wide because it was excised from the book). The original manuscript, to which this miniature belonged, retains only one full-page miniature, an Annunciation on f. 7v. The present miniature will have been facing the beginning of the Mass of the Virgin.
The decoration in all four margins of the manuscript Hours consists of ink sprays, gold discs and triangular petals, painted and gold foliage, flowers and animals, and single figures of men (prophets?), women and angels, some of them emerging from flowers or gold cloud-banks and most shown in acclamation or prayer. The present leaf with a full-page miniature has similar decoration in all four margins, but with a half-length figure of a praying man in the outer margin and a figure of an angel playing the lute in the lower margin.
Ref. Books of Hours. Livres d’Heures. Catalogue 9 (Paris, Les Enluminures, 2000), pp. 130-133 nr. 26 (Book of Hours, Delft, ca. 1480-1490). - J.H. Marrow on Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Ms. 25, in The Cambridge Illuminations. Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West, ed. Paul Binski & Stella Panayotova (London-Turnhout, Harvey Miller, 2005), pp. 210-211 (nr. 93).
Prov. Little is known of the post-medieval provenance of the original Book of Hours, presently in a European private collection.
We thank Professor James H. Marrow for help in preparing this entry.
€ 10.000 / 15.000Live bidding