News | September 10, 2014

Dr. Christopher de Hamel Becomes Senior Vice-President at Les Enluminures

Les Enluminures is delighted to announce that Dr. Christopher de Hamel is joining the company as Senior Vice-President, effective September 10, 2014. Dr. de Hamel is perhaps the best-known name in medieval manuscripts in the world. He has written multiple books on manuscripts and book collecting, translated into at least seven languages, and he has lectured in every continent (except the Antarctic), including at very many of the greatest libraries and museums.

Dr. de Hamel brings to his new position nearly forty years of experience in the art market of medieval manuscripts. From 1975 for twenty-five years, he worked exclusively for Sotheby’s in the Department of Western Manuscripts. He remained a Consultant for Sotheby’s for the last 15 years. Under his leadership, Sotheby’s conducted some of the most high-profile sales the manuscript community has witnessed: Thomas Phillips, Abbey, Carter Brown, Henry the Lion, Donaueschingen, Burckhardt-Wildt, the Marquess of Bute, Lord Astor, Beck, and many, many others. The sale by private treaty of the Sherborne Missal to the British Library, engineered by Dr. de Hamel, may well count as the most expensive book ever sold. For five years, from its sale in 1983, the Gospels of Henry the Lion enjoyed the status of the most expensive work of art every sold.

The academic credentials of Dr. de Hamel are every bit as impressive as his commercial ones. He holds four doctorates, from both Oxford and Cambridge (no less) and two honorary D. Litts. He is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a member of the Roxburghe Club, on the Comité international de Paléographie latine, a member of the Athenaeum, on the council of the Association internationale de Bibliophilie, and Chairman for 15 years of the Association for Manuscripts and Archives in Research Collections. He has been Visiting Fellow at All Souls College in Oxford. By invitation, he has delivered the prestigious Delisle, Sandars, Lyell, and (this year) the Panizzi Lectures. At present, he is the Librarian of the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, a world-renowned library founded in 1574.

In this new position, Dr. de Hamel will act as business-getter for Les Enluminures, among many other diverse roles. He will liaison with private and institutional clients worldwide, giving advice and support in selling and buying manuscripts. In addition, he will help supervise the cataloguing team and participate in the company’s active publishing program.

Established in 1991, Les Enluminures is now based in Paris, New York, and Chicago. Its CEO and President is Sandra Hindman, Professor Emerita of Art History at Northwestern University and author herself of numerous books on medieval manuscripts. Dr. Hindman says “We could not be more thrilled to have Christopher joining our team. I have known him for the last 40 years and have nothing but the highest esteem for him. The niche that medieval manuscripts occupies in today’s art market owes a great deal to the incomparable talents of Christopher, who has made manuscripts accessible, interesting, increasingly valuable - and just plain fun—to an ever-widening audience. I look forward with the greatest of pleasure to our association."