Les Enluminures and Daniel Crouch Rare Books Team up at Masterpiece London 2018
Daniel Crouch Rare Books (DCRB) is teaming up with Les Enluminures for their stand at Masterpiece this summer. Taking inspiration from the recent exhibition on medieval time at the Morgan Library, their joint display will explore methods of marking and keeping time throughout history.
The exhibition begins with telling the time: with a Book of Hours from Les Enluminures, which takes its name from the prayers recited eight times a day, marking the hours of devotion. DCRB will show a sixteenth century calendar that allows the user to mark the length of a day, the days of the month, and the zodiac.
Trying to fix events in history was a powerful motive for marking time. DCRB’s work by Petrus Apianus contains lavish paper instruments, enabling the reader to trace historical astronomical phenomena, like the eclipse that supposedly happened during the Crucifixion. Les Enluminures’ illuminated manuscript roll covering the history of the genealogy of Christ, the only recorded pre-1300 roll in private hands, aims to present the Bible as a narrative describing real people by juxtaposing sacred and secular events.
Another astronomical work from DCRB, by Andreas Cellarius, shows the planetary and zodiac systems of different cultures, and the different methods by which eternity was understood. A second Book of Hours from Les Enluminures contains wonderfully decorated miniatures of sacred scenes, including the Last Judgement, encouraging the reader to reflect on the eternity of sacred time.
But although time might be eternal, life is not, as Les Enluminures’ memento mori skull pendant reminds the viewer. Containing the relics of three saints, it would have prompted the owner to greater piety in anticipation of the afterlife. DCRB’s globe of Mars by Emmy Ingeborg Brun shows a different approach: Brun believed Mars could be repurposed as a socialist utopia when mankind’s time on earth ran out.