Les Enluminures to Show Illuminated Manuscripts at Masterpiece London

PARIS—Les Enluminures of Paris, New York and Chicago will be showing a number of important Medieval manuscripts and illuminations at MASTERPIECE LONDON at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, between June 26th and July 3rd.

Dr. Sandra Hindman, owner and founder of the 22-year-old LES ENLUMINURES gallery, specialists in Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, texts and finger rings, says, “Masterpiece London has in just four years become the ‘must see’ event for antiques and art connoisseurs and the people who advise them. Its genius is in mixing museum-quality antiques and fine and decorative art with luxury brands whose cache attracts affluent buyers across several generations and from countries near and far.

“We’ve met important collectors at Masterpiece each year and seen top level representatives of the major museums walking through the show with their patrons.  It’s an ideal way to spend a day in London and it has allowed us to meet new collectors who might never attend an ‘art only’ event elsewhere in Europe or in the United States.  Masterpiece London is also a fun place to be with appealing restaurants and bars juxtaposed with enticing exhibitions and displays of the most important new luxury goods, art and antiques entering the market.”

At the 2013 edition of Masterpiece London LES ENLUMINURES we feature an important and beautiful manuscript with four large, highly inventive miniatures by the young Jean Bourdichon and twelve by his early colleague known as the Master of the Munich Boccaccio. 

“The Du Pou-Veauce Book of Hours (use of Poitiers and Paris) dates to Tours, France c1475-80.  This well-known document bears an illustrious provenance, as it was likely commissioned by the nobleman Francois du Pou, secretary of the Duke of Brittany.

“In the past, it has been attributed variously to these two artists or to the main illuminator of the Bourbon-Vendôme Hours, as it is clear that the miniatures are of the highest artistic importance, forming a valuable link between the art of Fouquet and that of his successors. “

Comprised of 234 leaves, plus a medieval flyleaf, and measuring 110 x 76mm, the Du Pou-Veauce Book of Hours has a calendar in red and blue with burnished gold capitals. It is bound in 19th-century vellum over pasteboards gilt, with gilt edges, in a white cloth slipcase and box made for Major Abbey. 

Dr. Hindman says, “The unprecedented levels of detail in the large miniatures points to their being created in an extraordinary context.  Perhaps they were they chef-d’oeuvre if the young Bourdichon, created to prove his worthiness of independent practice by his presumed supervisor, the so-called master of the Munich Boccaccio.”  

Devoid of any heraldry or other personalizing elements from the fifteenth century, the present manuscript was certainly owned by, and probably made for, François du Pou (d'argent au lion de sable armé, lampassé et couronné d’or), who is recorded already in 1481 as ducal secretary for Duke Francis II of Brittany.  By a lettre-patente of November 4, 1492, Emperor Maximilian I awarded François du Pou, seigneur of the Manor of Kernivinen, near Hennebont (in Finistere), the “noble chevalier de Tournois du Saint-Empire-Romain.”  François was married to Jeanne du Pou, dame de Coettro, Kernivinen and Kercaer.  He made a donation of considerable artistic interest, a large painting for the altar, to the Carmelite Convent of Hennebont in 1494.  Seeking artists of high quality, the Du Pou family probably turned to the nearby Touraine for the execution of their Book of Hours.  Both the Du Pou Manor (in Lignol) and the Kergal Manon (in Brandivy) still exist in Brittany.”

A second attraction at the Les Enluminures stand at Masterpiece London is an illustrated manuscript on vellum from Eastern France, Savoy or Northwest Italy dating to 1450 and called the Pseudo-Joachim of Fiore Vaticinia Pontificum.

Dr. Hindman says, “This volume was perhaps made for Louis I, Duke of Savoy (reigned 1440-65) or a member of his circle.  His father Amadeus VIII was elected Antipope Felix V (1439-49) and the volume shows a marked interest in antipopes.  While the style of its drawing is markedly Italianate its script appears French, and, as French poems were added in the late 16th century, it appears to have survived in France.

“The Pseudo-Joachim of Fiore Vaticinia Pontificum is made from a combination of two separate sequences of prophecies.  It opens with a Latin version of the 12th century Byzantine prophecies known as the Ocacles of Leo the Wise, falsely ascribed to the Calabrian mystic Joachim of Fiore (c1130-1202) followed by the prophecy collection known as the Ascende Calve composed in the mid-14th century and attributed to the mythical bishop Anselm of Marisco.  The two texts were united during the pontificate of the Franciscan spirituals.  Approximately 50 manuscripts were recorded with startling predictions and disturbing images, making them controversial and scandalous in the Middle Ages and perhaps for that reason making them extremely popular.  There are 30 illuminated folios of detailed pen drawings with coloured wash.”

A third stand-out at the Les Enluminures stand is a heavy gold Signet Ring dating to 1440.  Dr. Hindman says, “Signet rings have a long history in the west.  In the Middle Ages signet rings were designed with recognizable devices and heraldry, and were used to seal documents, to verify receipt, as identification, and as a sign of status. Signets are often thick and heavy because they were used daily.  Our fine crafted ring is both thick and heavy with 23.3 grams of gold, a round bezel with intaglio device and an inscription that reads: “VU DEDE,” Anglo-Saxon for “vow of deed” or “death vow,” a sign of fealty.  A round face lion is engraved in the center of the bezel. The ring is in excellent condition.

“This signet ring displays lovely artistry with the lion’s three dimensionality contributing to its expressive mien:  tuffs of hair seem to blow in a light wind and the animal has a roughly textured mane.  The goldsmith also played with mirroring forms with the lion’s head repeating the form of the bezel and the sinuous, echoed lines of the lion’s tail and back to create lively movement.  It is suggested that the motto, Vu Dede, descended from one of the Knights Marchers or Marcher Lords who occupied the border between Wales and England and were granted special privileges and status by William the Conqueror.  The British Museum has a large collection of unidentified signets which are comparable to this ring.”

Another important document being offered by Les Enluminures is one of seven known sheets from the Engraved Passion, and the only one remaining on the market.  The Entombment, by Albrecht Durer dates to 1512 and is hand-coloured.  The c1588 illumination by Georg Mack The Elder is printed.  The sheet is from a set of 16 sheets that are said to have been contained in a bound volume.  Each of the seven known sheets is mounted on parchment with similar marginal illumination and with text from a Prayerbook on their versos. 

According to Dr. Hindman, “Five of the sheets were in the collection of Samuel Josefowitz; three of these were exhibited in 2002-2003, and all five were sold at Christie’s, New York, 29 January, 2013, lots 37-41).  Of the Josefowitz leaves, the “Christ on Mount of Olives” is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; the “Christ Carrying the Cross” and the “Christ in Limbo” are in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge and The “Betrayal” is in a Private Collection in the US.  This is the only sheet that is known remaining on the market.  Two other sheets were known of which the location of one sold in Munich is unknown and the other is in the collection of the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin.  The volume was celebrated as a work of Dürer in an inscribed cartouche on the verso of the final sheet:  ‘The portrait of the artistic painter Albrecht Dürer and his wife who has made this art.’”

She adds, “In the late sixteenth century, over fifty years after the Dürer’s death, there was a renewed interest in the artist and his work -- a period subsequently known as the ‘Dürer Renaissance.’  As the supply of paintings and drawings was necessarily limited demand was partially satisfied by the creation of hand-colored engravings and woodcuts, approximating the appearance of painted miniatures.  In the first half of the sixteenth century there were two distinct professional groups; the Illuministen, painters of miniatures and illuminated manuscripts and the Briefmaler, literally “letter painters” who created coats of arms, playing cards, and other illustrated documents. However, due to the rise of the printed book, the demand for illuminated manuscripts diminished, and the two professions -- although still termed separately -- gradually began to merge.

“The Mack family -- Hans, Georg the Elder, and Georg the Younger -- were among the most active and important Illuministen and Briefmaler in Nuremberg in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Their creations were much in demand, and a 1581 Nuremburg Court record gives some idea just how sought after their work was:  ‘Georg Mack (the Elder), Illuminist, because of his disobedience and delayed completion of a piece of artwork belonging to the Prince-Elector of the Palatine is to be taken to a tower, the work brought to him and completed there, and when it is done, interrogate him.’ That such an important patron thought it worthwhile to pursue Mack through the courts gives some idea as to the magnitude of his reputation.

“Our sheet is composed of an engraving, extensively illuminated with transparent washes and body color, heightened with gold and silver, mounted to a sheet of parchment with illuminated floral borders.  It is initialed GM in gilt, the vellum border recto decorated with a scroll of red lilies, an owl, a beetle, two snakes and a rabbit, verso with a German manuscript text in brown ink in a Fraktur script and gilt relating to the Suffering of Christ, the border decorated with an oak scroll and lilies of the valley above, a dragonfly, a squirrel, a bird’s nest, a fox, a hound, a hoopoe and a green woodpecker, in very good condition. 

Les Enluminures is well known to both private collectors and museum officials for its museum quality Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, finger rings and art.  Hindman divides her time between the New York and Paris galleries and offices in Chicago.

Les Enluminures has been featured at major art fairs in London, Paris, New York, Florence, San Francisco and Maastricht. Since opening in Paris in 1991, Hindman has numbered among her clients major museums including the Musee du Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the British Library and  J. Paul Getty Museum, as well as distinguished private collectors.




June 27 - July 3 2013



South Grounds, The Royal Hospital Chelsea

Chelsea Embankment, London SW3




Les Enluminures - Paris

1 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau

75001 Paris

Tel +33 (1) 33 1 42 60 15 58


Les Enluminures - New York

23 East 73 Street 7th floor

Tel 212 717 7273




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