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Illuminated Manuscripts

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Illuminated Manuscripts

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1 Albert, Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, Prinzgemahl der Königen von England.
Hübel & Denck, bookbinder Full Calf Very Good 
Extraordinarily beautiful illuminated manuscript created in honor of Prince Albert for his Grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II, we believe, and bearing the bookplate of the Kaiser's private library. And with an opulent binding worthy of a king, done by Hübel & Denck of Leipzig! Circa 1880. Folio, 36 by 31 cm. 16 leaves of extremely heavy card, with illumination on 31 pages, including the title page. Weight: over 13 pounds! The title page of the manuscript is fully painted, with two allegorical figures holding laurels standing by the title. The backdrop is a theater stage, with addtional tracery decoration and two armorial shields. Following comes a hagiographic account of Albert's life, with a rich variety of illuminated decoration dominating virtually every page. Everything is written with a calligraphic hand, with the headings done differently on each page. The illuminator strove not to repeat himself, yet everything coheres stylistically. Of all the effects, we especially like the several examples of trompe d'oeil -- on one page, a scroll is attached to what appears to be a marble wall. We also would single out the decorative letter devices as very lovely. The manuscript, although filled with dates marking milestones of Prince Albert's life, is not itself dated. At the time of Albert's death, Wilhelm was an infant, and so if the production were a gift to Wilhelm, or alternatively a commission by him, it would have been done at least a decade later, plus our sense of the object in terms of its binding and overall style would place its creation in the 1870s, or even slightly later. It is plausible that the album would have been created for Wilhelm's mother, Victoria, who was Queen Victoria's daughter, but given Wilhelm's fetish adoration of England (or love-hate relationship he had with his English heritage), we would regard it as likelier that Wilhelm was the original owner of the album. Hübel & Denck, the bookbinder, opened for business in 1875, so we can assume the book was created after that date, especially since it seems doubtful the manuscript was ever separate from the binding. The binding is one-of-a-kind. A centerpiece on the front board's blue calf is a brass mounted crown with dotted relief to suggest jewels and a velvet underlay, together simulating convincingly a royal crown. Beneath the crown is "ALBERT" written with brass mounted letters shaped in a Rococo style. The perimeter, which is raised, has several decorative gilt bands. The spine has seven raised bands, with elaborate gilt tracery decorating the compartments. Within are fleur-de-lys turn-ins surrounding the slk moire "endpapers", these having ornate gilt-decorated borders. The edges of the cards are all gilded. Condition: rubbing along edges and by corners. Front edge perimeter slightly greened and soiled. The spine decoration, which is original is mounted onto the leather -- is darkened, with wear along its thick-ish edges. We are not completely sure whether the spine and rear cover are later than the front cover, with the original spine pasted on. We would note that the endpapers in the rear are identical to those in the front, but the rear lacks the turn-ins. Closed tear to prelim blank. Light foxing on the tissue guards and occasionally the manuscripts pages. 
Price: 5000.00 USD
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2 Book of Hours, Use of Rome
Beautiful near-miniature 15th Century Book of Hours. 10.5 by 8.5 cm. 96 leaves. Illuminated Latin manuscript on parchment. 15th Century. Small format. Illustrated with twelve full page painted miniatures, and many full border painted decoration -- floral and vine designs, raised and gilt gesso-grounded accents. 96 lines per page 
Price: 30000.00 USD
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Victorian Album of Illuminated Leaves
3 Victorian Album of Illuminated Leaves
Full Morocco Near Fine 
N.d., circa late 19th century. Small folio-sized. 33.5 by 26 cm. With twelve leaves, each framed by heavy card and windows allowing for the viewing of both the verso and recto of the leaves. In all but two instances, the illuminated leaves are decorated on both sides, with a total of 22 pages with illumination of some kind. Twelve of the pages are of illuminated pages of text, as typify Medieval monastic workmanship. Most of the other pages are of coats-of-arms. The texts are in a Medieval French, or a Norman French that became the court language of England after the Norman conquest, and it would appear that the unifying element of all the pages, other than an exquisite beauty, is genealogical. In all probability the texts were either copied or closely derived from texts accessible to the artist. The front board leather has a square shadow over much of its surface where another book must have once sat for a long time. Rubbing along the joints and edges. Light scattered soiling of the illuminated leaves. The leaves remain very bright. 
Price: 3500.00 USD
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4 Wyirhen Buchlein auf dem Kreuz Weeg unsers Heilands Jesu Christi in Virzehen Betrachung abgetheit.
Bavaria Full Calf Very Good 
A folk rococo manuscript rendering of "The Fourteen Stations of the Cross". N.d., circa early to mid-18th century. 12mo. 15.5 by 10 cm. Unpaginated, 37 leaves, almost all with beautiful traditional painted folk art ornamentation -- peasant Rococo, if you will. Also several other pages with original art, two with armorial art, a third, and a highlight of the whole manuscript, a highly unusual rendering of baby Jesus, and finally a decorative title page. Each of the stations is presented first with a copper engraved print, followed by one leaf, or two pages, of original manuscript describing the incident and its significance. The text is written in what is now an inscrutable German cursive, but the headings are in a calligraphic Fraktur, and as noted, everything is framed by decorative Rococo flourishes. A final text leaf, two pages, is written in a far more legible and decorative Gothic, and much of its second page is taken up with yet another, different, coat-of-arms. On a blank is written in pencil a name in an opaque Sutterlin Schrift. We can decipher the first name as "Josef" but the long surname we are not certain of. We assume this is the name of a subsequent owner, and not the artist who produced the book. The frontis Baby Jesus is robed in actual fabric, and this has borders of raised paper. But even more extraordinary is the the border tracery, the rays of light emanating from Jesus' head, and the podest, or pedestal, at the base. On the flat page the ornamentation is subdued, pleasant but not eye-catching. But if one looks closely, one discerns that it is entirely created by the punching of minute holes through the paper. If one holds the leaf up to the light, suddenly an ethereal intricacy emerges. The design is visible from the other side of the leaf, where its loose outline is traced in pencil -- the tool in laying out the design. The three coat-of-arms are each different. The first of three features a man on top holding two sickles. The sickle is repeated four times within the escutcheon below. At the base one finds lettering, which while very legible, is ambiguous because it is not known whether letters are partially and artfully superimposed. The second has two dice among the decorative tools that serve as the other symbols! The third has two birds above, two within, the escutcheon. Below are the initials here entirely clear: P.C.F., but their significance is probably unknowable. While the subject matter is among the most central to the Christian faith, the book itself is an object of beauty that can be appreciated for its folk artwork independent of its pietistic content, although one should not minimize the centrality of religion in inspiring such an effort. All edges gilt. Leather heavily worn and darkened, with large losses on the spine, and dryness generally. One can still evince the decorative tooling on the boards, but there is no remains of gilt. Scattered soiling within but in general, the contents are bright and attractive. 
Price: 1450.00 USD
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[Illuminated Manuscript] The Order of the administration of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion
5 [Illuminated Manuscript] The Order of the administration of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion

4to. 24.5 by 19 cm. 172 pp. 20 full page illuminated decoration. 28 decorated capitals. Decorative letters and vignette illustrations throughout, although the decoration is concentrated near the front. While textually the manuscript is complete, the illuminator probably intended to carry forward his artistry but for whatever reason, didn't carry through fully with his objective. Still, the decoration that is contained herein is lushly beautiful and very well-executed. Birds of various sort were most definitely a favorite subject of the artist -- they abound in the margins. But other animals and human figures are just as precisely and elegantly done in the various vignettes where they appear. We would also note that this manuscript has a lovely relief binding, with a cross forming the centerpiece on the front cover, a kneeling woman with a cross on the rear, and elaborate rinceaux, beaded bands and vine florets forming the decoration around these centerpieces. The binding was the artistry of F. Leake & Co. of Regents Street. Condition: spine rebacked inconspicuously with a matching brown calf. 
Price: 3000.00 USD
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[Spanish Manuscript] Royal Grant of Arms
6 [Spanish Manuscript] Royal Grant of Arms
1760 Full Blindstamped Morocco Very Good 
Very beautiful Spanish Grant of Arms, with four full-page fetchingly naive paintings on vellum. These include one of a knight jousting, in addition to the the expected coat-of-arms, etc. Dated 1760, the manuscript bears the stamp of King Charles III. Folio, 32.5 by 22 cm. Three vellum leaves (one with painting on both sides), followed by 60 paginated leaves of paper, then 50 unpaginated leaves of paper. The unpaginated pages are given over to official correspondence, notarizations, and legal confirmation and the like. In addition to the full page paintings, there are two other pages with elaborate rococo watercolored decoration, plus occasional uses of red or green watercolor to mark a name or section break. These are less elaborate than might typically be associated with these Spanish patent illuminated manuscripts, in part, perhaps, because of the later date. But compensating for what might be seen as a lack in this area are the paintings, which definitely strike us as almost folk art, in the best sense of that descriptive rubric. This is undeniably a relative matter -- we are comparing this manuscript to others of the same purpose. The artwork brings to mind what is sometimes referred to as peasant Rococo. Surely this level of artistry would almost seem paradoxical to the august function of the particular document, and therein resides its especial charm and singularity. The vellum leaves are separated by yellow silk tissue guards. Also containing a family tree. The writing is throughout, and especially in the primary document, a very neat cursive calligraphy. Throughout there are tiny inconspicuous holes, and sometimes straight lines at the base of the leaves, where the writing instrument or ink has bore through the paper. Nonetheless the written document remains handsome and thoroughly legible. Light wear to the binding. 
Price: 4750.00 USD
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A Modern Briton, Anonymous artist.  Poem by Harold Begbie
7 Anonymous artist. Poem by Harold Begbie A Modern Briton
1919 Cloth Very Good 
Patriotic World War One poem, "The Man who Keeps his Head", illuminated with exquisite vignettes. Oblong, 24.5 by 31 cm. With eight plates, including title page, plus painted vignette on final leaf. These vignette watercolors, four to eight per page, depict the diversity of British experience, whether its variety of industry, its trades, its modes of farming, its ships, etc. The effect is panoramic and epic, a visual equivalent to Noel Coward's sweep in "Cavalcade", say. Framing it all are Art Nouveau devices and ornament, very much true to the period. The book was easily of publishable quality, and its creation demonstrates that a strain of patriotism and optimism somehow withstood the bitterness and cynicism engendered by the war. Tissue guards with creases, and one with tear. Binding bowed. Other light wear. 
Price: 3500.00 USD
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Illuminated Manuscript, Baird, Edith Elina Helen (1859 - 1924)
8 Baird, Edith Elina Helen (1859 - 1924) Illuminated Manuscript
1881 Full Morocco Fine 
A richly illuminated Victorian manuscript notable for its great variety of ornamentation and done by a woman famous in her day. 4to. 28 by 24 cm. 59 leaves of heavy card, each with illumination. The illluminator, Edith Baird, was the "Queen of Chess" in her day. She wrote several books on chess problems, most notably, "Seven Hundred Chess Problems", Henry Sotheran, 1902, "The Twentieth Century Retractor", also Henry Sotheran, 1907. She was the daughter of a poet, Thomas Winter-Wood, who wrote under the name of "Vanguard" and who also was a chess master, as were two of Edith's brothers. The verse contained in this album do not bear titles. Edith Baird may have written some or all of the poems, but nothing definite can be said about their authorship. In addition to English, some verse is in German and French. While there are references to heaven and God, the poems are more spiritual than religious. Several of the leaves are illustrated with no poetry at all. While Ms. Baird's chess expertise might not seem germane to the book at hand, one can not help but note that the same meticulous thought with which she attacked the thorny challenges of the game she applied to her artwork, with its precise attentiion to detail. She also exhibits real originality in her painting. While drawing inspiration from Gothic, Celtic, the Medieval, Renaissance and Arabic ornamentation, she fused these influences in imaginative ways, and she managed to steer clear of repeating herself, notwithstanding the heft of the album she created. Other than a missing brass piece for the clasp to latch onto on the front board, this album is wonderfully well-preserved. 
Price: 6500.00 USD
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9 Bell, Charles Dent. Illuminated by Blanche de Montmorency Conyers Morrell. The Four Seasons at the Lakes
London and Belfast Marcus Ward & Co. First Edition Decorated and Blindstamped Cloth Very Good Plus 
4to. 29.5 by 24.5 cm. N.d., circa 1878. Seventeen plates, including title and "Finis" page, featuring chromolithographed decoration and pictorial vignettes and Gothic Fraktur lettering of the verse. Designed as a pretty, comparatively inexpensive chromolithographed "illuminated manuscript". The decoration is a wide mix of typical Medieval ornament, flowers, butterflies, foliage, geometrics, with the vignettes being pretty views of mountains and lakes, as promised by the title. Minor fraying along the front joint, and other light to moderate wear of the decorated cloth. The cards have a slight bend to them but are clean and bright. 
Price: 175.00 USD
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Le Moyen Age, Callendier, M.
10 Callendier, M. Le Moyen Age
Cloth Fine 
N.d., circa late 1800s. Folio-sized. 38 by 31 cm. Unpaginated, [36] pp., including title. With stunning borders, mostly in the Medieval style, often illuminated, plus two watercolors of castles, and mounted illuminated leaf of vellum for title, and a mounted vellum leaf painting of a troubadour. This manuscript or homemade book was quite possibly the creation of a French student, who in the text described, always in a calligraphic quality cursive, chivalry, Medieval commerce, literature, education, heraldry, armaments, architecture, guilds, music and policing, the Inquisition, and hunting. The synopses are well-done for what they are, but it is the visual dimension that makes this manuscript a treasure. The pages are heavy card. The initials on the front board are M.T. (Callendier might be Tallendier). On the rear board is a gilt insignia for a school, partially rubbed out. 
Price: 1850.00 USD
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Chroniques Francoises de Jacques Gondar Clerc.  Publiee par F. Michel.  Suivie de Recherches sur le Style par Charles Nodier., Clerc, Jacques Gondar. F.[rancisque] Michel.  Charles Nodier.
11 Clerc, Jacques Gondar. F.[rancisque] Michel. Charles Nodier. Chroniques Francoises de Jacques Gondar Clerc. Publiee par F. Michel. Suivie de Recherches sur le Style par Charles Nodier.
Paris Louis Janet 1830 First Edition Velvet on Boards. Full Morocco Slipcase Near Fine 
12mo. 16.5 by 10.5 cm. clvii, 44, [1] pp. With five hand-colored and illuminated plates, including title, plus illuminated devices and decoration elsewhere. While the plates are printed, the coloring and illumination is such that it is a fine simularcrum of manuscript illumination. This work is in fact a literary hoax, simulating a Medieval Romance but in fact penned by Michel and promoted by the extensive notes and annotations that follow the chronicles. The leaves are a light vellum, and this edition was issued with luxuriant, unusual bindings such as the navy blue velvet of this one. 
Price: 2500.00 USD
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12 Clerc, Jacques Gondar. F.[rancisque] Michel. Charles Nodier. Chroniques Francoises de Jacques Gondar Clerc. Publiee par F. Michel. Suivie de Recherches sur le Style par Charles Nodier.
Paris Louis Janet 1830 First Edition Cloth. Full Straight-Grained Morocco Slipcase Near Fine 
12mo. 16.5 by 10.5 cm. clvii, 44, [1] pp. With five hand-colored and illuminated plates, including title, plus illuminated devices and decoration elsewhere. While the plates are printed, the coloring and illumination is such that it is a fine simularcrum of manuscript illumination. This work is in fact a literary hoax, simulating a Medieval Romance but in fact penned by Michel and promoted by the extensive notes and annotations that follow the chronicles. The leaves are a light vellum, and this copy has a resplendent decorative green cloth relief with a rich gilt background that is quite distinctive. Pink moire endpapers. Lovely gilt decoration, including border, on the straight-grained morocco slipcase. A few light fox marks, but essentially clean and mostly pristine. Minor rubbing of the gilt on the spine, and other trivial manifestations of wear. 
Price: 1850.00 USD
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13 Csapodi, Casba and Klara Csapodi-Garonyi; translated by Zsuzsanna Horn; translation revised by Bertha Gaster; design by Tibor Szanto Bibliotheca Corviniana: The Library of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary
Budapest Corvina Kiado, Magyar Helikon, Kner Printing House 1981 Second, revised edition Cloth Near Fine Fine Jacket 
Lavish survey of the holdings of the preeminent collection of illuminated manuscripts. 334 pp. With 114 color plates, all 33 by 23 cm. Crack in hinge by first text page. Otherwise very clean and bright. 
Price: 75.00 USD
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You & Me "Toi et Moi", Geraldy, Paul (1885-1983).  A free translation by Alice Herbert.  Marian Marsh, calligrapher and illuminator.
14 Geraldy, Paul (1885-1983). A free translation by Alice Herbert. Marian Marsh, calligrapher and illuminator. You & Me "Toi et Moi"
1941 Full Morocco Near Fine 
A stylish twentieth century version of the illuminated manuscript, which honors the tradition while not slavishly hewing to its Medieval ornamentation. 8vo. 17.5 by 11.5 cm. Unpaginated, 64 pp. Rendered on vellum leaves. Contains 31 poems, translated from the French, by Paul Geraldy. The beautiful calligraphy is rendered primarily in black, with red used for most titles and gilt reserved for the most salient titles. Most extraordinary, though, are the many vignette illustrations and ornaments of birds, butterflies, seraphs, flowers, stars, masks and shells. These are integrated seamlessly with the text. They somehow manage to exhude a charisma without a wisp of vulgarity, and their effect is bound to be sheer intoxication. The anthology of naive, or deliberately simple, poems, "Toi et Moi" first appeared in 1912. Dedicated to Lisbet Marx, who was the original owner of the manuscript and might have commissioned it. Minor rubbing to the spine bands. Clean, bright and tight otherwise. 
Price: 2600.00 USD
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15 Henry Jeffreys Bushby. Illustrated by Lady Frances Bushby Easie Rules on Earlie Rising by a late Philosopher
London Day & Son Limited 1866 First Edition Decorated Cloth Very Good 
Seven heavy card leaves, with bright chromos and/or text only on the recto. Five of the pages, including title, with brilliant illumination, and particularly winsom are the illustrations of a cock crowing and of a donkey. The verse is written in a mock Old English. Scarce, with only six copies listed as institutional holders on OCLC. Light foxing in the margins and on the blank versos. Light corner wear to the decorated cloth. 
Price: 400.00 USD
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Roman de la Violette, ou de Gerard de Nevers, En Vers, du XIIIe Siecle, Par Gibert de Montreuil; Publie, pour la premiere fois, d'apres deux manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Royale, par Francisque Michel, Montreuil, Gibert.  Edited by Francisque Michel
16 Montreuil, Gibert. Edited by Francisque Michel Roman de la Violette, ou de Gerard de Nevers, En Vers, du XIIIe Siecle, Par Gibert de Montreuil; Publie, pour la premiere fois, d'apres deux manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Royale, par Francisque Michel
Paris Chez Silvestre 1834 First Limited Edition Thus Full Calf, with Blindstamping, Gilt Decoration, et Fine 
Eight spectacular hand-colored and illuminated plates on vellum. No. 20 of a limited edition of 200 total, and one of 15 copies on Hollande paper. 8vo. 22.5 by 15 cm, 9 by 6 inches. lxiv, [4 leaves], 334, [2] pp. Each of the plates is accompanied by a plain black and white lithographic version. The hand-colored versions easily pass for actual illuminated paintings, and indeed, the hand-colorist did not merely fill in color but also made some subtle changes to the illustration so that the hand-colored version does not match exactly the black and white one. The illumination on the vellum is of an uncommon precision and beauty so as to read as tantamount to manuscript, and the work is unquestionably superior to what one would find in the better works of Henry Shaw, who contemporaneously was producing important books on the topic of illuminated manuscripts. The "Roman de la Violette" is based on the same story as Shakespeare's "Cymbeline". The binding of this copy is an exquisite example of French blindstamped leather of the period, with Greek-style ornament in the large centerpiece of the boards and a Gothic ornamental diaper impressed onto the spine, which also has raised bands. The binding has a few dings and tiny pinprick losses, and the joints have a slight goopiness of a earlier restoration, but the binding still comes off as very handsome. The volume itself fits into a custom slipcase with leather fringe and a wide ribbon pull. This copy had once belonged to the Ermitage in St. Petersburg. 
Price: 4000.00 USD
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