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HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL AND BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR
THE ROTHSCHILD PRAYERBOOK
The centerpiece of Christie’s Renaissance sale during Old Masters Week in January 2014 will be “The Rothschild Prayerbook,” a magnificent masterpiece of Renaissance art with an illustrious provenance. Returning to the global stage after setting the world auction record for illuminated manuscripts nearly 15 years ago at Christie’s London, the prayerbook contains lavish and extensive illustrations by the most renowned illuminators of their day, including miniatures of unsurpassed beauty and refined execution. Perhaps the finest illuminated manuscript in private hands, it is expected to inspire fierce competition, with an estimate of $12,000,000-$18,000,000. It has been on a world exhibition tour to Moscow, Hong Kong and London and will be offered for sale at Christie’s Rockefeller Center saleroom on January 29, 2014.
As described by Wikipedia:
It contains the work of several leading miniaturists of the final flowering of the Ghent–Bruges school of Flemish illumination, who also co-operated on the Grimani Breviary, the Spinola Hours (Malibu) and other major manuscripts of these years. Most of the sixty-seven large miniatures are by the “Master of the First Prayerbook of Maximilian”, an older artist, and Gerard Horenbout or the Master of James IV of Scotland (these being two names probably for the same artist).Other miniatures are by Gerard David, better known as a panel painter, or a pupil working in his style, with two miniatures by Simon Bening, and other work by further masters.
There are wide borders, many with flowers and other objects and drolleries, and another group with trompe l’oeil imitations of bronzes. Other borders frame the miniature with illusionisticly painted wooden tracery. Some pages follow the fashion of showing one scene as a framed inset within another larger one, In total 140 pages, over half of the whole book, have significant decoration outside the text. The calendar has scenes of the Labours of the Months at the bottom of the pages. As with other very lavishly illuminated manuscripts, it was probably worked on over a long period.