Dreweatts Bloomsbury offers Western Manuscripts & Miniatures on July 8th
- by Bruce E. McKinney
Dr. Timothy Bolton, late of Sotheby’s and now head of Western Manuscripts & Miniatures at Dreweatts Bloomsbury is conducting his first sale since joining the firm. It is an auspicious beginning. The sale illustrates the history, writing and illuminating of books. Such material has always been extremely rare.
Such a specific and narrow category has always appealed to great collectors.
Bloomsbury’s news release explains the sale:
LONDON, Dover Street – With Dr. Timothy Bolton at the helm, the inaugural Western Manuscripts & Miniatures sale at Bloomsbury Auctions on Wednesday 8th July is a journey through the history of writing and illuminating books in exactly 100 lots. The auction, which spans four millennia and a vast swathe of human experience, will be held at Ely House, 37 Dover Street.
Dr Timothy Bolton, Head of Western Manuscripts & Miniatures said; “We want to bring the ownership of these beautiful and fascinating objects to new buyers as well as the traditional collectors. It is my belief that no private library can call itself complete without a medieval book on its shelves and no home fully furnished without at least one illuminated miniature on its walls.”
Dr Bolton has been a leading figure in the field of medieval manuscripts for nearly a decade and this, his first sale with Bloomsbury Auctions since leaving Sotheby’s, is filled with exceptional works from this specialist area, including a sixth-century fragment of the oldest surviving copy of St. Augustine's writings on the Gospel of John, and a riotously illuminated fourteenth-century prayerbook with boar-hunts, rabbits, dogs and even a kitten dressed as a scholar reading a book in its borders.
In addition, there is a fine cuneiform barrel, made around 1785 BC and listing the glorious achievements of King Sin-Iddinam of Larsak; a ninth-century witness to an otherwise lost Old Testament codex (with parts of Isaiah); an eleventh-century relic list from Merseburg Cathedral; a portable Gradual of the first half of the thirteenth century still in its contemporary binding over seven centuries after it was written; an extremely rare sixteenth-century polyphonic music fragment; and a German language astronomical-medical text with charming miniatures illustrating the zodiac and astronomy on every page.
The auction is accessible to buyers at all price points with both grand and opulent medieval books and miniatures, as well as numerous affordable examples of medieval cuttings and documents, including an entire section of medieval vernaculars (including French, Spanish, Low German, Middle English and Bohemian Czech) each available for a few hundred to a few thousand pounds.
Western Manuscripts & Miniatures
Wednesday 8th July, 10am
37 Dover Street
Saturday 4th July 11am-4pm
Sunday 5th July 11am-4pm
Monday 6th July 9.30am-6pm
Tuesday 7th July 9.30am - 6pm
Day of sale from 9.30am