Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2008 Issue

Illuminated Manuscripts and Leaves from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller

Front cover of Windle catalogue, which opens to reveal CD inside.


By Michael Stillman

This month we received a "catalogue" that is truly a link from the paper to the digital world. It is called Catalogue 44 Illuminations from John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller. It is a smallish catalogue, but something quite unexpected happens when it is opened. On the left side is a pamphlet containing listings and small images of the various illuminated manuscripts and leaves offered. On the right side is a CD, and within its silvery bytes are large, high-resolution images of these works, the type of images required to truly do justice to what is offered. The pamphlet provides brief descriptions and small images, in effect an index. The CD contains the detailed descriptions and the large, clear images you need to fully appreciate what Windle has to offer. What's more, it enables Windle to provide dozens of images from these manuscripts, a quantity not practical to show in a printed catalogue.

Item 1 is a Book of Hours which had no choice but to be a manuscript, as it predates printing by half a century. This is actually a composite book, the first part dating from 1400-1410, but generously supplemented around 1480. As expected, the text is largely in Latin, though partly in French as well. However, it is the illumination that is spectacular, both in the images and initial letters and borders. The core illuminations were done in the very early years of the 15th century in Paris. The remainder appears likely to have been created in Poitiers at least two generations later. Priced at $375,000.

Item 3 is another very old manuscript Book of Hours, this one from the era of the first printing press, circa 1450-1470. The illumination was believed to have taken place in Bruges in the southern Netherlands (now Belgium). The decoration here appears to be in the style of Bruges' artist Willem Vrelant, though some of the leaves may have come from an earlier work. $145,000.

Item 7 is a Book of Hours that takes us to northern France, from the earliest days of the 16th century, 1500-1510. Again we have a manuscript that is richly and colorfully illuminated, and the French being the French, they have managed to find an excuse for including a nude woman in this religious text. If the artist had it right, Bathsheba, depicted bathing nude in a small pond, was every bit as lovely as David found her to be. $145,000.

Along with the complete manuscripts, Windle has numerous single leaves to offer. Item 11 is a particularly old one, circa 1150, from Italy. This large vellum folio page, text on both sides, includes 46 lines of text in black and red with three large initials. It was taken from a missal or lectionary. $3,750.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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