Master of Adélaïde of Savoy (flc1450-1470)

Starting price
£ 12 000
Auction dateClassic
09.12.2020 00:00UTC +01:00
Event location
United Kingdom, London
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ID 470111
Lot 29 | Master of Adélaïde of Savoy (flc1450-1470)
Master of Adélaïde of Savoy (fl.c.1450-1470)

Pietà, Poitiers or Nantes, c.1460

PIETÀ, miniature from a Book of Hours, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Poitiers or Nantes, c.1460]

An exquisite rendering of the Pietà – remarkable for the delicacy of its execution and affecting quality – on a minute scale by the Master of Adélaïde of Savoy (fl. c.1450–c.1470), also known as the Master of MS. Poitiers 30, an artist noted for his originality among other illuminators during a golden age of French manuscript illumination.

58 x 43mm. 6 lines of text visible on verso (some surface soiling to the white robes of the angels). Mounted. Provenance: (1) Dr H.F. Jossi-Debrunner (1922-1986). (2) Sotheby's, 26 November 1985, lot 5 (part), sold to Maggs. (3) Sotheby’s, 4 December 2007, lot 30.

Illumination: The finely-balanced composition and mastery of colour displayed in the present miniature are a testament to the skill of an artist known alternately as the Master of Adélaïde of Savoy – after a Book of Hours in Chantilly (Mus. Condé, ms. 1362) later owned by the Duchess of Burgundy (1685-1712) – and the Master of MS. Poitiers 30 – after a missal in the Bibliothèque municipale of Poitiers – who appears to have worked in Poitiers then Nantes, before moving to Paris. Avril and Renaud describe him as ‘one of the most original of the constellation of illuminators who flourished in the west of France at the time of Fouquet’ (for discussion, see Les Manuscrits à Peintures en France 1440-1520, 1994, pp. 123-6); he collaborated with other artists of the Master of the Jouvenel des Ursins group, from whose milieu emerged the celebrated painter and illuminator Jean Fouquet, favourite of the French court.

Our miniature was sold at Sotheby's in 1985 (26 November, lot 5) alongside another depicting the Coronation of the Virgin: on the basis of their dimensions and the style of the illumination, Christopher de Hamel suggests that these miniatures come from the same Book of Hours as a series of nine leaves and cuttings held at the Morgan Library (MS M.1067). The Morgan miniatures, in turn, have been identified by Eberhard Ko¨nig as having been cut from a Book of Hours now in Florence (Bibl. Naz., B.R. 332). The composition of our Pietà reappears in a Book of Hours attributed to the Master of Adélaïde of Savoy sold at Sotheby’s, 13 July 1977, lot 72.

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