Hindman and Rowe 2001

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Hindman, Sandra and Nina Rowe, eds. Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age: Recovery and Reconstruction. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 2001.

"Curiosities": Appreciation of Manuscript Illumination in the Eighteenth Century

"Specimens": Treansformations of Illuminated Manuscripts in the Nineteenth Century (49-101)

1790s, 2 important events: French Revolution, which led to confiscation of cultural property from church, manuscripts end up in public/national libraries; Napoleon’s military led to confiscation of foreign cultural property across Europe (49-50)

“In the public domain, the holdings of libraries and museums swelled immeasurably. In the private domain, in more subtle, less easily measurable ways, the greater visibility of art the widespread perception of mutilation and fragmentation of public monuments and even whole libraries coupled with the implicit licence to uprising and violence must have altered attitudes toward manuscripts and even eventually facilitated their frag- mentation.” (50)

“Did French interest in illuminated manuscripts as spoils subsequently heighten an awareness of them as more than curiosities, or were the new attitudes developed in the course of the eighteenth century responsible for their changed reception?” 952)

Abata Luigi Celotti, “first-ever exclusive sale of single leaves and cuttings” in London at Christies, May 26 1825 (53) — William Young Ottley wrote the catalogue, “aimed at a picture-buying audience” (54) — some miniatures framed, sometimes in collages

“illumination was a new category of art in the nineteenth century. Earlier, the word had been used to indicate the coloring of maps and prints, with no systematic artistic connotations.” (54)

“Ottley's attempt to market illumination like monumental painting not only by attribution but by papal patronage, along the lines of the way the High Renaissance painters were grouped is significant. Little effort was made to interest bibliophiles in this sale; instead, the overwhelming focus was on attracting those who wanted specimens of the "Art of Painting."” (55)

“Prosperous dealers of Old Master paintings turned up at the Celotti sale and bought heavily.” (58)

Ottley also produced a series of facsimiles of Italian painters and sculptors, published in parts 1808-25 (60)

“The collector of illuminations did not exist in the eighteenth century, which witnessed instead the formation and dispersal of great libraries by ardent bibliophiles. In contrast, the early nineteenth century saw the bifurcation of manuscript appreciation into, on the one hand, the continuation of the eighteenth-century tradition o appreciating medieval manuscripts primarily as historical ‘curiosities’ or patrimony and, on the other hand, the emergence of a new breed of manuscript collector, interested not in the whole book but in fragments from it as specimens of artistic style and calligraphy.” (62-3)

“A distinct group was formed not by collectors of manuscripts but around the collecting of fragments, a group clearly distinguishable and increasingly numerous after midcentury. Some of these collectors, like Samuel Rogers and Robert Stayner Holford, were primarily picture collectors, supplementing their paintings with illuminations and benefiting from the glut of cuttings on the market in England in the aftermath of the Celotti and Ottley sales. They are distinguished from a second group of collectors of fragments, among whom Spitzer and Salting may be regarded as more typical, who come out of the late-nineteenth-century interest in decorative arts and ornament. Only with the rise of the interest in ornament can Gothic or earlier art achieve a place of pride next to High Renaissance figures like Clovio.” (65)

Term “vandal” not used until French Revolution, when it meant wreaking destruction on churches and monuments, latter to describe book breaking (66)

“Modern scholars also tend to feel uneasy about the creating and collecting of cuttings. These are "activities which art historians approach with some ambiva-lence." according to Roger Wieck, pointing to our modern fear of "breaking apart" the complete art object." By contrast, nineteenth-century art enthusiasts thought nothing of altering older artifacts to suit their tastes. Collectors would have viewed what we see as vandalism and mutilation as exactly the opposite: by isolating the painting from the rest of the book, they were elevating the work of the anonymous medieval illuminator to the status of the great masters. Perhaps censorious attitudes toward past perpetrators of this type need reevaluation; the obsession with the totality of a sacred original as a unique, inviolable obiect was not shared by our forebears. Moreover, the restoration and re-creation that are viewed with disdain for a manuscript leaf are deemed quite normal for a Gothic cathedral or an oil painting.” (68)

“Once it is accepted that there is no such thing as a pure and original artwork, only the constant transformation of objects that are refashioned both conceptually and physically over time to suit different audience expectations, the history of the cutting up of manuscripts by collectors and dealers trough the nineteenth century can be seen not so much as a shameful but as a reconstitutive act.” (68)

“The practice of cutting up manuscripts was not new in the nineteenth century, but its popularity blossomed in this period, partly owing to the increasing interest in gathering "specimens" of things medieval. But it can also be seen as part of a wider phenomenon of fragmentation and re-creation of the past in the period that shaped European culture more generally. Munby alerts us to another, more practical reason for dealers jettisoning the vast pages and heavy bindings of Italian antiphonals and bringing home only the salable initials. Anyone importing books made before 1801 into England from the Continent had to pay an import duty of six pounds, ten shillings, per hundredweight.” (68)

Opposite of creating binding waste — fragments made in 19c BC of perceived value

“The Middle Ages was, in Karl Morrison's words "intolerant of the frag-mentary, indeed unwilling for a fragment that could not be worked into a greater context, to survive. " The transformation of medieval manuscript fragments into objects of artistic value, ordered in portfolios, framed together on walls, rearranged in albums and collages, preciously preserved in extra-illustrated volumes, suggests that nineteenth-century collectors shared this attitude. But on another level, the notion that a small cutout piece of a larger whole could be appreciated as valuable in itself, as a specimen of style or of the art of a particular period, is more recent-an idea alien to the Middle Ages and one that seems to have its origins in the nineteenth century.” (69)

Miniatures of 15c, could be put into books of hours or mounted on wood, or pinned to wall (69)

Example of Etienne Chevalier’s book of hours, miniatures by Jean Fouquet removed and turned into individual “paintings” (70)

Example of Confessio Amantis now at Morgan Library, owned by Peter le Neve then Thomas Martin, miniatures extracted possibly to copy and engrave — “In this respect the history of manuscript reproductions is linked to the activity of cutting up manuscripts in a previously unrealized way.” (70-72)

“Choir books such as graduals and antiphonals were especially prone to dismemberment. They were bulky and unwieldy, containing liturgical and musical material that might no longer be used; moreover, the vast size of the folios made even an initial into something large enough to be thought of as a painting.” (73)

By middle of century, private collectors and big museums buying initials (78)

Small cut-outs as “relics” (78)

“Any study of these albums has become increasingly difficult for two rea-sons. First, the exigencies of the market, which places a value on a single cutting far in excess of the value of an unbroken album, encourages their disassembly, as has occurred in recent years with at least two famous examples, the Burckhardt-Wild and the Dennistoun-Clark albums (both dispersed in London, Sotheby's, April 25, 1983, and July 3, 1984). Second, the policies of institutions also encourage their dismantling, as has occurred with both the Rogers album and the Roth-schild-Ascott album in the British Library (MSS Add. S 35254 and 60630). In seeking to preserve properly works of art on paper, conservationists often remove manuscript cuttings from the old, acidic paper or card, to which they were hinged with destructive animal glues, and remount them with new museum matts in archival environments outside the original physical context. This procedure, of course, destroys the form of the original album. Often, as is the case with another category of medieval manuscripts, pastedowns and binding fragments, the history of which is likewise erased by their undocumented removal the dismantling of albums, without appropriate record-keeping, will ultimately destroy part of the history of collecting.” (82)

Burckhardt-Wildt album, sold by Peter Barman (who made it) to Daniel Burckhardt-Wildt in late 18c

Dennistoun album, fragments mounted on hinges with handwritten notes on provenance etc below; roughly arranged chronologically, by national school, regional style, and artist

Thomas Astle, paleographer, collecting scripts

“It was the William Young Ottley sale in 1838, however, that appears to have ushered in the real craze for albums in nineteenth-century England.” (90) — flooded the market with fragments

Rothschild-Ascott album

“Owned by bibliophiles, not picture collectors … these albums suggest that cuttings collected and displayed in this way had come to be regarded as a requisite component of a nineteenth-century book collection.” (91)


Hartman Schedel, pasted more than 120 prints and miniatures into volumes in his large library

Jacopo Rubieri, incorporated hand-colored printed acquired during pilgrimages into manuscript of notes on legal proceedings (91-2)

Copy of Dibdin’s Bibliographical Decameron in 12 volumes, with 547 interleaved illuminations, sold 1960; later dispersed

Copy of Henry Shaw’s Illuminated Ornaments containing 37 historiated initials, six cuttings from borders, 77 illuminated initials — “in other words, it contained examples of ornament like those reproduced by Shaw” (92); later dispersed

William Roscoe, interleaved books illustrating history

“The hypothesis that the practice of grangerizing was most frequently associated with books on books, transforming volumes by authors such as Shaw, Westwood, Dibdin, and Blades into hybrid exemplars like printed scrapbooks, which occupy a gray area between the manuscript and printed book” (92-3)

3 types of collages: 1) “reveals an attempt to make illumination into monumental wall painting of the ‘golden era of painting’ — that is from Raphael to the Carracci” (93); 2) “documents the renewed scholarly and commercial interest in the primitives, particularly their altarpieces… that accelerated only well after midcentury” (93); 3) “represents a response to the popular reproductive techniques of chromolithography ,.. whose colors the collages attempted to replicate and whose own composite technique they sought to imitate” (93)

“The frag-ment, from being a "monument of a lost art" at the beginning of the century, has become something quite different and of its own time by the century's end. The early-nineteenth-century fragment retained its integrity, even when recombined, and imitated a Renaissance aesthetic. By contrast, by the end of the century, manuscript illumination had itself become a modern art form, and even the col-laged construction erased the integrity of the individual fragment through the exploitation of contemporary reproductive techniques. The story of specimens outlined in this chapter is thus synchronic with the story of reproductions, which is the subject of the next chapter. The popularity of manuscript illumination in the modern age is best understood within this framework, in which the fragmentary remains of the medieval past intersect with modern attempts to recapture history through reproduction.” (101)

Reproductions: Transmission of Manuscript Illumination in the Nineteenth Century (103-175)

Hindman, “Reproductions”

By 18c, references to drawings being copied “per factor simile,” to make an exact likeness (106)

Jonathan Alexander distinguishes between historicist facsimiles and copies from model books

“The first facsimiles in the proper sense are, as Alexander points out, the replicas of earlier treasured codices made for the protohumanists of the fifteenth century, since it was only with the onset of the Renaissance that a sense of the historicity, the otherness of the past, opened up a gap between now and then that the facsimile could fill.” (106)

urge to make facsimiles grew in 18c — engravings of English charter made for Richard Rawlinson, Society of Antiquaries (106)

“The nineteenth century's most important and avid collector of illuminated books, Sir Thomas Phillipps, had professional illuminators copy both manuscripts and printed books for his collection. In 1865, his fellow collector John Camden Hotten sent Phillips a "very cleverly executed facsimile of Reynolds Herauldry of North Wales." In the accompanying letter, Hotten states that he had borrowed the book from its owner for a fortnight and that "I got my facsimilist to put forth his very best efforts in producing a copy." Another letter, this time from Phillipps to Hotten, speaks about a further occasion of copying a printed leaf: "I have received your . .. facsimile this morning and fortunately I had the Book itself in my house so that I could immediately compare it. Your copy is wonderfully exact and without the original anybody might be deceived. . .. Your worm holes are very neatly executed, but your rotten corner, if it is an imitation, is admirable. I have several printed books I should like to have perfected by imitation."*” (107)

“Such a practice was only possible because during this period the exemplary status of the object, it’s standing for a particular period or style, often mattered more than its authenticity.” (107)

“The popular appreciation of medieval illuminations was stimulated not by handmade copies, which remained unique and expensive objects, but by continual experimentation with those processes that made multiple copies of the same image available to a wide audience.” (107(

“The continuing impulse to reproduce medieval manuscripts throughout the nineteenth century accompanied, and gained momentum from, extensive experimentation with three technical processes woodcut and metal engraving, lithography and chromolithography, and photography- sometimes used in combination with each other.” (108)

“It was chromolithography that not only virtually made the careers of publishers such as Léon Curmer and Ambroise Firmin-Didot but also created a thriving market for drawings copied from manuscripts by facsim-ilists- -nineteenth-century illuminators for transfer to the lithographic plates.” (108)


“Photography eventually eliminated altogether the need for the copyist, although in the beginning facsimilists could take on piecework coloring in black-and-white photo-graphs, and photography ultimately changed the word "facsimile" from the active sense it had earlier in the century ("to facsimile") to a passive noun ("a facsimile").” (109)

Henry Shaw, Illuminated Ornaments

“What is unusual for the time is the focus on ornament, which Madden excuses on partially practical grounds. He explains that the high cost of hand coloring and the difficulty in rendering faithfully the originals (citing the unsuccessful efforts of Abbé Rive) led them instead to trace the history of the "humbler branch of art" (as opposed to, say, panel paint-ings), which readers might nevertheless admire (pp. 1-2). It is also worth pointing out that Madden and Shaw display a precocious interest in illuminated incunabula, including works by Fust and Schoefer of Mainz and Nicolas Jensen of Venice, which has gone unnoticed.” (110)

“The aesthetic of the collage, which fabricates a new, independent work of art out of discrete miniatures and bits of ornament, manifests a radically different attitude than we now have toward the historical integrity of the "origi-nal." It is tempting to understand the manipulation of an object or objects, which the collage achieves, as a procedure fostered by new technologies. In chromolitho-graphy the object was dissected for printing from multiple stones or plates inked with different colors, then reassembled when printed on the surface of the page. Even facsimile printing itself opened up the possibilities of rearrangement and ad-justment. Whatever the underlying reasons, the popularity of the collage persisted through the nineteenth century.” (112)

Example of South Kensington Museum; Shaw recommends facsimiles because they are cleaner than books that have been used, museum, eventually buys his collections

Shaw calls his work “illuminated drawings”

Arundel Society - 1855, began using chromolithography to reproduce fresco, membership took off; public hungry for cheaper reproductions of art, which they sold with frames; same kind of fragmentation as ms illumination

1862, Society produced an alphabet book; popular genre in Victorian society; kind of reprisal of model book used by scribes

“the distinction between "original" and "facsimile" is blurred during this period. Shaw's and Sprega's copies made directly from the originals are considered, like their sources, to be "drawings" or originals, whereas the chromolithographs made after them are " "facsimiles" and the artist of the preparatory drawing is called the "facsimilist."” (122)

J O Westwood, inspired by d’Estang

Extra-illustrated copy of his drawings with six leaves from medieval manuscripts (123)

“This book is remarkable for two reasons. First, it preserves an exceptional illustrated record of the technical process of its creation, from Westwood's drawings for the zinc plates, to his proofs taken from the plates and printed on India paper, to the final hand-colored engravings (figures 60, 61, and 62, plates 14, Is), and finally to the insertion of original medieval illuminations within the modern volume. Second, it shows just how complex a facsimile could be, for Westwood's hybrid copy is, at the same time, an extra-illustrated volume, like an album, containing fifteenth-century illuminations alongside nineteenth-century drawings and proofs, and a facsimile of printed reproductions taken from original manuscripts. It was as though in this special volume Westwood was still clinging to the residual aura of the medieval manuscript book in the age of print, despite the fact that he success- (125) fully marketed the work as an inexpensive illustrated Bible rather than as a collection of facsimiles from illuminated manuscripts.” (123-5)

“Hardly a facsimile proper, since no medieval Bible contains such an odd amalgam of images, Westwood's Illuminated Illustrations of the Bible is a Victorian reimagining of a medieval manuscript for the pious art-loving public, and simultaneously a precursor to the gift book.” (125)

Caleb William Wing, restorer and maker for facsimiles of manuscripts

Bastard d‘Estang — funding from government, aimed to help restorers do their work more accurately

“Because Bastard preferred to retain a larger degree of manual control, his atelier in the rue St.-Dominique-St.-Germain was basically an artist's or craft atelier whose thirty employees (many of them Polish immigrants) were carefully trained artists rather than mere mechanical copyists. Bastard had the contours of the miniatures printed from a stone and then had each plate colored by hand. Artists would also add gold or platinum powder or leaf in an effort to recreate the exact appearance of the original in its current state of preservation.” (130)

Project was “as much a bespoke trade as medieval manuscript production, with a very small print run and very few actually copies available at an enormous cost” (130)

Later, was criticized for exorbitant expense

“Criticizing Bastard for never producing the explanatory text or describing which manuscripts were drawn upon in making his images, Hennin concluded that it would be better to produce facsimiles of one or two manuscripts from the Middle Ages than to reproduce all these fragments from so many different examples. What had seemed in the 183os like a wonderfully progressive and encyclopedic museum of manuscript monuments ap- (132) peared, only three decades later, after revolutions and upheavals in the very notion of what constituted French national identity, to be a mere collection of fragments.” (131-2)


“In the work of Léon Curmer (1801-70), imagery derived from illumination penetrated religious publishing in France.” (132)

“The main framework for understanding Curmer’s enterprise is the revival of Catholicism and its impact on religious publishing during this turbulent period.” (132)

Saccharine religious imagery mid century; “curmer gave religious publishing a style based on medieval illumination that was of impeccably good taste. Curmer's deluxe publications of the 1850s and 186o exploited illuminated manuscripts as never before for religious ends. He typified the successful entrepreneurial publisher who managed to survive in the publishing revolution of the 1830s and 1840s, when new reproduction and distribution methods allowed cheap illustrated works and color printing to flourish.” (133)

Publishing in fascicles, serially; plain plates issued for DIY coloring

“It was not such much the prestige publications, but their ancillary offshoots in other publications and the resume of plates in other contexts, which contributed to Curmer’s commercial success.” (134)

Use of photography

Adherence to religious orthodoxy; “all the publications were designed as working tools for the devout” (135)


“In France, gift books were the near-exclusive province of the "inventor" of chromolithography, Godefroy nd tzel: Engelmann (I788-1839), who with his son, (Godefroy II (I814-97), founded the Société Engelmann, Père et Fils, in 1837, which became Engelmann et Graf in 1842, when Auguste Graf joined the company.” (136)

Statuts de l’Ordre du St. Esprit (1853)

“Such a lavish facsimile, which was still basically produced by hand, was still beyond the means of most people, and it was only after the midcentury in France, as the technical process of chromolithography was further mechanized and the process became standardized, that books reproducing not whole manuscripts in fac-simile, but isolated pages and miniatures from them, became fashionable. This fragmentation of the manuscript page in reproduction is related directly to manuscripts’ being cut up and collected, as described in the previous chapter. But it is also part of a general movement toward fragmentation that can be seen in the sculptural cast museums of the period and the Musee de Cluny in Paris, which showed the fragmentary remains of statues and paintings destroyed by revolutions, neglect, or just time.” (137)

Paul Lacroix

Catholic gift books, like Heures Royales (1838); later bought in 1840 by Curmer, who added chromolithographs; “Publishers offered such books in simple formats or in lavish bindings that could be specially ordered. It was works of this kind that, in France, definitively linked medieval style to Catholic piety, a link which flourishes even today.” (142)

Theophile Fragonard, Evangiles de Notre Seigneur Jesus-Christ (1837), lithographed 15c borders in black and white

“Like the popular Books of Hours of the 15c, in which families also recorded momentous life and death events, these chromolithographed medievalizing prayer books served the 19c French market for pretty and affordable lives des famille.” (143)