29th Nov, 2023 10:00

Books & Works on Paper

  Lot 35

Illuminated Mss leaf on vellum. St. John seated on Patmos writing his Gospel. [c. 1460-98]

St. John seated on Patmos writing his Gospel.

Illuminated manuscript on leaf vellum from a Book of Hours.

full-page miniature of St. John with a translucent gold halo seated on grassy hillock writing,

all before a watery landscape with islands topped with medieval towns and a wide open sky, within an architectural frame at the base an eagle stands wings open supporting an open scroll containing a 3-line initial 'I' (opening 'In principio erat ...', John 1:1, from the Gospel Lessons in a Book of Hours) in burnished gold supported by two cherubs, and with 3 lines of text in dark brown ink in an elaborate lettre bâtarde, 15 lines in same on verso, in good condition, c.155 102mm. [c. 1460-98]

This image is remarkably close to that in other Books of Hours attributed to the workshop of Jean Colombe (active c. 1460-98), and on occasion the hand of the artist himself. A number of features are exact matches, the figure of the eagle and the way its mouth draws up at the end as if smiling can also be paralleled in the St. John miniature in a Book of Hours attributed to Jean Colombe.The artwork here may well be that of the artist himself, and if not is apparently that of a gifted associate. Jean Colombe was one of the most prolific French illuminators of the second half of the fifteenth century. He was a native of Bourges producing large numbers of such books as commissions for the local aristocracy. Through these works, he attracted the attention of Queen Charlotte of Savoy, wife of Louis XI, and from 1486 he served as the official illuminator to the Savoy court.

Provenance. Sotheby’s December 3rd. 2008 Lot 16

Sold for £3,000

Includes Buyer's Premium


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