University of Virginia Library

Search this document 


expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 



Page 115

MUNICIPALE, MS. 110 (S. 133).
Peter Rolfe Monks

This paper concerns a fragmented missal of French origin whose history remains incomplete but whose importance has long been recognised by historians of manuscripts and their illustrations. Its modern shelfmark is Autun, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS. 110 (S. 133). It was executed in a famous Paris atelier in the mid fifteenth century and was acquired by a Burgundian Cardinal-Bishop. Information about the volume has varied accordingly as it was supplied by connoisseurs, librarians, manuscript salesmen or art historians. Their ex parte perceptions offer discordances, omissions and factual errors that may provide salutary lessons for modern bibliographers of cultural patrimony.

My commentary opens during the occupancy of the See of Autun by Bishop Jean Rolin II (1408-1483), created a cardinal in 1449.[1] It is believed that he ordered or acquired in the late 1450s the missal in question from the miniaturist who bears his name, the Master of Jean Rolin II, known as the Rolin Master for short. More will be said about this eponymous artist presently. The volume was destined for use by the canons in the Lady Chapel of the cardinal's cathedral of Saint-Lazare at Autun.[2] It joined an already prestigious diocesan collection, whose formation dated from at least the eleventh century.[3]

Judging from the contents of a sister missal that has survived intact, Lyon, Bibliothèque de la Ville, MS. 517,[4] our Autun 110 (S. 133) contained a Calen-


Page 116
dar, Temporal, Sanctoral and Common of Saints. The volume was decorated with the prelate's emblems or variations of them, in the form of a cardinal's hat, the motto Deum time, the patron's coat of arms, and an episcopal crozier. It is also a fact that the missal was embellished with nine illustrations, of which seven small ones introduced textual divisions of the service-book, and two full-page pictures, which faced each other at the Canon of the Mass. One depicted the Crucifixion, the other represented God in Majesty, and they constituted a form of diptych. Six of the reduced format presented the following themes: Elevation of the Host, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost, while a portrayal of Andrew headed the sanctoral. Autun 110 (S. 133) contains 335 vellum folios measuring 360 × 270 mm. It has suffered mutilation mainly on or near the folios that once contained illustrations.[5] Only one miniature (60 × 55 mm.) remains today, the Adoration of the Magi on fol. 30v. I inspected the mutilated volume at Autun in 1982 and confirmed to my satisfaction that the painting was the work of the Rolin Master. There is every reason to believe that the other missing pictures were also executed in his atelier.

There is no record of manuscripts being removed from the capitular collection at Autun during the three and half centuries after the Cardinal's death in 1483. In accordance with a decree of the National Assembly in 1790 prescribing inventories to be made of all movables of suppressed religious establishments, the manuscripts of the Cathedral Chapter at Autun were catalogued late in 1791 by dom Edme Michel of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Martin in the town.[6] Being considered of little value, the codices remained virtually undisturbed in the cathedral precincts until the Concordat of July 16, 1801, between Napoleon and Pius VII (1800-1823). The agreement ensured that in France diocesan establishments were restored to their canons and bishops. Canons of the Chapter at Autun were thus able to regain possession of their library. However, by 1829, the clergy were concerned that its contents were not under proper surveillance and decided to transfer them to the Grand Seminary.[7] The volumes remained in this milieu for some eighty years. Descriptions of varying brevity exist before 1880 but they are often unreliable for reasons that will unfold. Following the further separation of Church and State in 1906 the Seminary Library was sequestered and had to wait four years for its fate to be decided. In 1909 the Ministère de l'Instruction


Page 117
Publique entrusted the volumes to the municipality of Autun, the transfer occurring in the following year.

The history of Autun 110 (S. 133) suggests its fortunes changed in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, when it was cloistered in the Grand Seminary. After the defeat of Napoleon and the Restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy a period of intellectual stability ensued which encouraged cultural, historical and scientific groups and societies to flourish at all levels of society and in most regions of France. Bibliographical and library sciences developed in earnest. One thinks of Paulin Paris's Les Manuscrits françois de la Bibliothèque du Roi and Léopold Delisle's Le Cabinet des Manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Impériale. [8]

A political refugee from Tuscany and a mathematical genius, Count Guglielmo Libri (1803-69),[9] was appointed by the Government of Louis-Philippe to visit repositories with important collections and to draw up inventories of the paleographical, literary and iconographic treasures he encountered. He was eminently suited for the bestowal of such trust, having become a naturalized French citizen in 1833, and later a Professor in both the Collège de France and the University of Paris; he was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences within the Institut de France. He even found time to buy and sell printed books and manuscripts.[10]

In his role as official recorder of patrimony he visited in the 1840s numerous libraries[11] including that of the Grand Seminary at Autun. His notes on its manuscripts were published in 1846 and then reprinted in front of the Bibliothèque Municipale's inventory in the first volume of a quarto series of Catalogues of contents of Public Libraries in the nation's Départements. [12] As is well known, this series was the forerunner to the voluminous octavo


Page 118
collection of répertoires which commenced appearing last century under the auspices of the Ministère de l'Instruction Publique.[13] Here is Libri's short description of the missal with which we are concerned: “110. In-folio sur vélin.—Missale æduense.—XVe siècle. Donné par le cardinal Rolin”.[14] Had this service-book been already subject to acts of cutting, excising, dividing and plundering? Does the failure to mention any illustrations at all mean that the manuscript had none any more? We shall endeavour to answer these questions below. The 1846 Libri numbers are for the most part those of a pre-1789 catalogue.[15]

One can be certain that by the early 1880s miniatures have been excised and pages mutilated, for at that date there exists another cataloguer's description of the missal. Mademoiselle Marie Pellechet arrived in Autun to study the liturgical history of the diocese. She took up residence at 14 rue Guérin and arranged to have the manuscripts and incunabula brought to her. Her inventory was published in 1883 and contained the following observations about the tableaux: “On a enlevé toutes les petites miniatures qui se trouvaient aux fol. 7, 28v, 154, 171v, 177, 223; au fol. 299, on a laissé en blanc la place où devait être peinte la miniature de s. André...”.[16] Several comments are called for. Inexplicably omitted is mention of the presence of the Adoration of the Magi on fol. 30v. Secondly, she did not seem to be aware that the missing painting on fol. 223 for the text In vigilia sancti andree apostoli would have been Andrew, where the sanctoral commences, and that, if there were to be an illustration at the head of the Common of Saints (fol. 299), it would not have been Andrew. Lastly, she passed over in silence the two large Canon tableaux, from which one may deduce that neither was any longer in the volume. When Liebaert published his short paper in 1912, he included our missal but made no comment on its physical state.[17]

In 1924 appeared the four volumes of Canon V. Leroquais' ambitious scholarly catalogue of sacramentaries and missals in French public libraries. In the entry concerning Autun 110 (S. 133) he placed the Seminary number first and added Libri's in brackets.[18] He also corrected the erroneous foliations detailed by Pellechet, and characterised the decoration and paintings


Page 119
in as succinct a manner as possible: “Plusieurs feuillets mutilés—360 × 270 mill.—Miniatures: fol. 30v, l'Épiphanie;[19] toutes les autres ont disparu— Belles initials fleuries sur fond or; riches encadrements formés de rinceaux de feuillage, de fleurs et de fruits au milieu desquels se jouent des oiseaux...”.

Moving forward in time we arrive at 1985, the year in which the Autun municipal librarian, Marie-Josette Perrat, mounted an exhibition to highlight donations of manuscripts to Autun libraries in the 15th century by members of the Rolin family. A modest but colorful catalogue marked the event.[20] For 110 (S. 133), Perrat was content to register the cataloguing activities undertaken by French conservators from Pellechet to Leroquais. She reproduced the miniature of the Adoration of the Magi in colour (p. 21). Samaran and Marichal in 1968 included the volume among France's dated manuscripts, a point which Charles Sterling reiterated in 1990 in his two-volume account of miniature painting in medieval Paris.[21]

The question must now be raised about the present location of its eight missing paintings (two large and six small) assigned to the Master of Jean Rolin II. Cataloguing efforts to date concerning the valuable missal have been by the hands of connoisseurs, conservators and professional librarians. Those who exercised their bibliographical skills before the end of World War II may be forgiven for not commenting on the art work in this codex. There was only one small miniature to help identify the artistic provenance, and reproductions of the artist's hand were few and far between. Yet, independently of conservators, aspects of the iconography of the missals at Autun had been the subject of serious comment as early as 1931, by an American researcher. Her name was Eleanor P. Spencer, then a postgraduate student at Harvard College, whose subsequent scholarly studies on mid-fifteenth century French miniatures were to earn her numerous accolades and encomia from art historians on both shores of the Atlantic. She recorded in her doctoral dissertation, defended in 1931, the presence of a miniature of a Crucifixion on vellum which had been detached from an Autun missal and was then owned by Charles H. Parker of Boston. From her viewpoint as an art historian, she attributed the work to the same master (then unnamed) who had painted other Autun Missals.[22] In the ensuing thirty years she broadened her research to include other types of liturgical books and religious treatises, and encountered often the same artist's hand as in the Crucifixion folio just mentioned. In a 1963 paper, she studied the one hundred and eight illustrations devised with the help of a Dominican adviser to complement a French translation of Henrich Seuse O.P., Horologium Sapientiae, now preserved in Brussels, Bibliothèque Royal Albert Ier, MS. IV 111.[23]


Page 120

Meanwhile, chonologically speaking, the second mention of the same Crucifixion leaf omits any reference to Spencer's thesis and proceeds as if the fragment had no identifiable earlier owner or history. One may consult the statement in the first all-American bibliography of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts on which Seymour de Ricci and W. J. Wilson, the publisher, worked in the thirties. They listed a detached leaf belonging to the same Charles Henry Parker, 42 Chestnut Street, Boston, Massachusetts. The single folio, measuring 320 × 260 mm., bore a miniature of the Crucifixion and was dated to the 15th century. They stated it was a loan item, since November 4, 1929, to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.[24] In fact, the painting remained in the Department of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture until December 19, 1939 when it was returned to Parker.[25] In 1963 Spencer appears to have forgotten the Parker Crucifixion entirely, since it was not mentioned when she had occasion to write about two manuscripts at Autun (unidentified as to subjects) having fragments in the Musée Rolin. To complicate an already confused shelfmark tradition, she called the host volumes “ms. 131 and 14a.”[26] It is clear that 131 is 108A (S. 131), while the other is 114A (S. 136).

The next viewing of the Crucifixion leaf is in London, in the sale- rooms of Sotheby's in 1982.[27] The Catalogue contains a detailed description of the iconographical subject, an opinion of the condition of the painting, then the measurements and place of origin: “275 mm. by 230 mm. overall; dimension of actual miniature 250 mm. by 180 mm. [France Paris 1460-70]”. The larger of these two sizes clearly refers to the presence of a carved wooden frame. Concerning the provenance, one reads: “(1) The arms at the bottom of the miniature in the border have been obscured by the cropping but still show the upper part of a crozier so that this manuscript was presumably commissioned by a French bishop or abbot. (2) Martin Brimmer, President of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (note on back of frame).” It is also claimed


Page 121
that the painting “has been attributed to the Master of Jean Rolin II, active in Paris from c. 1449 to c. 1460, or perhaps a little later... While it shows certain similarities to this artist,... it does not seem to be the Master's hand but rather someone closely associated with him.” The lack of information about the provenance of the detached leaf is very evident, in the light of the pre-1982 published references. However, we must be thankful for one entirely new element: the former ownership by Martin Brimmer about whom more will be said below. It was a detail unknown or omitted by Spencer, by De Ricci and Wilson, and by Parker himself. In her turn, Perrat in 1985 seems to have been oblivious to the existence of the Crucifixion folio.

Sotheby's offered the same miniature for sale nine years later in their June 1991 catalogue, as lot no. 21.[28] The information on provenance is summary: “Martin Brimmer, President of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; sale in our rooms, 22nd June 1982, lot 19.” The reference to the crozier is moved to the Illumination section. The account of the subject matter of the painting is substantially the same as before, but the phraseology is varied. A fitted case is said to measure 274 × 233 mm. The opinion is expressed that the host manuscript is still preserved at Autun and could be “ms. 131”.[29] The earlier attribution of the illustration to an associate of the Rolin Master is abandoned in favor of the Master himself. “Though the patron was perhaps Burgundian, the artist probably worked in Paris. His style here shows a strong link with the Coëtivy Master (probably Henri de Vulcup) who worked in Bourges and the Loire valley, and he may have trained in central France or have moved eastwards through Autun on his way north. He may have worked with the Bedford Master on the Salisbury Breviary, and his style later becomes very close to that of Maître François and these painters are easily confused. Here we see him at his very best”. Many of the alleged influences in this account were discredited long before 1991, especially those of the Coëtivy Master and Maître François.[30]

Following the publicity of the Sotheby auctions, Nicole Reynaud made brief iconographic comments on the painting in the 1993 catalogue of an exhibition of manuscripts at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.[31] My own discussion of the Brimmer Crucifixion is shared between the 1997 article on the Lyon folio of God in Majesty and the present paper.

There are two elements about the Crucifixion folio that cause me to believe that it was removed from Autun 110 (S. 133) rather than 108A (S. 131). These are the size of the folio and the similarity of the border design with that of a companion tableau of the diptych for the Canon of the Mass. But


Page 122
first, I shall explore the history of the leaf and its host volume between Autun in the 1840s and its sighting by Spencer ca. 1931. It was not until after the fall of Louis-Philippe in 1848 that rumours began to circulate among bibliophiles, libraires and conservators of all manner of collections that select treasures were noticed to be missing or mutilated, and even to be offered for sale on the open market. Suspicion fell, above all, on Libri. He did not assist his own cause when he abandoned his academic responsibilities in the middle of the 1847-1848 session and fled to London with eighteen large packing cases crammed with volumes.[32] A complete picture of Libri's acts of vandalism has never been attempted, but is long overdue.[33] The publications on the subject by Delisle were numerous, and papers in our time by Munby and McCrimmon only serve to confirm the need for such an overview.[34] In 1898 an aging Delisle composed one more chapter about the Count's crimes with a paper which focused on the blatant theft of large fragments of five priceless codices dating from the 6th to 11th centuries; gatherings removed in situ had appeared at public sales and been rebought by the Bibliothèque Nationale. Delisle established conclusively that all host volumes were in the Autun Chapter Library long before Libri inspected it, and what is more disturbing, these were not in the 1846 Catalogue drawn up by him.[35] It is difficult to believe that Libri was not culpable in the spoliation of our mid fifteenth-century missal. He had the disposition to vandalise, the chance to remove miniatures, and the occasion during his official visits to libraries. How easy it would have been to fold excised sheets in order to conceal them in a coat or jacket or satchel.[36]


Page 123

What is perhaps not appreciated enough by book historians is the fact that devastation of manuscripts by connoisseurs and bibliophiles was at its height in Europe between the 1830s and 1870s, or even earlier. High prices were paid at sales and auctions for single folios of quality or renown, or for collections of cuttings removed from codices and bound together in portfolios without a trace of provenance. In England the names of William Young Ottley (1771-1836), John Boykett Jarman (1782-1864), and John Ruskin (1819-1900) are among those associated with the practice. The vast subject of mutilation of manuscripts in the name of art still needs thorough researching, a start having been made by Munby[37] and Janet Backhouse of the British Library.[38]

Strengthening my suspicions that such was the fate of the Crucifixion now being pursued is the fact that between Libri's visit to Autun in the early 1840s and Pellechet's visit in the early 1880s, the leaf disappeared. On some occasion in this time span it passed into the hands of an eminent United States citizen, Martin Brimmer (1829-1896).[39] Born in Boston and educated at Harvard College between 1845 and 1849, he then entered on his grand tour of Europe and remained there for two years. He studied at the Sorbonne and traveled extensively. He also went to Europe on other occasions before 1880. The availability, clandestine or otherwise, of the cutting in the period following Libri's visit to Autun in the forties, happens to coincide neatly with Brimmer's presence in France in the fifties, but, of course, he may have purchased it on later visits to the Continent.[40] Whether he was aware of the origin of his newly acquired tableau is not known. I doubt very much that he was apprised of its provenance, and even if such were the case, why should he have been concerned? He was merely acquiring a work of beauty to display back home.

Then there is the matter of a crease on the Brimmer Crucifixion folio. The fold mark, approximately one third the way up from its surviving lower edge, is slightly higher on the right side than the left. A Société Éduenne God in Majesty (373 × 270 mm. overall) has a similar mark in much the same place.[41] This time the crease is slightly higher on the left of the painting.


Page 124
Another of the society's detached leaves containing a representation of Andrew (360 × 265 mm. overall) also displays a crease across it. It is highly probable that these three folios were removed from their respective host manuscripts at the same time. They may well have been placed in the following order: God in Majesty and Crucifixion facing each other, both on top of Andrew; the latter was then folded around them, but upside down. Such an act would cause the fold line to descend from upper right to lower left on Andrew, with a consequential mark across the Crucifixion. As would be expected from such careless treatment, pigments, particularly blue ones, are considerably rubbed, and flaking has occurred.

The Crucifixion on vellum owned by Brimmer remained in the north- eastern United States and was later in the possession of another Bostonian, even appearing as a loan item in the collection of the city's Museum of Fine Arts. What is interesting here is that neither Spencer nor De Ricci mention Brimmer when cataloguing the item as Parker's property. It becomes important to explore further the life of Brimmer to ascertain if the name Parker appears among members of his family's social and religious circle.

Brimmer died in 1896 while still holding the office of President of the Museum of Fine Arts. It is not surprising that the funeral oration for such an eminent Bostonian was preached in Trinity Church, where he had worshipped.[42] Brimmer had no children, but his life and endeavours were enriched by support from friends. One in particular, the art critic Charles Callahan Perkins (1823-1886), had prior to 1850 “proposed an art museum for Boston but had found the plan premature. When others twenty years later revived this project he supported it gladly. He was second among the incorporators...”.[43]

A close friend of Brimmer was a co-worshipper at the Trinity Church,


Page 125
Charles Henry Parker, Sr. (1816-1908).[44] Their signatures appear together at the end of a Committee's Report for their church in 1871.[45] Parker was married to Laura Wolcott Jackson, and issue included two sons, Samuel Dunn Parker and Charles Henry Parker, Jr. (1872-1957). Insights into the last-named's life may be gleaned from biographical sketches from his own pen.[46] He was born a Bostonian into an Episcopalian family, attending regularly Trinity Church of which he later became the historian. Following preparation at Hopkinson's School, he went to Harvard, graduated in 1896 and attended Harvard Law School for a year. He became a trustee for various companies and assisted in charitable activities connected with the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was a life member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Brimmer too, a generation or so before him, had actively supported many of these organisations. In the nineteen twenties and thirties Parker was a patron of the Fine Arts Museum, lending the institution the Crucifixion which had formally been in the possession of their founder President. A curious coincidence of the name Perkins occurs in Parker's life. In 1909 he married Winifred Edith Singleton Perkins. She died in Boston September 11, 1924.

These connections, associations and common cause between Brimmer, Perkins and the two Parkers, presented conditions and circumstances to enable Brimmer to pass on or sell his Crucifixion either to Charles H. Parker, Sr. who may then have bequeathed it to his second son, or to Winifred Perkins. She could easily have bequeathed it to a niece or granddaughter after 1886. Parker Jr. would have acquired it on the death of Winifred.

How the Crucifixion from Autun, which had traveled incognito to America, and had been preserved through the foresight and appreciation of these cultural leaders, arrived twenty-five years later in Sotheby's sale-rooms still remains a mystery, at least to me. Nor have I been able to ascertain the name of a purchaser at the 1991 auction.

Before examining the stylistic elements displayed in the Brimmer leaf containing the Crucifixion, another matter needs be taken up: a diminution in size between the time Parker Jr. held it and the time it was offered for sale in 1982. When inspected by De Ricci, the size overall was 320 × 260 mm. and when marketed by Sotheby's, approximately 275 × 230 mm. In other words, a trimming had occurred, some 45 mm. of length and 30 mm. of width having been removed in the bas de page area and less on the three other edges. It is known that for both components of the Canon diptych, the border layout was almost congruent. By a study of the ornamentation around God in Majesty belonging to the Société Éduenne we can form an idea of what is


Page 126
missing from the Crucifixion border. Both borders follow a more or less identical system of applying a vegetal pattern. A burnished gold band over-painted with tightly petalled flowers runs around three sides of each miniature. Such bands are in turn surrounded by elegantly painted foliate decoration, where heavier swirls of blue acanthus leaves have been permitted to alternate with more lightly depicted areas of ivy tendrils picked out in gold and variously colored small flowers. The outer margin of Société Éduenne God in Majesty has a scroll, centrally positioned, which contains the Rollin motto Deum time.

In the bas de page area of the same God in Majesty is a medially placed episcopal crozier whose crook is visible but whose shaft is hidden behind a cardinal's hat atop a shield emblazoned with the Rolin arms. These emblems occupy about 45 mm. If a copy of the crook designed for the Brimmer Crucifixion crozier is laid over the crook of the God in Majesty crozier, their identity is apparent. In each, the curvilinear design is bold and firmly drawn and gilded. The crook turns in on itself in a dramatic `U' and has a small quatrefoil device in the circular area created by the stem bending back to meet the staff. The line of the crook then sweeps out in a half circle and terminates in a second quatrefoil artifice. The outer edge of each crook is decorated with ten or eleven gold balls. As for the left hand margin of the Crucifixion leaf, it may well have displayed the scroll and motto occurring in the right-hand outer margin of the Société Éduenne God in Majesty. This identification element occupying about 20 mm. has also been lost.

While the exact number of millimetres trimmed from all sides of the Crucifixion painting cannot be verified, it is almost certain that the removed edges contained vital evidence of former ownership such as a cardinal's hat and shield. Whoever reduced the leaf in size between Parker Jr.'s ownership and 1982 was not aware of the existence elsewhere of a facsimile border layout in the other diptych element. Furthermore, after allowance for trimming in the manner already examined, the folio size of both components of the diptych approaches closely that of Autun MS. 110 (S. 133) which is now 360 × 270 mm. One cannot be more precise.

The comparisons of style and emblems just made do not allow us, however, to claim that the Brimmer Crucifixion and the Société Éduenne God in Majesty were from the same manuscript. We must look elsewhere for a match. The discovery of the God in Majesty leaf that is the second element of the diptych, I attribute to my colleague, Emeritus Professor Keith V. Sinclair of Townsville. In his search for devotional works of a fragmentary nature, he had approached the Musé des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and received a response to the effect that the gallery owned a large portrait of God in Majesty without text. Knowing of my interest in such iconography, he passed the details to me and I followed the trail with the gallery administration. I was hoping the leaf would be large enough to represent a relic of a canon diptych, and it was.

Its shelfmark is Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Inv. no. D 471, measuring 378 × 287 mm. It was acquired, it seems, in 1890 from the Chambre de Commerce de Lyon. How it had earlier passed to this corporation is not known.


Page 127
Clearly, however, in the Autun-Lyon areas amateurs had been collecting detached folios from all manner of medieval codices. Briefly stated, the work contains all the stylistic elements of the Rolin Master, while the border decorations similarly reflect motifs and designs practised in his atelier.[47] The portrayal of the Almighty, and of the four Evangelists outside the oval mandorla of clouds, equally declare the presence of our painter's hand. No Cardinal Rolin emblems are reproduced in the borders. Since they were already included in the ornamentation of the Crucifixion opposite our God in Majesty in Autun 110 (S. 133), one would not expect them to be repeated on a facing sheet.

Equally significant are two other elements in common with the Brimmer Crucifixion, the leaf measurement and a crease. The approximation between folio sizes supports my contention that the God in Majesty in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon derives from Autun 110 (S. 133). On close examination, the leaf may be seen to be marked by an horizontal crease identical to that of the Brimmer painting. It may very well have been placed with the grouping of the three leaves mentioned above, but behind the representation of Andrew.

Apart from this damage, the leaf has not suffered the mutilation of its accompanying Crucifixion. The splendid condition in which it now appears is due to its careful preservation by the Musée des Beaux-Arts since its acquisition. A large area near the lower left hand portion of the folio was almost ripped off. A smaller piece of the vellum was lost but has been skillfully replaced by a sympathetic restorer who copied sensitively the original foliate decoration.

The history of the diptych components has been shown to be colorful. There have been in all sixteen diverse reports on the two large fragments or their host manuscript: Secretary of Jean Rolin II in 1462, Edme 1789, Libri 1846, Pellechet 1883, Leroquais 1924, Spencer 1931, De Ricci 1936, Spencer 1963, Samaran and Marichal 1968, Sotheby 1982, Perrat 1985, Sterling 1990, Monks 1990, Sotheby 1991, Reynaud 1993, Monks 1997. This paper has also drawn attention to apparent inexactness and false trails in cataloguing endeavours. It is to be hoped that my observations will prompt manuscript librarians to examine their collections of detached leaves to ascertain if any of the other six miniatures have survived among them. The subject matters of these, it will be recalled, are: Elevation of the Host, Nativity, Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost and Andrew. If the whole folio has come down without damage, it should measure approximately 360 × 270 mm. Where only the miniature survives as a cutting, its size would be 60 × 55 mm. or 85 × 55 mm.[48]



See the somewhat dated biography by Ch. Bigarne, Étude historique sur le chancelier Rolin et sur sa famille (Beaune: Lambert & Dijon: Lamarche, 1860), 29- 41.


MS. 110 still bears the inscription signed by Guillemete, the Cardinal's secretary, which dates the benefaction as 1462. The Latin wording is partially reproduced in C. Samaran and R. Marichal, Catalogue des manuscrits en écriture latine portant des indications de date, de lieu ou de copiste (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1968), V, 438. The full text was published by Marie Pellechet, Notes sur les livres liturgiques des diocèses d'Autun, Chalon et Mâcon (Paris: Champion & Dijon: Dejussieu, 1883), 100- 101, no. 118.


I follow here the outline history by A. Gillot and Ch. Boëll, “Supplément au Catalogue de la Bibliothèque de Claude Guilliaud chanoine d'Autun (1493-1551),” Mémoires de la Société Éduenne 38 (1910): 219-292, esp. 229-233; and A. Gillot, “Notes sur les manuscrits et les livres anciens de la Bibliothèque Municipale d'Autun,” Mémoires de la Société Éduenne 49 (1943): 115-124.


A fuller account of this manuscript's history is supplied by P. R. Monks, “Some Doubtful Attributions to the Master of Jean Rolin II,” in Medieval Codicology, Iconography, Literature and Translation. Studies for Keith Val Sinclair, ed. P. R. Monks & D. D. R. Owen (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 147-148, n. 33.


The most complete descriptions of the texts are furnished by Pellechet, Notes, 100-101 and V. Leroquais, Les Sacramentaires et les missels manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France, 3 vols. with an album of plates (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1924), III, 195.


Preserved in Autun, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS. 250. The Abbey itself did not escape damage in the Revolutionary period.


Its foundation stone was laid in 1675 by Gabriel de Roquette, Bishop of Autun, and the gardens and terraces constructed according to the plans of André Le Nôtre, the celebrated landscape designer; the enclosure was completed in 1698; see V. Terret in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie Ecclésiastiques (Paris: Letouzey & Ané, 1931), V, col. 917-919.


Cf. P. Paris, Les Manuscrits françois de la Bibliothèque du Roi, 6 vols. (Paris: Techener, 1836-48); L. Delisle, Le Cabinet des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale, 3 vols. with album of plates (Paris: Imprimerie Impériale / Nationale, 1868-81). This last set appeared as vols. 9-11 of the series Histoire Générale de Paris.


Guglielmo Icilio Timoleone Libri, Conte Carrucci della Somaia, also known as Conte Guglielmo Bruto Icilio Timoleone Libri-Carruci dalla Sommaia. See also C. Pitollet, “Pour la biographie critique de Guillaume Libri,” Il libro e la stampa 7 (1913): 4-54, 165-188, 238-268.


His purchases of manuscripts between 1834 and 1845 were studied by L. Delisle, “Notice sur des manuscrits du fonds Libri conservés à la Laurentienne,” Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale et autres bibliothèques 32.1 (1886): 1-120, esp. 6-22.


Barbara McCrimmon, “The Libri Case,” Journal of Library History 1 (1966): 7-32 (p. 21), reports: “Libri claimed with justice that he discovered marvelous historical materials in these libraries that were unnoticed and even unrecorded before his visits. He made much of the fact that, far from concealing the treasures he found, he announced them to the scholarly world in the Journal des Savants. At Troyes Libri found that the library catalogue listed 1165 volumes, but made no mention of 900 very ancient manuscripts. At Autun, Dijon, Albi, Auxerre, Nimes, Carcassonne, Tours, Toulouse, Orléans, Poitiers there were uncomprehended jewels of history. At Lyon he unearthed thirty manuscripts in uncial letters...”.


G. Libri, Catalogue des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque du Séminaire d'Autun (Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1846), vi + 32 pp., then in Catalogue général des manuscrits des Bibliothèques Publiques des Départements, Série in 4°, 7 vols. (Paris: Imprimerie Impériale/ Nationale, 1849-1880), I, 1-32.


Namely, the Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques de France. Departements (Paris: Plon, 1885). After volume 48 the ministry changed its name to Ministère de l'Education Nationale. By the 1980s the publisher of the series had become the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.


Cat. gén, mss. Bibl. Publ. de France, I, 1849, 34.


The Grand Seminary numbers often used today with the Libri numbers are those designated in the 1909 inventory executed at the time of the merger of its collections with those of the Bibliothèque Municipale. Since the Second World War the practice among manuscript historians is to quote the Libri number first, followed by `S' and the Seminary number. A concordance to the two system is supplied by A. Gillot, “Notes sur les manuscrits et les livres anciens de la Bibliothèque Municipale d'Autun,” Mémoires de la Société Éduenne 49 (1943): 115-124, esp. 123-124.


Cf. Pellechet, Notes, 100-101, entry no. 118.


Cf. P. Liebaert, “Les livres liturgiques du Cardinal Rolin et d'Antoine de Chalon,” Revue de l'art chrétien, 1912: 442, n. 1.


Leroquais, Sacramentaires, III, 195.


More commonly called in English, the Adoration of the Magi.


Marie-Josette Perrat, Autun, Bibliothèque Municipale, Le Livre au siècle des Rolin (Autun: Marcellin, 1985), 22, item 10.


See C. Sterling, La Peinture médiévale à Paris, 1300-1500, 2 vols. (Paris: Bibliothèque des Arts, 1987-1990), II, 180.


The Maitre François and his Atelier, Harvard College, Ph.D. Dissertation, 1931, 30c.


Eleanor P. Spencer, “L'Horloge de Sapience. Bruxelles, Bibliothèque Royale, MS. IV. 111,” Scriptorium 17 (1963): 277-299. I have reproduced all the miniatures and critically evaluated their relationship to the medieval French translation. See P. R. Monks, The Brussels Horloge de Sapience. Iconography and Text of Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale, MS. IV III (Leiden: Brill, 1990), passim. My overview of the painter's work “The Master of Jean Rolin” appeared in the Dictionary of Art, ed. Jane Turner (London: Macmillan, 1996), 34 volumes, XX, 700-701.


S. de Ricci and W. J. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, 3 vols. (New York: Wilson, 1936-40), I. 955.


In a letter to me dated June 21, 1995, the Department of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, advised: “According to our records, the miniature was returned to Charles Parker on December 19, 1939. Unfortunately, there is no evidence in our files of the miniature's current whereabouts.” I wish to acknowledge a considerable indebtedness to Dr Malcolm Rogers, the Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum. He and members of his staff obligingly gave of their time to research this item in the Museum's archives.


Spencer, “L'Horloge de Sapience,” 295. When citing the name of the miniaturist of the Rolin Missals, Plummer echoed her numbering system for one of the manuscripts. He wrote in The Last Flowering, 62: “She has taken his name from two missals commissioned by Jean Rolin II and bearing his arms as Cardinal of Autun (Lyons, Bibl, Mun., MS. 517; Autun, Bibl. Mun., MS. 131)”. I was greeted with expressions of incredulity and skepticism when I asked to consult ms. 14A at the Autun Library in 1982.


Catalogue for the Day of Sale, 22 June 1982 (London: Sotheby's, 1982), 16, lot 19.


Catalogue for the Day of Sale, 18 June 1991 (London: Sotheby's, 1991), 23, lot 21. Brief iconographic comments on the painting were made by Reynaud in F. Avril and Nicole Reynaud, Les Manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440-1520 (Paris: Flammarion & Bibliothèque Nationale, 1993), 41.


To avoid further confusion, I feel bound to state the shelf-mark more accurately in modern cataloguing terms as Autun, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS. 108A (S. 131).


See Sterling, La Peinture médiévale, II, 176-189; Monks, Brussels Horloge de Sapience, passim.


See Avril and Reynaud, Manuscrits à peintures, 41.


Further details may be read in C. Pitollet, “Libri voleur de livres d'après son dossier ministériel inédit,” Revue des bibliothèques 37 (1927): 152-170.


Specific thefts from the Bibliothèque Municipale at Tours were announced by P. Meyer, “Les manuscrits du connétable de Lesdiguières,” Romania 12 (1883): 336-342. Acts of larceny in other libraries have been studied by J. Loiseleur, “Les larcins de M. Libri à la Bibliothéque Publique d'Orléans,” Bulletin de la Société arch. hist. de l'Orléanais, 1884; C. Pitollet, “Libri-Carrucci et la Bibliothèque de Carpentras,” Bulletin Italien 10 (1910): 249-264, 316-355.


See in particular Delisle's study cited in n. 10, and his monograph, Catalogue des manuscrits des fonds Libri et Barrois (Paris: Champion, 1888); A. N. L. Munby, “The Earl and the Thief: Lord Ashburnham and Count Libri,” and “The Triumph of Delisle, a Sequel to the Earl and the Thief,” Harvard Library Bulletin 17 (1969): 5-21 and 279-290; then his Connoisseurs and Medieval Miniatures 1750-1850 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), 103, 120, 126-128, 130; McCrimmon, “Libri Case,” 7-32.


See L. Delisle, “Les vols de Libri au séminaire d'Autun,” Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes 59 (1898): 379-392; E. Châtelain, “Les plus vieux manuscrits d'Autun mutilés par Libri,” Journal des Savants, 1898, 378-381.


Commenting on the subsequent indictment of Libri, McCrimmon, “Libri Case,” p. 10 writes: “No actual proof was offered that Libri himself stole the eighty-six volumes and countless individual pages and autograph letters identified in the Acte d'Accusation, but none was needed. The circumstantial evidence was overwhelming, and Libri's own erudition served to condemn him. Delisle asked the crucial questions: `Who else was capable of choosing them? Who else had the means to carry them away?' Libri did not actually have to carry them all away, for the librarians sent some of them to him and he merely neglected to return them. Others he acquired by barter, a method more clearly unethical than illegal.” In The Earl and the Thief, 6, Munby relates the anecdote: “A writer in the Bulletin du Bibliophile of 1888 recalled the sinister impression which he made upon the librarians he visited, clad in a capacious cloak and armed with a stiletto, for he said, the Carbonari had put a price on his head.”


See his Connoisseurs and Medieval Miniatures 1750- 1850, passim.


Janet Backhouse, “A Victorian Connoisseur and his Manuscripts: the Tale of Mr Jarman and Mr Wing,” British Museum Quarterly 32 (1968): 76- 92.


See Samuel Eliot, “Memoir of Martin Brimmer,” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 2nd ser. 10 (1896): 586-595. I should like to record an obligation to Virginia H. Smith, Reference Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, for kindly providing copies of the biographies of Brimmer and of the Parkers who will be mentioned presently.


I have been unsuccessful in my search for any statement in his papers concerning the place or circumstances under which he acquired this particular folio with its Crucifixion.


It and Andrew to be mentioned next, along with an excised Adoration of the Magi, all painted by the Rolin Master, have the shelfmarks Autun, Musée Rolin, Société Éduenne, frag. leaf nos. 1, 2, 3. They are elements in an album of thirty detached vellum folios which had been collected by the Society's President, Jacques-Gabriel Bulliot (d. early 1902). The portefolio was given by Dr and Madame Joseph Rérolle in 1902 to the Société Éduenne. A brief report on the items that composed the donation is supplied by A. de Charmasse in Mémoires de la Société Éduenne 30 (1902): 479-483. He wrote “ces trois pages, d'égale hauteur et qui portent à la même place les armes et la devise du cardinal, semblent avoir appartenu au même missel”. He did not announce the shelfmark of the manuscript of his own library that he had in mind. In the 1920s Leroquais, Sacramentaires, III, 195, examined MS. 108A (S. 131) and decided, without advancing any iconographical arguments, that the three fragments belonged to it. Apart from a small surviving Pentecost format “les autres peintures et miniatures ont disparu; trois d'entre elles: Dieu le Père, s. André et l'Epiphanie, sont actuellement au musée Rolin”. As far as Perrat, Livre, 16, was concerned, the host manuscript for Andrew and the Adoration of the Magi was 108A (S. 131). The God in Majesty was said to be from an unidentified Autun missal. Manuscripts 108A and 114A were ruled out of consideration as its parent volume, on the grounds of lack of identity among the components of the border designs.


Cf. Rev. Elijah Winchester Donald, In Memory of Martin Brimmer. A Sermon preached in Trinity Church in the City of Boston, Sunday, January 26, 1896 (Boston: Merrymount Press, 1896).


See the biographical sketch by Frederick W. Coburn in Dictionary of American Biography, 22 vols. (New York: Scribner, 1927-1958), XIV, 464-465. Reference to this article was suggested by Ms Jacqueline Mc Clure of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, to whom gratitude is expressed.


I am responsible for employing `Sr.' and `Jr.' for the two Charles Henry Parkers. I do so for clarity in my narrative. I am not aware from my readings in contemporary sources that either Parker used `Sr.' or `Jr.'.


See Boston, Trinity Church, Report of Committee, January 12, 1871 (Boston: Printed for the Committee, 1871).


See Harvard College, Class of 1896, Report VI (Cambridge, Mass.: Printed for the Class, 1921), 456-457; Harvard College, Class of 1896. Fiftieth Anniversary Report (Cambridge, Mass.: Printed for the Class, 1946), 324-326.


I announced this discovery in the article “Identification d'un chef-d'oeuvre du Maître de Rolin au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon,” Bulletin des Musées et Monuments Lyonnais, 1997, 4: 8-17. The orientation of the discussion is more iconographic than bibliographical. I thank Madame Dominique Brachlianoff, Conservator of the gallery, for making available a colour plate of the painting.


I should like to record my gratitude to David L. Vander Meulen for his helpful suggestions to improve the presentation of the convoluted narrative about the Autun missal.


Page 128