FAKSIMILE VERLAG LUCERN (arranged by library location)
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Thursday, 30 October 2014
[Aschaffenburg, Hofbibliothek, Ms. 13]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2007. 27 x 35.3 cm, 200 pp + commentary.
Codex Aureus is perhaps the most significant work of 13th-c. German painting. It was created around 1250 and since 1803, as part of the Mainz Cathedral treasures, the Mainz Gospels has been preserved in the Hofbibliothek Aschaffenburg. Comprised here, in one volume, are the four Gospels of the New Testament according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Gospels text appears in pure gold whereas the Canon tables and the Gospel prologues (not considered saintly writings) are in black ink. The Gospels are written in textura script considered now to be the most sophisticated calligraphic script of the Gothic period. Textura was also the model for Gutenberg’s movable type. The anonymous master of the Codex created 71 individual images and some full-page miniatures to illustrate the New Testament. A unique feature of 13th-c. art is the wealth of images illustrating the life of Christ. Here they are depicted in impressive golden grounds and vibrant glowing colors. Canon tables, large ornamental initials and ca. 300 multicolored small initials adorn this marvellous MS. The Gospels are a testimony of the early Gothic jagged-style (Zackenstil) which conquered German book illumination during the 13th century. The new style with its jagged, angular broken drapery and sometimes overly sharp contours was influenced by the arrival of Gothic architecture and the wish to confront religious sculptural art with an equally expressive and vivacious art form. Byzantine influences in the figural design fuse with new impulses from France to create a moving expressiveness and a three dimensionality of almost relievo quality. Commentary by Harald Wolter-von dem Knesebeck. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound (after the 13th-c. Preetz Evangelarium) in leather with embossed lines, and inserted silver plate and silver medallion showing the Evangelists; clamshell case covered in burgundy velvet.
[Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, W. 106; Paris, Musée Marmottan]
Die Oxforder Bibelbilder.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2004. 10 x 13.5 cm, 62 pp + commentary.
While the names of most medieval book illuminators are unknown, one exception is an artist active in the 13th century, William de Brailes. He created the Oxford Bible pictures, a perfect rendering of the Gothic style with its richly illuminated cycle of bible scenes characterized by fine colors and glowing gold. In each of the 31 folios, copiously decorated or tooled with gold, inventiveness and originality abound; the lively depictions have a narrative force that still impresses us today. Although the identity of the person who commissioned this Bible has remained a mystery (possibly a member of the secular nobility), there was no expense spared for its decoration. The book has come down to us in a perfect state and makes this jewel of book painting a true collector’s dream. Provenance: The bible’s miniatures emerged at the end of the 19th century when an antiquarian in Paris purchased the 31 folios. 7 leaves were sold later to the Wildenstein Collection and went to the Musée Marmotton in Paris. The remaining 24 leaves in the possession of the dealer were then bound in red velvet; incorporated into this binding was an ivory plate, beautifully carved on both sides, a masterpiece of Gothic sculpture produced in the last quarter of the 14th century in Rheinland Germany. The Oxford Bible pictures thus fuses English and German Gothic art in a most creative combination. Commentary by William Noel. Limited edition of 980 copies, in the original format, with binding that replicates the carved ivory plate and 2 clasps; leather case.
[Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Ms. Bibl. 140]
Die Bamberger Apokalypse.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2000. 20.4 x 29.5 cm, 106 pp + commentary.
The apocalyse with its texts on visions and prophecies of the end of the world and its encoded language and enigmatic pictures have fascinated and bewildered man since the beginning of time. Nearly 1000 year ago when these visions overflowed Europe and their interpretations were widely discussed, the Ottonian dynasty commissioned a luxury manuscript—now known as the “Bamberg Apocalyse”—to be carried out at Reichenau, one of the best scriptoria of the empire. The manuscript can be dated between 1000 and 1020. After the untimely death of the emperor at the age of 21, the codex remained unfinished until Henry II ordered it to be finished. He and his wife Cunegund donated it to the Collegiate Abbey of St. Stephen in Bamberg. The Bamberg Apocalyse is among the most marvellous illuminated mss and the only illustrated cycle of the Apocalyse produced by Ottonian book painters. From earliest times the workshop of Reichenau developed its own unique character, powerfully expressed in the 57 large format miniatures of this codex. The desire to achieve this high expressive power is paralleled by a reduction of spatiality and plasticity. Bright colored surfaces are limited by sweeping lines and an enhancement of form and movement allows a great intensity in the reproduction of the religious themes. Commentary, edited by Bernhard Schemmel and Gude Suckala-Redlefsen, with contributions by Renate Baumgärtel-Fleischmann, Avinoam Shalem, Yves Christe, Martina Pippal, Bernd Schneidmüller, Peter Wind, Peter Wünsche & Peter Klein. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in red silk.
[Bergamo, Civica Biblioteca ”Angelo Mai”, ms. VII. 14]
Model Book of Giovannino de Grassi.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1998. 17 x 22.7 cm, 62 pp + commentary.
This work is the best known and most precious manuscript in the Angelo Mai Library in Bergamo; it is commonly regarded as the most important example of late Italian gothic art. The master who painted this Ms is Giovanni de Grassi, a marvellous drawer, sculptor and the architect of the cathedral in Milan. At the height of his career de Grassi maintained contact with the most famous architects of the central European gothic cathedrals; this reinforced the Lombardian master’s position and probably led him to produce drawings in which he documented his artistic ideas. The codex was created in the later 14th century at the Visconti Court. A so-called model book, it comprises 77 drawings and letters of the alphabet in excellent quality. Model books of this kind were to be an indispensable aid in every artist’s workshop. They contained artful ornamental elements, perfect calligraphic initials and exotic animals like lions and leopards. They show both human beings and animals in their pose or specific activities. De Grassi’s book is so masterly executed that many painters used it as a model for their own creations. His model book is a true milestone in the history of art, created at the same time as the cathedral of Milan. Commentary by Orazio Bravi, Maria Grazia Recanati, Maria Grazia Vaccari & Letizia Montalbano. Limited edition of 999 copies.
[Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preuß. Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkab., 78 B 12]
Das Berliner Stundenbuch der Maria von Burgund und Kaiser Maximilians.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1998. 7 x 10.3 cm, 724 pp + commentary.
One of the most beautifully painted manuscripts of the princely Burgundian household is this Book of Hours of Mary of Burgundy and Emperor Maximilian. Their marriage culminated in the long planned liason of the houses of Habsburg and Burgundy. The codex probably dates back to the time of their marriage somewhere between 1477 and 1480. This makes it one of the earliest examples of the new style which was to mark late Burgundian book painting until the late 16th century. The miniatures of this book of hours are among the most extraordinary examples of the art of book painting which captures the world even in the smallest formats. The most famous one is the full picture of “The Three Living and the Three Dead”. The three-dimensional floral ornamental borders lend form to detailed pictorial fields showing precise depictions of Bible scenes and the lives of the Saints. Presenting both interiors and wide landscapes the artist competes with the best panel painters of this time. He set new standards not only in panel painting but also in illuminations. The perspectives had changed tremendously, the scenes described with suspense and drama when dealing with passion and martyrdom, with poetry when commemorating the childhood of Jesus or the Holy Virgin. More than a generation later Simon Bening was to rely on more than one idea from the Berlin Book of Hours. We do not know the name of the painter who created the great majority of the miniatures; although this excellent artist appears only in a very small number of manuscripts, he has long been known as “the Berlin Master of Mary of Burgundy”. Commentary by Eberhard König, Bodo Brinkman, Fedje Anzelewsky & Frauke Steenbock. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in red velvet, with the partially gilded sterling clasps; leather case in the style of the original. €4980
[Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Mss.h.h.I.16]
Diebold Schillings Spiezer Bilderchronik.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1990. 28 x 39 cm, 808, 600 pp.
This final work of Schilling the Elder was commissioned by Rudolf von Erlach in 1479. It covers the foundation of Berne up to the year 1465. The beautiful illuminated manuscript derives its name from the castle of Spiez where it was kept until 1875. Commentary in German and French. Limited edition of 980 copies. Binding recreates original, in embossed leather, on four double ribs, & 2 clasps.
[Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale, 11060-61]
Die Brüsseler Stundenbuch.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1996. 18.5 x 27.5 cm, 276 pp + commentary.
This codex is another one of the treasures that belonged to the Duke of Berry, as is indicated by the presence of the ducal arms and his emblem in the borders of the book. There have been many questions regarding the artists of this codex; among the names that are brought up are André Beauneveu, a sculptor and painter from Hennegau, highly regarded by his contemporaries. He painted the minatures in the introduction of the Psalter of the Duke of Berry and was the supervisor of the Duke’s art collection. One of the outstanding features of the Brussels codex, attributed to Beauneveu, is the double page grisaille. On the other hand, the large miniatures without tracery and quite independent in style in a simple rectangle (like “windows” cut into the vellum) are possibly executed by Jacquemart, a miniaturist from the town of Hesdin in the north of France. Jacquemart symbolizes a turning point in the painting of northern Europe: he transformed the miniature into a full page independent picture, after the Italian model. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in red kidskin, with gold tooling. Commentary with contributions by Pierre Cockshaw, Bernard Bousmanne & Gerhard Schmidt.
[Brussels, Bibl. Royale Albert I, 9428]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2007. 14.7 x 20.5 cm, 310 pp + commentary.
The Echternach Pericopes, from the famous scriptorium of Echternach (situated in what is now Luxembourg), was created around 1030. Just as Reichenau had previously been the first monastery in the Ottonian realm, Echternach was the family convent of the Salian emperors. It also developed its own formal vocabulary, which was based on both older—i.e. late antique, Carolingian, Byzantian and even Insular—and contemporary exemplars. The Echternach Pericopes opens with a display of incredible opulence: two purple pages with fabric imitations (resembling a cover for the unbound body of the book) are followed by a marvellous Maiestas Domini on a royal ground of purple and gold. The ensuing pages are dedicated to the four evangelist portraits, the picture cycle for the Gospels as well as to miniatures showing two saints on a generously applied golden ground. The MS is decorated with a total of 41 gilded miniatures, 13 profusely ornate text pages, as well as over 250 lavishly enlaced gold initials that extend over several lines. Even though a number of scenes seem to follow a predetermined pattern, the monks of Echternach liked to deviate from the usual compositions of their day. For example they created an Annunciation to the Shepherds, which rather than being part of the Nativity, was conceived as a homogenous miniature of its own. The wonderfully glowing colors perfectly match the gold in both frame and nimbs. An absolutely unique feature is the cycle of St. Stephanus, which is composed of 7 self-contained pictures. No other MS is known to contain a similar picture sequence about this martyr. The impressive cycle not only depicts the search for and discovery of the holy man’s bones but also deals with the life and work of the ordinary population. Motifs range from peasants digging with hoe and spade, to vintners being paid with gold pieces.Commentary by Anton von Eux, Bernard Bousmanne & Martina Pippal. Deluxe edition of 980 copies, bound in half leather with heavy oakwook cover and brass clasp—a faithful reproduction of the original; in addition the facsimile is presented in a special wooden box with an elaborate replica of a bone carving inlaid with ornate openwork containing partly painted decorative plates, after a 12th-c. binding of the gospel book now at the abbey of St. Peter in Salzburg.
[Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, Parker Library, Ms 53]
Das Bestiarium aus Peterborough.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2003. 23.6 x 34.8 cm, 44 pp + commentary.
Animal books have been known since classical antiquity and they were among the most popular illustrated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Popular with both ecclesiastical and secular audiences, bestiaries, together with psalters and apocalypses, were widely read in England and northern France. The Peterborough Bestiary, produced c.1300, is one of the largest manuscripts of its kind and among the most sumptuously decorated extant bestiaries displaying more than 100 animals. They are painted and described in accordance with the customs of the time interpreting their behavior from a Christological perspective. People believed in animals that did not exist and fabulous qualities were attributed to many real animals. Today the Peterborough Bestiary fascinates readers with the wealth of late antique knowledge of biology, mythology and philosophy. The book is essentially based on a text called Physiologus probably written around 200 A.D. in Alexandria. Physiologus might be translated as someone knowledgeable in nature. The anonymous author uses this pseudonym to create allegorical links with God, mankind and the Devil, basing the behavior of real and fabulous animals on Christian faith. The text enjoyed great popularity and it was translated into many languages over the centuries and completed with additions from other knowledgeable sources. The most extensive addition to the original text goes back to the famous Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville from the 7th century. The transition from Romanesque to Gothic Art which started in France gave rise to a new style of painting in England. The desire for increased three dimensionality generally led to more graceful and swifter lines. The new aesthetics had an impact on the representation of animals, their bodies now standing out clearly from the background and the swift movements making them appear more natural. The miniatures of this Ms provide a vibrant panorama of the exotic fauna in a manner much closer to nature than preceeding Romanesque examples. Commentary, including transcription and translation of all the texts, by Christopher de Hamel & Lucy Freeman Sandler. Limited edition of 1480 copies, bound in leather with blind stamping after the original. €3480
[Cambridge, Trinity College, MS. R.16.2]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2004. 30.5 x 43.2 cm, 62 pp + commentary.
Among the splendid English apocalypses, the magnificent Trinity Apocalyse stands out as the culmination of manuscript illumination in the early Gothic period. It originated in the mid-13th century and describes with 15 richly colored miniatures, mysterious images and striking language the end of the world and last judgement as it was revealed by St. John. Each of the more than 100 pictures of the Apocalyse was painted with the greatest attention to detail; since all of St. John’s visions are portrayed in the miniatures, it is as if the reader is paging through a picture book of the Book of Revelations. There is an expert use of a wide variety of colors, ultra marine and indigo in the blue forms, at times soft and brilliant, which creates the impression of movement and liveliness. The use of silver and gold contribute to its spendor. It is believed that the codex was intended for aristocratic circles and scholars have surmised that Eleanor of Provence, wife of King Henry II, is depicted in some of the miniatures and perhaps was the patron of the manuscript. It begins and ends with a picture gallery illustrating St. John’s life. The idea of framing the revelations with the life of St. John was an innovation in the history of book illumination which became so popular that all English apocalypse manuscripts of the 13th century followed that form. Commentary by David McKitterick, Nigel Morgan, Ian Short & Teresa Webber. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in white goat leather, embossed with gold. Front and back covers decorated with the coat of arms of the English royal family. €3980
[Chantilly, Bibliothèque de Musée Condé, 65]
Les très riche heures du Duc de Berry.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1984. 22 x 29 cm, 416, 436 pp.
Contains 131 miniatures lavishly decorated with painted gold, gold leaf and partly with silver. 216 pages with gold initials and over 1,800 line indications in gold. Commissioned by the Duke c.1410, completed around 1485. The artists were the Limbourg brothers and Jean Colombe. Original preserved like a national treasure in the Musée Condé in Chantilly (now inaccesible). Separate commentary volume in Ger/Eng/Fr. Limited edition of 980 copies. Lucite box.
[Dublin, Trinity College Library, 58]
The Book of Kells.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1990. 24 x 33 cm, 680, 380 pp.
The Book of Kells was probably compiled on the Scottish island of Iona at the end of the 8th century. The Irish monks had been dedicated during the 5th to the 7th c. to spread the Christian faith all over Europe. It was called “The Time of Scholars and Saints”, when monasteries were influential and spiritual centers of Europe. In 806 when Iona was attacked by Vikings the monks presumably fled with the MS to Ireland. The MS was found buried at Kells and remained there until it was taken to Dublin during the reign of Cromwell. Around 1661 Henry Jones, Bishop of Meath, donated it to the library of Trinity College where it is kept to this day. The Book of Kells has been regarded as the most important medieval illuminated gospel book. Although it was cut down in size at some point in its history it remains majestic in scale. Its rich and complex decoration displays an incredible wealth of symbolic and mystical illumination; only 2 of its 680 pages are not decorated in full color. In the 12th century the priest Gerald of Wales called its design “the work of an angel, and not of a man”. Its miniatures of the early Middle Ages are among the most beautiful ever made. The MS contains mainly the four Gospels; however other texts like the canonical tables and a number of property deeds relating to the monastery of Kells are included. It must have been made in a scriptorium which knew all the secrets of the trade in manuscript production plus a profound knowledge of contemporary and historic art. There are few other books which express such symbolic and magical power. Separate commentary volume in Eng-Ger by Dr. J.J. Alexander (including contributions by other Irish and British scholars). Limited numbered edition edition of 1,480 copies bound by hand in white leather. Deluxe presentation box.
[Gotha, Forschungs- und Landesbibliothek, Memb.I 90]
Buch der Welt. Die Sächsische Weltchronik.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1996-2000. 22.5 x 31 cm, 330 pp + commentary.
In the famous library of the Castle of Gotha in Thüringen rests this rare illustrated book, the oldest German universal history, a parchment MS under the signature Memb. I 90. The book was brought to Gotha twice: during the 17th c. it came from Wittenburg, the city of Martin Luther, and then hundreds of years later, in the 20th c., it arrived from Leningrad, were the codex had been held as war booty. The two most important medieval documents in the field of history and geography are the Weltchronik of Rudolf von Ems and the Sächsische Weltchronik; the former, written in verse, came from the region of Lake Constance with such urban centers as Zürich and Constance; the latter, written in prose, originated in the land of the Elbe in the millieu of intellectual centers like Magdeburg and Halle. The Sächsische Weltchronik tells the history of the world from its beginning, from the creation of Adam and Eve and finishes with the Kingdom of the last Staufer monarch. The histories are narrated in a compressed form accompanied by 500 pictures. These miniatures are so vivid and full of fantasy that they leave engraved in our mind the figures and events that played an important role in the development of western civilization. Commentary by Maria Mitscherling, Karin Schneider, Rudolf Grosse, Renata Kroos & Hubert Herkommer. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in full leather with brass clasps.
[Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibl., Durlach 2]
Das deutsche Gebetbuch der Markgräfin von Brandenburg.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2002. 10.8 x 15.2 cm, 378 pp + commentary.
This prayer book, an example from the heyday of late gothic illumination from southern Germany, was produced in Augsburg in 1520. It was commissioned by Kasimir Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Susanna of Bavaria on the occasion of their marriage celebrations. It is most likely that Susanna comissioned the artist Narziss Renner with illuminating her prayer book. Renner, who at that time was only 18 years old, had already displayed a richness in ideas and naturalness. The use of well known models was then widespread and some of the miniatures in the princess' book can be traced back to works of Burkmair and Cranach. Furthermore, Renner's great affinity with the works of the wood sculptor Albrecht Altdorfer can be seen clearly; he had studied this master of the Danube School to such a degree that on occasions he outdid him in his dramatic reproduction of nature. The MS, a festive fireworks display of gold and color, captures the eye not only by its extravagant richness of color and design but by an abundance of endearing details taken from the private living circumstances of Susanna. Another special feature of this charming MS is the simultaneous use of different kinds of borders; a total of 214 pictures and text pages are framed by Flemish, Italian or German-inspired borders. Commentary by Ulrich Merkel and Ute Obhof; transcriptions by Michaela Neidl. Limited edition of 980 copies, gilt edges, bound in black velour leather with four ornamental buttons and a medallion laid in silver. €3800
[Leiden, Rijksuniversiteitsbibl., Ms. Voss. Lat.Q.79]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1987. 20 x 22.5 cm, 200, 200 pp.
In color and inlaid gold. 39 full-page miniatures. Of all the manuscripts on astronomy from the Carolingian Renaissance, the Aratea of Leyen is the most famous. Created by an unknown artist during the reign of Louis the Pious (814-840) in the second quarter of the 9th century. Original acquired by the University of Leyden in 1690; preserved in the Library as the most important manuscript owned by the Netherlands. Separate commentary volume in German. Limited edition of 980 copies. Binding matches the original, in napped, natural leather. Slipcase.
[London, British Library, Add. Ms. 18850]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2007. 21 x 27 cm, 330 pp + commentary.
The Bedford Hours represent an invaluable example of aristocratic bibliophily in the history of illumination. One of the richest Book of Hours ever to have left an illuminator's workshop—every page is illustrated—it became famous all over the world. The book contains an overwhelming abundance of biblical scenes, decorated with 1250 elaborate medallions, 38 large-format miniatures, finely executed in gold leaf, brush gold and frequently also with silver. Miniatures from the Bedford Hours, such as the Ark of Noah or the Creation, are among the most frequently represented examples of the creativity which marked the first decades of the 15th century. The same period also gave birth to such wonderful works as the Master of Game of Gaston Pheobus and the Belles Heures of the Duke of Berry. It was the pinnacle of Gothic illumination, with new ideas of Flemish realism already visible on the horizon. Although the artist of the Bedford Hours was among the leading and most prolific painters of his day, his identity has sadly remained a mystery. His nickname goes back to the Duke of England who has long been thought to have commissioned the work: John of Lancaster (1389-1435), Duke of Bedford and younger brother of the English king Henry V. The illuminator of the this Book of Hours thus entered art history under the title of Bedford Master, a name synonymous with high quality painting and luxurious opulence in books. Commentary by Eberhard König. Binding in red velvet with gilded clasps. sFr18400 (more info... )
[London, British Library, Add. 34294, parts I-IV]
The Sforza Hours. Add. Ms. 34294 of the British Library, London. Vol.1-4. Introduction by Mark L. Evans. [standard edition]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1993-95. 10 x 14 cm, 700 pp (4 vols), 860.
This Book of Hours, commissioned by Duchess Bona, wife of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, was illuminated by Birago and Horenbout. Birago was a master at depicting the workings of the psyche. Faces reflect their owners’ souls; the Renaissance lays moods and emotions bare. Leonardo, also working at the Sforza Court at this time, may have had a hand in the creation of the work too. In the composition of landscapes which often feature cliffs and rocky outcrops, Birago appears to be influenced by Andrea Mantegna. The MS is a feast of color. Its spectacular palette and richly decorated illustrations are unusual, even for an epoch in which color played such an important role. When the book was stolen in the 15th c. before its completion, Birago’s estimate of its value at 500 ducats was five times higher than Leonardo’s “Virgin of the Rocks”. Limited edition of 980 copies, with gilt edges. Binding in red velvet with clasps in 925 solid sterling silver, after the original. Velvet case. €7980
[London, British Library, Add. 34294, part I]
The Sforza Hours. Add. Ms. 34294 of the British Library, London. Vol.1.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1993. 10 x 14 cm, 80 pp.
[London, British Library, Add. 34294, part II]
The Sforza Hours. Add. Ms. 34294 of the British Library, London. Vol.2.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1994. 10 x 14 cm, 252 pp.
[London, British Library, Add. 34294, part III]
The Sforza Hours. Add. Ms. 34294 of the British Library, London. Vol.3.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2002. 10 x 14 cm, 168 pp.
[London, British Library, Add. 34294, part IV]
The Sforza Hours. Add. Ms. 34294 of the British Library, London. Vol.4.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2002. 10 x 14 cm, 186 pp.
[London, British Library, Cotton Nero D.iv]
Das Buch von Lindisfarne. [standard edition].
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2002. 24.5 x 34 cm, 518 pp + commentary.
The monastery of Lindisfarne, located on the coast of Northumbria on a small piece of land called “Holy Island”, was founded in 635 AD. St. Cuthbert, a venerated saint then and now, lived as a hermit near the abbey, although at one time he had been the bishop of Lindisfarne. A few years after his death in 687 he was canonized. The Lindisfarne Gospels, a splendid medieval MS was created by his brothers in his memory. Despite its age, almost 1300 years old, the Lindisfarne Gospels is in an extremely good state of preservation. The monks venerated the Gospels like a relic, art historians and paleographers see in its unfathomable wealth a foundation for further development in the Occident, and linguists find in it the oldest translation from Latin into ancient English. In the British Library it is kept as a national treasure. The Gospels contain the Latin text of the four gospels according to the vulgate version of St. Jerome. Each gospel opens with an introductory explanation, a summary of chapters and a calendar with the liturgical feast days. In addition, three prefaces, led by St. Jerome’s letter to Pope Damasus, procede the text. A series of sumptuously decorated canon tables opens the book. Monk Eadfrith, who became bishop of Lindisfarne shortly after Cuthbert’s canonization, is responsible not only for the complete copy of the gospel text in a beautiful insular majuscule but for its entire illumination. An inscription in the MS from the 10th c. names his successor Æthelwald as the bookbinder and Billfirth the hermit as the goldsmith who executed the ornamentation on the binding. Five extraordinary carpet pages present the whole range of insular ornaments in all their splendor of form and color. The Cross-carpet pages proceeding each gospel are equally rich in their ornamentation with large decorative initials stretching over the whole page. In the canon tables and portraits of the Evangelists the Lindisfarne Gospels show the influences of the Mediterranean and Celtic cultures blended into a masterpiece of insular book production. Commentary by Michelle Brown. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in full leather. (N.B. The deluxe edition, with Victorian binding and decorative stones, is sold out). €13800
[London, British Library, Kings Ms. 5]
Biblia pauperum (“Goldene Bilderbibel”).
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1993. Oblong, 37 x 18 cm, 62 pp + commentary.
Unique medieval MS illustrating scenes from the Bible, produced in The Hague during the late 14th and early 15th c. It is a product of a thriving new center of arts established in that city by the Court of Albrecht of Bavaria and his second wife Margaret of Cleves. Stylistic similarities with Margaret’s “Book of Hours” suggest it was illustrated by the same artist. All 93 miniatures in the MS were painted on burnished gold backgrounds, an unusual feature of a biblia pauperum. The illustrations appear on the rectos while the versos remain blank, and they are grouped together typologically: groups of three miniatures, each depicting an important event in the life of Christ, make up a complete picture cycle. Selected scenes from the New Testament are flanked by two scenes from the Old Testament, in keeping with the Christian belief that the two Testaments comprise a unity and that prophecies made in the Old prefigure in the New. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in leather (after the original).
[London, British Library, Stowe 955]
Pierre Sala. Petit livre d’amour. Stowe MS 955, British Library, London. [standard edition].
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1994. 10 x 13 cm, 40; v, 401 pp.
The French poet Pierre Sala presented this beautiful manuscript to his future wife Marguerite Bulliard possibly between 1500 and 1519. Sala was born in 1457 in Lyon, the son of a wealthy family and member of the French court. The Book of Love is one of those rare volumes which through the intimacy of its verses and its sensitive and beautifully executed miniatures enchant the reader from the outset. This work is original in many ways, especially in the manifold relations between pictures and text. The text is not exclusively about love but addresses other more philosophical subjects such as the nature ofwisdom, mendacity, success or the state of the world and society. Sala’s Ms has been attributed to the final years of Charles VIII’s reign, or the first few of Louis XII’s. Although we know very little about Sala’s life we know what he looked like, thanks to the superbly executed portrait of him found in the book. It is a unique work in book illumination of this period. It was painted by Jean Perréal, known as Jean de Paris, a friend of Sala. He was highly regarded for his talents as a portrait painter and is reputed to have given lessons in miniature painting to Leonardo. His portrait of of Sala is an early milestone in the history of miniature portraiture and the illustrations in the Book of Love are masterpieces of art at the French court. Commentary by Janet Backhouse & Yves Giraud. Limited edition of 690 copies, case bound, in brown paper boards.
[Lucern, Zentralbibliothek, S. 23]
Lucerne Chronicles of Diebold Schilling.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1981. 28.5 x 39.5 cm, 680 pp + commentary.
The Lucerne Chronicle of Diebold Schilling, a Swiss history in pictures, from the year 1513, is considered the most beautiful of all illuminated chronicles ever made in the Swiss Confederation. It reflects the political, social, economic and religious life of a medieval town and of a whole country, and depicts a wide range of medieval subjects. The Chronicle provides a true mine of information for any historic discipline. Two painters participated in the decoration of the work; some pictures are by Diebold Schilling and others by an unknown master. Diebold Schilling’s was a more naive, precise technique, and strong colors which show the influence of the Gothic style. The illustrations of the unknown master are carried out in brighter colors and his brush painting is influenced by the Renaissance. Commentary provides full transcription of text and historical and artistic analysis. Bound in tooled leather, decorated with brass fittings, central rosettes and designs after the original.
[Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, cgm 8010/1.2]
Die Ottheinrich Bibel.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2002. 37.2 x 53.2 cm, 156 pp + commentary.
Around the year 1425 an anonymous member of the Court commissioned one the finest German Bible manuscripts in Regensburg. From the 10th century the illuminators’ workshops in Regensburg inspired the schools in the Danube region, where monasteries specialized in illustrated luxury mss. Thanks to Ottheinrich, the bibliophile Elector Palatine (1502-1559) who bought the manuscript c.1530 as a showpiece for his prestigious Biblioteca Palatina, this magnificient work of art and monument to the German language has been saved. Ottheinrich hired the Renaissance master Matthias Gerung to continue the decoration of the manuscript and the artist made it into the sumptuous and unequaled edition of the New Testament that we know today. In total 8 volumes containing the new Testament in German comes down to us. MS cgm 8010/1.2 reproduced here (the first 2 volumes of the Ottheinrich Bible), encompasses the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark as well as portions of the Gospel of St. Luke. Its importance among the masterpieces of German art cannot be overstated; the Bible is also of the greatest interest in the history of the German language since it was written at a time when Luther’s translation of the New Testament was still 100 years in the future. The Bible is lavishly illustrated with sparkling gold and precious colors. The two principal masters are from the school of the leading Regensburgian artist of this period—”Master of the Carrying of the Cross of Worcester”—and are named “Master of St. Matthew” and “Master of St. Mark”. The miniatures of the Master of St. Matthew recall the style of Giotto; his color palette comprises violet and grey tones to underline the modelling of the figures. The Master of St. Mark also follows the Italian models; a talented storyteller he tries to animate the scenes depicted by enlargement and imaginative drama. Although sharing a common stylistic background both artists developed an individual painting technique to utmost perfection. Commentary by Robert Suckale, Jeffrey Hamburger, Brigitte Gullath & Karin Schneider. Limited edition of 980 copies, with binding featuring gold and blind tooling, 8 bosses and 4 clasps; front cover shows Ottheinrich's in gold tooling, the back cover his coat of arms.
[Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 4456]
Sakramentar Heinrichs II
Munich: Faksimile-Verlag, 2010. 24.2 x 29.5 cm, 718 pp + commentary.
The Sacramentary of Henry II is one of the last highlights of Ottonian illumination. A great-grandson of the founder of the dynasty of Saxon emperors, Henry II ordered this book in Regensburg for the ceremonial celebration of the masses, while he still occupied the throne. Like all manuscripts of its kind, the Sacramentary of Henry II contains the prayers said by the priest or bishop when celebrating mass. Richly decorated with gold and silver initials in the Ottonian style, these texts are inserted after an extensive picture cycle, full-page ornamental texts, and a calendar in chrysographic script. The illuminated manuscript opens like fireworks introducing a big celebration: the plates of the months are followed by a coronation picture and a picture of Henry II on the throne, expressing the very essence of how the last Saxon emperor saw an ideal rulership. In addition to other luxury pages, Gregory the Great is honored with an imposing author’s picture. After a concluding page with the Lamb of God, the Sacramentary begins – no longer written and painted on vellum but on fine sheep’s parchment. €26500
[Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 15713]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1998. 29 x 37.2 cm, 2 vols, 140, 176 pp.
The Salzburg Pericope belongs to the tradition of Ottonian book illumination closely related to Carolingian style. It was probably executed around 1020 in Salzburg during the reign of Emperor Henry II, and like all great MSS from the Ottonian period, was created in a monastery. It was commissioned by Hartwig, Archbishop of Salzburg and destined for liturgical use on selected high feast days of the church year. The marriage of Emperor Otto to the Byzantine princess Theophano caused a wave of Byzantine influence in the arts which enriched book illumination with expressive gestures and Byzantine figure modelling. The scriptoria throughout the empire were also exposed to the influence of the Salzburg school, or more precisely, the Regensburg tradition. The Salzburg Pericope represents a synthesis of the new Byzantine movement and the German book arts of the 11th century. Overwhelming gold inlay or decoration is one the main features of this manuscript. 12 precious ivory tables are embedded in the front cover of the red leather binding, probably a work of the 11th century, which harks back to artists from the southern France or from northern Spain. The tablets, originally designed for a portable altar, are the only surviving examples of their kind. We do not know when and how they found their way to Salzburg as nothing is known about the manuscript’s provenance before the 19th century. Commentary by Hermann Fillitz, Heinrich Dopsch, Hermann Hauke, Ulrich Kuder, Martina Pippal & Peter Wind. Deluxe edition of 180 copies (sold out); standard edition of 300 copies, bound in red kidskin with tooling and clasps. €9980
[Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 23637]
Simon Bening: Das Blumen-Stundenbuch / Le livre d’heures aux fleurs. [standard edition]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1991. 11.2 x 16.5 cm, 438 pp + commentary.
Already during his lifetime Simon Bening achieved great fame for his Books of Hours which were treasured all over Europe; by 1530 he was recognized as one of the best artists in this genre. It is at this time that the “Flower Book of Hours” was commissioned. Bening’s magnificent work features an incredible variety of illuminations: 1,399 ornamented initials, 1,320 flowers, 78 birds, and different types of butterflies, snails and insects. Its richness of decoration is hardly found—before or after—in any other Book of Hours. Commentary by Eberhard König and Bodo Brinkmann. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in velvet.
[Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 23638]
Simon Bening’s Flemish Calendar.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1988. 10 x 14 cm, 60, 484 pp.
Printed in 10 colors including gold and silver. This delightful book of hours by the greatest illuminator of the time, Simon Bening (Bruges) was commissioned by an unknown aristocratic personality. Commentary volume in Ger-Fr-Eng. Limited edition of 980 copies, gilt edges, bound in purple velvet with 12 rosettes, & corners and clasps in 925 solid sterling silver, after the original; lucite box.
[New York, Metropolitan Museum, Cloisters, Acc. no. 54.1.1]
Belles heures du Duc de Berry.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2003. 17 x 25 cm, 448 pp + commentary.
The library of the Duke of Berry was legendary; it had close to 300 MSS which were not only of great variety but, in their majority, outstanding in their quality and rich decoration. For his most personal Book of Hours, the "Belles Heures", the Duke engaged the most famous book painters of the time: Pol, Herman and Jehanequin Limbourg. The Limbourg brothers were born in the last quarter of the 14th c., the sons of a woodcarver. They grew up in the crafts quarter of the town of Nijmegen, capital of the Duchy of Gelderland on the Meuse. In Paris they were first apprenticed to a goldsmith and around 1400, Pol and Jehanequin entered the services of the Duke of Burgundy whose brother, the Duke of Berry, had inspired him with a passion for beautiful books. After their employer died in 1404, the three brothers went to work for the Duke of Berry as painters to his court and were entrusted with the decoration of the "Belles Heures". In this Codex, all the 172 miniatures of the Limbourg brothers have a vivacity and colourfulness that secured them a place in the history of illumination. The luxurious decoration is extraordinary in its exhuberance, the combination of gold leaf and shell gold and the perfection achieved in the ornamented initials that extend over one or several lines and are painted in red, blue and glowing gold. The painters executed five additional picture cycles after its completion suggesting the extremely high degree of autonomy that the Duke allowed them. Certain innovations are testimony of the patron's influence on this work; scenes of study and learning that had never been painted in this manner before show the Duke's great interest in science and scholarship. The fruitful combination of the Duke's generous patronage and the unique talent of the brothers brought a working atmosphere of unmatched creativity; without it a masterpiece such as the "Belles Heures" would not have been possible. Commentary by Eberhard Konig (in Ger) and Millard Meiss (in Eng). Limited edition 980 copies, bound in morocco leather with gold tooling in 17th-c. style. €9980
[New York, Metropolitan Museum, The Cloisters, 54.1.2]
Prayerbook of Jeanne d’Evreux.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1999. 6 x 9 cm, 418 pp + commentary.
This Book of Hours, one of the very earliest ones in this genre and one of the smallest, was made between 1325 and 1328 for Jeanne d’Evreux, consort of the French King Charles IV. It is embellished with 25 miniatures, all of them demi-grisaille, a painting technique using mainly shades of grey and coloring for the figures’ faces and hands. These refined illustrations are the work of Jean Pucell and are the most graceful and innovative of their time showing the influence of Italian painting. Pucell’s work, which combined the Italian and French techniques, represents the first attempt ever made North of the Alps to introduce three-dimensionality in painting. The countless drolleries found on almost every page of this MS is another of its characteristic features. The margins surrounding the text are densely populated with groups of figures playing burlesque scenes or harlequinades. One finds the most incredible creatures and life in all its fantastic variations appearing in this Book of Hours. This masterpiece of the 14th-c. belongs to those medieval works of art where the sacred and the profane, and the serious and the comical are allowed to stand side by side. Commentary edited by Barbara Boehm. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in tooled leather with clasp. sFr6600
[New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M.50]
Prayer Book of Anne of Bretagne.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1998. 8 x 12.5 cm, 62 pp + commentary.
This richly illustrated little book was commmissioned by Anne of Brittany, wife of two successive Kings of France, Charles VIII and Louis XII, and thus twice Queen of France, for herself and her son Charles-Orland. It was made in Tours between 1492 and 1495 and is the work of an excellent illuminator of the time—Jean Poyet—who is mentioned by contemporary authors in the same breath as Roger van der Weyden, Hugo von der Goes and Jean Fouquet. Like Fouquet, Poyet worked in Tours and was the undisputed successor of the great Jean Bourdichon. His extraordinary talent is shown in his extremely spacious and vaporous landscapes. Graciously presented figures, bright and unusual combination of colors and the architecture of Italian influence are typical of his miniatures and announce the advent of the Renaissance in France. The book reflects Anne's personal ideas and her aspiration to live in faith, a philosophy she wanted to pass to her son, the future King of France. She inserted a prayer specially designed for this purpose, a supplication for the wisdom the King would need. Unfortunately Charles-Orland died at the age of three; the small prayer book, a testimony to motherly love and care has survived. For all her life Anne was a generous patron of the visual arts, literature and music. Her personal library comprised more than 3,000 volumes including religious, historic and literary books and she had a good command of Latin, Greek and some Hebrew. Poyet, whom she charged the execution of her prayer book, was highly esteemed by three royal courts but in the 19th c. fell into undeserved oblivion. This facsimile of one of his most beautiful works helps to restore the position he deserves among western book painters. Commentary by Roger S. Wieck and Michelle Hearne. Limited edition of 1980 copies, bound in burgundy velvet with scarlet leather case. €860
[New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M.493]
Das Schwarze Stundenbuch.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2001. 12 x 17 cm, 242 pp + commentary.
The Black Hours, a book of unequalled luxury, was made c.1475 in Bruges, probably in the circle of Willen Vrelant, the leading illuminator of the time. All 121 of its vellum folios are stained black. The production of a codex on black parchment was an extremely costly and delicate one; the parchment was immersed in an iron copper solution to obtain the black coloring before it was painted. This immersion process was, in the long run, detrimental to the MS, as the dye made the parchment fragile and brittle, and thus it is no wonder why only a handful of these codices have survived. The Black Hours, one of them, is a splendid jewel in black, silver, gold and blue. More than half of the folios are ornate with large borders grounded in a gleaming blue color; a particular feature of this work is the more than 30 sumptuous initials, in gold leaf on an emerald ground, extending over more than one line to divide the text. Each prayer is introduced by a full page picture. Black MSS are closely associated with the ascent of the dukes of Burgundy; the dukes ruled over Bruges and were well known as patrons of the arts commissioning MSS and tapestries for their residences. Vrelant, Jean van Eyck and Simon Bening were active in Bruges and the city became the heart of European book illumination in the second half of the 15th c. The combination of religious thinking and the fashionable splendor of the Burgundian court is the foundation of the Black Hours, a precious and rare MS. Commentary by Bernard Bousmanne and William Voelkle. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in black velvet with gilded clasp and decorative buttons.
[New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Ms.638; Santa Monica, J. Paul Getty Museum; Paris, Bibl. Nationale]
The Crusader Bible (Die Kreuzrittelbibel). Pierpont Morgan Library, Ms.638.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1998. 29.5 x 39 cm, 92 pp + commentary.
Louis IX (1214-1270), also known as St. Louis, commissioned the paintings for this book around 1250 with the thought that they would form an “illustrated” Bible. The paintings, organized as a chronical of biblical events, cover an impressive period that stretches from the creation of the world to the times of King David. In 92 large format pages and with 283 fantastic miniatures we can follow the Holy Wars, the expulsion of the Israelites, the conquest of the Holy Land. Costumes, armor and weapons are seen in dazzling detail and the French Christian King and Saint appears as warrior and conqueror. The paintings are by 6 artists, each characterized by differences in style, structure, intensity and palatte and the application of gold. Louis IX and his mother Blanche of Castile encouraged and influenced the arts during a period of 44 years, a period which became known as “St. Louis style”. A few months after Jerusalem had fallen in the hands of the Muslims and after recovering from a serious illness, the King became a crusader in Dec. of 1244. From 1248 to 1254 the King successfully led the 7th crusade, although he became a captive in an Egyptian prison and was only released after a huge randsom was paid. During his imprisonment he was very much impressed by his Muslim captives and their knowledge of books. Interestingly the Crusader Bible contained no text in 1250; in 1300 (at which time it was possibly owned by Louis’ brother Charles) a Latin text was added in the margins. Stylistic analysis reveals that the work was executed in a Neapolitan scriptorium. In 1607 the Shah of Abbas, Persia, acquired the manuscript. Having a great interest in miniatures and admiring the work done with the text by the Italians, he had a second text, in Persian, added. There were however 3 pages that he disliked, those that showed the rebellion of Absalom against his father David, and he removed them. Luckily the discarded pages have survived (now in Santa Monica and Paris) and are incorporated into this facsimile edition. Commentary by Daniel Weiss and William Voekle. Limited edition of 980 copies.
[New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M.945 & 917]
Das Stundenbuch der Katharina von Kleve.
Munich: Faksimile-Verlag, 2009. 13 x 19.1 cm, 714 pp + commentary.
Around the year 1430 artists in Utrecht—or perhaps also in Nijmegen—produced a marvellous book of hours for the Duchess of Guelders, a book that both in terms of volume and quality is unmatched even in the later period of book painting. A grandchild of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, Catherine of Cleves was the addressee for whom the namesake master decorated this 714-page manuscript book with 157 miniatures. The work’s high quality and enormous iconographic variety lead us to assume that the Master of Catherine of Cleves must have been familiar with the art of the van Eyck brothers and with French illumination of his own day. On the other hand, he developed his own unmistakeable style which was to influence illuminators after him, not only in the Netherlands. Neither Willem Vrelant nor the Master of Mary of Burgundy are conceivable without this greatest of all Dutch book painters. A book like a picture gallery—157 half- and full-page miniatures with opulent frames—make the Hours of Catherine of Cleves the largest coherent picture gallery of Dutch art from the 15th century. Many of these pictures are not only extraordinary in terms of form and content but also unique in the truest meaning of the word: nowhere else in late medieval art do we find parallels or correspondences to this work. Some of the impressive depictions, such as Purgatory and Hell, anticipate themes from the works of Hieronymus Bosch. And we even discover elements that hint at Dutch genre painting of later centuries. The margins of this MS are like an additional book within the book, giving the work a particular cheerfulness, for instance on the page where St. Bartholomew is framed with fresh pastries and crispy pretzels. Commentary by a team of scholar under the direction of Eberhard König. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in brown leather with gilded clasp and generous blindstamping in the style of a historical binding from Utrecht. €9980
[New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M. 1044]
Gaston Phoebus—The Master of Game.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2007. 28.6 x 38.5 cm, 256 pp + commentary.
Gaston III, Count of Foix and Béarn (called "Phoebus"—after the Sun god— because of his golden blond hair) composed his Livre de chasse between 1387-1389. Organized in 4 parts and written in a clear narrative voice, the work not only depicts the multi-faceted forms of hunting, but presents an impressive knowledge of the natural sciences—long before the age of modern empirical science—with detailed observations on the various animal species. Livre de chasse has become the most famous hunting book of the middle ages (altogether 46 copies of the work have survived). The Pierpont Morgan Library's presentation manuscript—created in the atelier of the "Master of Bedford" and commissioned by Philip the Bold (1342-1404)—is one of the most beautiful of them all, with its clear French "textura" hand (written in a Gasconian dialect), 87 precious miniatures and 126 large-format initials. Commentary by Yves Christe, William Voelke and François Avril. Limited edition of 980 copies bound in quarter vellum. sFr10800 (more info... )
[Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fr. 2810]
Marco Polo: The Book of Wonders. Ms. fr. 2810, Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1994. 30 x 42 cm, 192 pp + commentary.
“One must certainly know that no human has ever seen so many and so powerful things as Marco Polo”–Rusticello von Pisa, 1298. One of the most fascinating illuminated MSS ever produced; here are the fabulous experiences of the most important European discoverer, Marco Polo (1254-1324). His accounts are the first Western documents of the peoples and lands of the Orient. It was natural that such a special book, where fantasy and reality are so closely interwoven, was illustrated by artists like the Master of Boucicaut. He painted the cycle of Marco Polo’s trips with beautiful figures and luminous colors; his miniatures show his predilection for pure, geometric forms and his sharp sense of linear perspective as seen in his rendering of lands and skies. These paintings and text are full of information and like mirrors reflect a world and time that has not yet ceased to amaze us. Limited edition of 980 copies, leather bound.
[Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, lat. 18014]
Les petites heures du Duc de Berry.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1988-1989. 15 x 21 cm, 2 vols, 586, 461 pp.
Jean de France, Duke of Berry, a great patron of the arts and collector, was born in 1340; the son, brother and uncle of three different kings of France. These family relations and his position as duke ruling over a large part of the French heartland places him next to the great princes of his time. His MS collection outdid by far those of other princely courts. Around 1372 the Duke commissioned the Petites Heures; five illuminators were responsible for its decoration. This cooperation between artists was not unusual at the time but these five miniaturists achieved unequalled results. First, the great Jean Le Noir was entrusted with the execution of the decoration; he had since 1340 dominated French book illumination and still produced masterpieces after forty years of activity. Following the famous painting tradition of Jean Purcelle he created the Passion of Christ, the introductory picture to the Penitential Psalms and scenes from the office of John the Baptist. Although these illustrations were completed by his successors they betray his unique art of composition. After his death the MS was interrupted for a few years; later on, probably between 1385 and 1390, the famous Master Jacquemart and some of his colleagues including the Master of Trinity were asked to complete the work. Around 1400, after completion of the MS, the duke had a miniature added by one of the Limbourg brothers. The diversity of these different artists places the Petites Heures among the most important works of late medieval book illumination, at the change from the art of the French court, around the end of the 14th century, to the beginning of what later became known as the International Gothic style. The book offers a true gallery of pictures which would do credit to any museum; the fine illustrations were conceived as artful visual elements underlining the significance of the devotional text and deal with important subjects of the Christian faith. There are 119 gold and silver miniatures and lavish verse initials on almost every page, magnificent scrollwork and countless birds and butterflies. Today, we know that the Duke, who died in 1416, carried this Book of Hours with him on his numerous journeys. Commentary by Francois Avril, Louise Dunlap and Brundson Yapp. Limited edition of 980 copies, gilt edged, bound in full leather. (few copies left)
[Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, nouv. acq. lat. 3093]
Les très belles heures de Notre-Dame du Duc de Berry.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1992. 20 x 28 cm, 2 vols, 252 pp + commentary.
This Book of Hours represents one the the high points in Western illuminated art. Created during the end of the 14th c. and beginning of the 15th, the book features the work of several artists and several generations, among them the Master of Parement de Narbonne and the Limbourg brothers. The Duke of Berry, son of Jean II the “Good”, was born in 1340. A passionate collector, he filled his 17 castles with magnificent works of art, jewelry, tapestries and books. His 15 Books of Hours were among the finest of the time and this MS ranks at the top. A gift to his treasurer, Robinet d’Estampes, the book has all the essential elements of the genre: the prayers of the Virgin, the hours for the Passion, the Penitential Psalms and Office of the Dead. The 25 pages of miniatures are a testimony of a remarkable unity of conception. Commentary: Eberhard König. Limited edition of 980 copies, with gilt edges and binding in leather with generous gold stamping.
[Paris, Musée du Louvre, RF 2022-2025 & Turin, Bibli. Nazionale Univ., K.IV29]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1994. 17.3 x 26.8 cm, 8 pp + commentary.
These four leaves, five with miniatures and three with text, belong to the monumental three-part project commissioned by the Duke of Berry, consisting of a Book of Hours, a Prayer Book and a Missal. They come from the second part of the great project (known as the “Turin” Hours”) which was lost in 1904 in a terrible fire in Turin. Their very survival is due to the fact that they were stolen from the MS! The facsimile edition includes 40 B & W reproductions of the Turin Hours taken before its destruction in 1904. Commentary volume by Eberhard König, Angelo Giaccaria, and François Huot O.S.B. Limited edition of 980 copies in handsome linen portfolio. €860
[Philadelphia, Free Library, Widener 1]
Jacques Bruyant: Le livre du chastel de labour (The Way of Poverty or Riches).
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2005. 14.4 x 20.7 cm, 146 pp + commentary.
While at first glance it appears to be a book of hours, this manuscript is a guide to happiness for the newly-wed nobleman. In secular poetry and with pictures, the art of living and working congenially is portrayed. The text was written c.1342 by Jacques Bruyant, a clergyman from Paris. A great number of ms copies bear testimony to the popularity of his work but only one single copy was illustrated with miniatures. The priceless work is part of a small group of illuminated mss made in the circle of the famous Bedford Master of Paris. For more than 25 years, starting c.1410, the Master remained one of the most significant illuminators of Europe. His art was inspired by the Limbourg brothers but he introduced new creative elements: well balanced compositions with refined colorings, marvellous perspective, dimensionality of forms and faces, plus sumptuous borders. His images help us discover the medieval world largely through details, individualistic facial expressions and realistic elements which betray his exact sense of observation. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in red velvet with gilt edges and four gilt silver fittings. Commentary by Eberhard König & William Lang. €3480
[St. Gall, Vadiana Cantonal Library]
Rudolf von Ems: Weltchronik / Der Stricker: Karl der Grosse.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1982. 20 x 30 cm, 2 vols, 588, 370 pp.
214 double pages with 47 miniatures plus 76 Two major Middle Age German works are united in this codex. The World Chronicle is followed by Stricker’s Charlemagne, which stems from the old French La chanson de Roland and tells of the beginning of the Western Empire. The World Chronicle by Rudolf von Ems covers the history of the world from the creation until the death of Solomon in over 33,000 verses. Original in the Vadiana Cantonal Library in St. Gall. Separate commentary volume in Ger Limited edition of 980 copies. Binding matches original, in cowhide with brass clasps and fittings.
[Santa Monica, J. Paul Getty Museum]
Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta – Ms. 20 (86 MB 527). [standard edition].
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1994. 12.4 x 16.6 cm, 2 vols, 412 + commentary.
Every page of this MS, one of the treasures of the Getty, reveals a marvel in calligraphy and painting. Georg Bocskay, on commission by the Habsburg Kaiser Ferdinand I, executed the script in 1561-62, a time when Vienna and Prague were important art centers. Thirty years later, Rudolf II, uncle of Ferdinand, commissioned Joris Hoefnagel, one of the last great Flemish illustrators, to provide the illustrations. The finished product is nothing short of remarkable: every page dazzles us with the magic of the letters and the perfection of the paintings. The leaves, insects and animals are so real that they seem to move across the pages, and each is provided with its exact zoological and botanical name in Latin and German. The book is undisputably one of the last monuments coming out of the great tradition of book arts from the Middle Ages. Commentary: Lee Hendrix & Thea Vignau-Wilberg. Standard edition with linen boards. sFr360
[Santa Monica, J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 37]
Das Gebetbuch Karls des Kühnen.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2007. 9.2 x 12.4 cm, 318 pp + commentary.
Commissioned by Charles, duke of Burgundy for his personal use, this precious Burgundian treasure holds a key position in the history of Flemish illumination. Consisting of 159 folios with 47 miniatures it is the work of Lieven van Lathem and the scribe Nicolas Spierinc. A delight in fantasy is evident throughout the book, even in the imaginative borders that are populated with countless drolleries, humans, and birds, all set between colored acanthus leaves and tiny golden buds. The fine calligraphy of the text is organized around more than 360 initials, mostly on chiselled golden grounds; each page of text is additionally decorated with an ornamental border. Lieven van Lathem was active in the cultural area of Flanders, between Bruges and Ghent, Antwerp and Utrecht. Born around 1430, he first was a member of the painters’ guild in Ghent, and later, until his death in 1490, of the St. Luke’s guild in Antwerp. By the end of the 15th c. the Flemish city of Antwerp ranked as the center of landscape painting, but it was van Lathem with his atmospheric art who had paved the way for this development. One name is inextricably associated with the painting school of Bruges and Ghent: that of the Viennese Master of Mary of Burgundy—famous for his forceful expressiveness when it came to bringing life to delicate faces or the movement of muscles on parchment. Although his identity remains unknown, a number of art historians assume him to be Alexander Bening, father of Simon Bening, the last grand Flemish master. He entered the artistic scene with The Prayer Book of Charles the Bold and the world of art immediately got a vivid impression of his unique talent. Nicolas Spierinc, Burgundy’s most famous calligrapher, is not only responsible for the wonderful handwriting, he also embellished many pages with so-called cadels, elaborate letters that were decorated with lines in writing ink. Some of the magnificent cadels were even painted in addition with glowing gold, a lustre that is perfectly rendered in the facsimile edition. Commentary by Antoine de Schryver. Limited edition of 980 copies bound in purple velvet with ornamental clasps, metal corners, medallion and finely applied gilt edges (a replica of the original binding).
[Strasbourg, Bibliothèque du Grand Seminaire, ms. 37]
The Guta-Sintram Codex.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 198?. 26 x 35 cm, 326 pp. + commentary.
This codex is one of the most valuable manuscripts from Alsace; due to its exceptional Romanesque illuminations and content it ranks as one of the greatest art treasures in Europe. It is a book of requiems, medicine, rules and customs as well as a collection of sermons. Joint work of the Autustinian Canoness Guta von Schwarzenthann and the Augustinian Canon Sintram of Marbach. Completed in 1154. Original at the Library of the Grand Seminaire in Strasbourg. Commentary in French and German. Limited edition of 930 copies. Binding in cowhide is a faithful rendition of the present binding done in the 17th century.
[Trier, Stadtbibliothek, 24]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2005. 21 x 27 cm, 2 vols, 330, 248 pp.
One of the most important works of book illumination from the Ottonian period. This periope or evangelistarium was created around 983 for Egbert, the chancellor of Kaiser Otto II and features the earliest picture cycle of the life of Christ. Archbishop Egbert lived during one of the most creative periods in the history of art, at a time when exceptional centers of artistic creativity flourished in the scriptoriums of the monasteries. The most famous of them was the Benedictine Abbey at Reichenau. These artistic monks of Bodensee developed a style which gave Ottonian book illumination its distinctive quality. The monks succeeded in creating a breathtaking synthesis of northern and southern art forms, a vocabulary where the rich legacy of Carolingian tradition is combined with elements of insular painting or Byzantine art. The form reaches it fruition in Codex Egbert, a pericope containing 60 illuminated pages and over 240 decorated initials. The rich series of miniatures for the life and miracles of Christ as well as the portraits of the evangelists and Archbishop Egbert, executed in gold, silver and precious colors, still grab the viewer today through their calmness and tranquility. Each miniature is filled with great spiritual strength. The unity of the picture cycle shows conclusively that there was one master responsible for the artistic conception of the book. Art historians have identified him as the "Gregory Master", a monk associated with a collection of letters of Pope Gregory the Great. Commentary volume by Gunther Franz, Franz J. Ronig, Robert Fuchs, Doris Oltrogge and Sif Dagmar Dornheim. Limited edition of 980 copies. Bound with green silk and silver plated metal work, in Ottonian style. €6500 (more info... )
[Turin, Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, inv. 47]
The Turin-Milan Hours. A Complete Facsimile of Ms. Inv. 47, “Heures de Turin-Milan”. Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, Turin.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1994. 20.3 x 28.4 cm, 2 vols, 252 pp + commentary.
This work is the last part of a monumental project most certainly commissioned by the Duke of Berry and conceived as a a Book of Hours, a Prayer Book and a Missal, all in one volume. Part I is known today as the “Très belles heures de Notre-Dame”. Sadly, the Prayer Book has not survived being the victim of a fire in 1904. The Missal, known today as the “Turin-Milan Hours” took about 70 years to complete (1380-1450). Its creators include the Master of Parament de Narbonne (known for his highly expressive figures in vivid and saturated colors), three anonymous artists working under the Master of Baptist, and Jan van Eyck who worked on it in 1424 and later in 1440. After van Eyck died, further artists were commissioned to carry out the Master’s sketches. The Turin-Milan Hours is an irreplaceable document in the history of art containing both the earliest and latest surviving miniature works of van Eyck. Commentary edited by Enrico Castelnuovo. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in velvet.
[Überlingen, Leopold-Sophien-Bibliothek, ms 62; Bremgarten, Stadtarchiv, Ba Nr.2; Aarau, Aargauische Kantonsbibliothek,
Die Eidgenössiche Chronik des Wernher Schodoler.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1980-83. 29 x 41 cm, 3 vols, 1,468, 410 pp.
Describes the period between the foundation of Zürich, the early days of Lucerne and Einsiedeln up to the battle of Naefels and Appenzeller War and the council of Constance (1414-1418). Vol. 2 is almost entirely devoted to the Old Zürich War and vol. 3 covers the war between Berne and Freiburg. First time that the complete work has been reunited, edited and published. Originals in Aarau, Bremgarten and Uebenlingen. Commentary edited by Walther Benz, with contributions by Franz Bächtiger and others. Limited edition of 980 copies. Bound in pigskin with lavishly embossed cover, clasps and fittings.
[Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, pal. lat. 50]
Das Lorscher Evangeliar.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2000. 27 x 37 cm, 437 pp + commentary.
This monumental work of Carolingian art is also known as Codex Aureus, one of the rare MSS of the early Middle Ages entirely written in gold ink. It is described as an "evangelium pictum cum auro scriptum habens tabulas eburneas" (illustrated Gospel Book, written in gold with ivory covers) and was produced c.810 in the scriptorium of Charlemagne at Aachen. It first appeared in a book record of Lorsch Abbey dating back to around 860. This is the most precious and well kept MS of the abbey, its luminous colors, abundant gold and silver on every page and two purple pages (the rarest color), and flawless white vellum are so well preserved that it gives the impression of having been recently written. Each page of the Lorsch Gospels shows colorful frames which are unsurpassed in form and style, its magnificent full-page illustrations fascinate through their monumental size, among them the canonical tables at the beginning of each Gospel to help the reader find the desired text passage. Pictures of the evangelists appear before each preface and there are luxurious incipit pages at the beginning of each individual Gospel text to underline the importance and artistic value of this outstanding work of early medieval art. The Lorsch Gospels were bound in a splendid cover reflecting the height of creativity during that time: it consists of two ivory plates which formed the front and back cover of the MS; these masterful carvings were probably made in the court of Charlemagne around 810. Limited edition of 333 copies bound with a reproduction of the ivory covers and a limited edition of 60 copies without the ivory replica binding. Commentary by Hermann Schefers. Published under the patronage of UNESCO.
[Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 1800]
Das Buchaltärchen Philipps des Guten.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1991. 18 x 31 cm, 2 vols, 64 pp + commentary.
This piece, in which two separate art forms were produced and united–a Book of Hours and an Altar–is unique in the history of medieval art. It was specially created for Philipp, Duke of Burgundy, and consists of an altar in the form of a diptych, and a MS adorned with miniatures and containing prayers for the Virgin and the Holy Trinity. The two panels of paintings are hinged to the book’s wooden binding, beautifully covered with stamped leather. One panel of the diptych shows the figure of the Holy Ghost, not in the common form of the dove, but as a person. The Holy Trinity and the Crowning of Mary are painted with beautiful intense colors and brilland gold. Three of the five miniatures contained in the book depict Philiipp praying, a proper testimony of his piety. Philipp the Good traveled constantly within his domaines–the Book-Altar was always with him during these journeys. Commentary by Otto Mazal and Dagmar Thoss. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in full leather.
[Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 1858]
Das Buch der Drolerien (Croy-Gebetbuch). [standard edition].
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1993. 13.7 x 19.5 cm, 366 pp + commentary.
As you immerse yourself in this beautiful MS a fantastic picture world of the Middle Ages comes to life, incredible wild creatures created by the greatest Flemish artists. Insolent, charming, grotesque, comic—it is hard to believe that you are in front of a book of prayers. Irreverent, unimaginable drolleries but painted with the greatest virtuosity. This book also contains 58 magnificent miniatures with calendar illustrations and scenes showing events from the Old Testament. As in the “Flower Book of Hours” of Simon Bening there are precious blossoms, butterflies, little crawling animals, etc., which look deceptively real. It is believed that the three most important masters from Flanders participated in its creation: Simon Bening, Gerard Horenbout and Gerard David. Its history is not yet fully known but it is suspected that it first belonged to a refined lady from the Burgundian-Habsburg Court. Commentary by Otto Mazal & Dagmar Thoss. Limited edition of 980 copies, bound in full leather.
[Zürich, Alternierend Schweizerisches Landesmuseum & Museum des Kantons Thurgau, Frauenfeld, LM 26117]
Das Gradual von St. Katharinental um 1312. Wissenschaftliche bearbeitete Faksimile-Ausgabe.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1979. 35 x 48 cm, 628 pp + commentary.
Deluxe full-color facsimile in the original format. From the same cultural environment as the “Manessiche Liederhandschrift”. 71 delicately painted miniatures and 13 magnificent ornamental initials, all richly embellished with gold leaf. A triumph of high Gothic art. Separate commentary volume. Limited numbered edition bound in full leather.
[Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, A 5]
Große Burgunderchronik des Diebold Schilling von Bern.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1981-85. 25 x 39 cm, 1036, 306 pp.
The Great Burgundian Chronicle, also called the Zürcher Schilling after the city where it is kept, is the most original and comprehensive reference book on the Burgundian Wars. It was executed around 1480 in the tradition of the Bern chronicles begun by Konrad Justinger in 1420 and carried on by Bendicht Tschachtlan around 1470. In 1474 Schilling was commissioned by the Council of Bern to write a chronicle of the city, from its beginnings to contemporary times. Considering the greatness and importance of his home city, Schilling understood this task in creating a work of major significance. Between 1474 and 1483, he created a monumental work, the Official Chronicle of Bern in three volumes. The original version of the third part, our Great Burgundian Chronicle, never left Schilling's possession. It is the most comprehensive of all chronicles ever carried out by Schilling. The Great Burgundian Chronicle gives a unique witness; here we see very clearly the genuine understanding of a patriot. The official edition of the third volume was censored in several places. One of the most important features of its illustrations is the landscape in which the events take place. It hardly ever corresponds to topographic reality but is rather based on the artist's imagination. The viewer sees the depicted scenes from above, little towns, villages and castles, all carefully inserted into a lovely landscape of beautifully rolling hills. Commentary in German and French. Limited edition of 980 copies. Binding recreates original, in embossed leather, on six double ribs, & 2 clasps.
[Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, A 120]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1986. 21 x 30 cm, 2 vols, 1060, 477 pp.
The great tradition of Swiss illuminated chronicles begins with this work by Benedicht Tschachtlan in 1470; his pictures are an inexhaustible mine of information for cultural historians: weapons, siege, battle techniques and camplife are depicted in detail. Townscapes, castles and fortresses are all painted with vivid imagination. Limited edition of 980 copies. Bound in full leather, after the original. €4700
[Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, C 54]
Vom Einfluß der Gestirne
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1983. 20 x 29 cm, 124, 198 pp.
Lavishly illustrated. Contains a number of the most important and informative treatises from two central areas of late medieval healing practice: medical astrology and hygienics. Emphasis on influence of the sun on its course through the zodiac and on the moon and planets on man’s health and character. It also provides valuable evidence on urban culture in the 15th century. Prepared in Nuremberg around mid 1400s for the Schuntas dynasty. Commentary edited by Gundolf Keil, with contributions by Friedrich Lenhardt, Christoph Weisser & Huldrych M. Koelbing. Limited edition of 980 copies.