« VorigeDoorgaan »
who has munificently presented it to the their treasures, and scarcely any means Bodleian Library, cost upwards of £12,000. existed of making generally known the vaThis, perhaps the richest 'pictorial history rious splendid manuscripts to be found in which exists, or is likely to exist, deserves other libraries, public and private. Catamore than a passing notice. It contains logues of collections of manuscripts were nearly nineteen thousand prints and draw- compiled with a view to the subject-matter ings: there are seven hundred and thirty- of each volume, rather than to the accidenone portraits of Charles I., five hundred tal qualities of calligraphy and illumination: and eighteen of Charles II., three hundred even when the characters of a manuscript and fifty-two of Cromwell, two hundred and were criticised it was chiefly with the intent seventy-three of James II., and four hun- to judge thereby of its age and the country dred and twenty of William III. The col- where it was written; but little criticism lection fills sixty-seven large volumes. respecting the illumination of manuscripts Forty years were spent in this pursuit. is to be found in those most conversant The Catalogue of the Illustrations, of with them, in Mabillon, Maffei, Baring, which a few copies only were printed for Kopp, Walther, Trombelli, and the Benedistribution as presents by Mrs. Suther- dictine authors of the 'Nouveau Traité de land, fills two large quarto volumes. In Diplomatique.' This last work, to great mere numbers, however, Mr. Sutherland learning and very little judgment, adds so was surpassed by the foreign ecclesiastic much quackery that, upon adding together who is said to have amassed twelve thou- the various classes into which the authors sand 'portraits' of the Virgin Mary! We divide the modes of writing found in Latin know of copies of Byron's works, and MSS. alone, we find that they enumerate Scott's works, each 'illustrated' with many classes, divisions, sub-divisions, genera, and thousands of prints and drawings, and each species, containing one hundred and eightyincreasing almost daily.
nine species of majuscule writing, one hun The venerable bibliopole and bibliograph- dred and seven species of uncial writing, er, M. Brunet, says, in his ' Manuel du Li- ninety-three species of demi-uncial writing, braire,' art. Strutt, of a copy of the Dic- and two hundred and thirteen species of tionary formerly belonging to Messrs. Long- writing in minuscules; to say nothing of man, and valued by them at £2000: the different species into which they divide
cursive or running hand. It may well be "Cette manie de faire des livres précieux me a question how many schools of illumination rappelle la réponse que me fit un capitaliste à they would distinguish. qui je montrais un volume d'une valeur considérable. “ Tenez !" me dit-il froidement, en
Sometimes, it is true, the words' me présentant un portefeuille rempli de billets picturis' were added to the description of de banque, “ voilà un volume encore plus pré- a volume, but to those who had not actually cieux que le vôtre.” Ce not me paraît sans handled manuscripts the words conveyed réplique, et je ne crois pas qu'il y ait dans les little meaning, and the few engravings from trois royaumes de la Grande Bretagne un cu such 'picturæ' which here and there occurrieux qui pût montrer une illustrated copie plus red in catalogues, or elsewhere, excited no précieuse qu'un pareil portefeuille. Au sur-wish in the mind of the reader to see the plus, ne disputons pas des goûts, mais croyons que celui de l'amateur de billets de banque originals. The engravings to be met with serait celui de bien des gens.'
in the bulky tomes of Montfaucon, Ducange,
Papebroch, Kollar, and others, were not This system of 'illustration' has, how- generally known, nor were those which ever, had its day; it required time, money, were published by the Society of Antiquaand, moreover, knowledge and taste. Illus- ries, of the Cottonian Manuscript of Gentrations are now wanted ready-made for the esis, extensively circulated. The illuminmillion.
ated service books of the Roman Catholic Five lustres since, and manuscripts were Church, which, of whatever nature, brethings which were rarely seen, and still viary or plenarium, antiphonar or gradual, more rarely understood. The opportuni- hours or psalter, processional or benedicties for seeing them were indeed but few : tional, were, and still too often are, conthe British Museum was in comparative founded under the generic term of missal,' infancy; its reading-room frequented by afforded, by their more frequent occurrence, tens, not as now by hundreds of daily stu- the chief means of information. dents. The libraries of Oxford and Cam The first who in this country used, to any bridge offered little facility of access to extent, illuminations as a source whence to
• illustrate the manners and customs, the well excited in England, where public padresses and sports of former ages, was the tronage is ever found the best. laborious Joseph Strutt, whose engravings, By the aid of the French Government though always coarse, and often inaccurate, MM. Silvestre, Champollion-Figeac and have supplied the small learning of many a Aimé Champollion, fils, have completed a self-styled antiquary. A few years after- large work, the largest as yet on such subwards the late Thomas Johnes of Hafod jects, which we have named at the head of put forth his translations of Froissart's and this article: it contains about 300 plates, Monstrelet’s ‘ Chronicles,' with engravings mostly colored, comprising specimens of in outline from some finely illuminated writing as well as of drawings or illuminaMSS. of those authors. Mr. Johnes's books tions. As might be expected in a work so form an epoch in the history of illustration, large, the execution is unequal, and many as they first made apparent to the general of the subjects are unworthy of the preferreader the beauty to be discerned in manuence given to them over others. It is a scripts.* In 1814 Mr. Utterson published vast storehouse, and although, from its price, an edition of the romance of Arthur of it is to the general reader as inaccessible as Little Britain,' with outline engravings, in manuscripts themselves, yet we must call it the style of those to Johnes's translations. an expensive, not a dear book. In Messrs. This was another step, for although Strutt Bossange's catalogue it is marked at the had slightly tinted or daubed some of his price of £80. In point of artistic feeling, plates, Mr. Utterson had some of the large and also of accuracy, it is inserior to Mr. paper copies of his book well colored, so Shaw's work. as to imitate the originals. This, however, The colored plates of illuminated MSS., raised a quarto volume, with only twenty- which are found in the large work of Somfive small plates, to the price of fifteen gui- merard, De l'Art au Moyen Age, are little neas! The great price of colored plates better than caricatures. prevented the increase of publications of The first number of a humble imitation this kind, and but little was done until the of M. Silvestre's book, from which indeed year 1833, when Mr. Shaw published his some of its specimens are taken, is now on * Illuminated Ornaments.' To this work our table : the chief merit is its cheapnessunquestionably the public taste is much five plates, printed in gold (Dutch gold) indebted; it first united good judgment in and colors, by Mr. Owen Jones, for eight the choice of subjects, minute accuracy of shillings! Were they better drawn, little detail, beauty of execution, and compara- more could be desired. A Mr. J. O. Westtive cheapness of price. Each plate was wood, who compiles the descriptions, writes accompanied with a description by Sir Fre- himself • F. L. S.,' and indeed he speaks deric Madden, who added a preface, which, in Karl Linnæus's vein:' thus, when dethough very short, is almost the only history scribing a • Codex purpureo-argenteus,' of illuminations,' to use what is now be- of remote antiquity, he says :come a technical term for small paintings in gold and colors. Mr. Shaw had
"I have introduced the last two lines of the scarcely begun this work when his services were called for by the trustees of the British 5th, and the first line of the 7th verses, to show Museum to illustrate the catalogue of the the end of the lines, without any connecting
that not only the words are broken in two at Arundel collection of MSS., and their libe- marks, but that the paragraphs were also unrality enabled Mr. Shaw to produce some divided into verses. "They are, however, sepaplates which are as yet unrivalled, save by rated by alinea, here appearing simply in the the work undertaken by the Comte Auguste first letter being written rather beyond the de Bastard, under the auspices of the perpendicular edge of the other lines, but French Government. The taste was now rounded E, the acutely-angled first stroke of
scarcely larger than the other letters. The
the A, the elongated Y and P with the extreSome MSS. of Froissart are very beautiful. the latter scarcely reaching below half the
mity obliquely truncated, the rounded part of There have been published very lately some color- width of the lines, the acute-angled M with ed facsimiles, by Mr. Humphreys, from a remark: tlfree of its strokes thickened, and the A with ably fine illuminated copy of Froissart (now in the British Museum), which, from the arms in it the basal stroke elongated beyond the triangle, (gu. a chevron or between three escallops arg. a and knobbed at each end, are peculiarities bordure of the second, quartering arg. on a chief evidencing the most remote antiquity, in all of gu, three eaglets displayed or), may perhaps have which respects it will bear comparison with belonged to the historian De Comines.
the most famous codices'!!
to confound 'verses' with titlou (their motto · Bien en advienne,' the whole and xeqúhasa; could he possibly have ex- surrounded with daisies (Marguerites). pected to find 'verses in a MS. believed to The figure of the king, therefore, is not be of the fifth century?
unquestionably intended' for Henry VI. His first specimen is taken from a copy of Lancaster, the mortal enemy of Margaret of the Gospels, in Latin, which there is lit- of York. The other seven coats of arms tle doubt was sent over to Æthelstan by his are those attributed to, or borne by, the brother-in-law the Emperor Otho, between several dynasties of England prior to Marthe years 936 and 940, and which was given garet's time: being respectively (we spare by Æthelstan to the metropolitan church of our readers the heraldic jargon) those of Canterbury,* as appears from a coeval in- Athelstan-Edward the Confessor for the scription in the volume. Mr. Westwood Saxon kings—Denmark for Canute-Norsays :
mandy for William I., and II., and Henry
I.- England for Henry II., Richard I., · The first page of the volume contains a large illuminated frontispiece: in the centre of
John, Henry III., Edward I. and II.-Anwhich is a youthful king, crowned and kneel- cient France (first assumed by Edward III.) ing in a church, with two courtiers behind him, -and Ancient France and England quarand in front a figure of Christ, naked, and terly for Edward III. and Richard II. wounded on the side. The former has been The fact that the sister of one of our supposed to represent King Richard II.; but kings should, at such an early period, thus it appears to me to be unquestionably intended have perpetuated the history of the volume for the youthful Henry VI., being in fact pre- takes away all reasonable ground for doubt. cisely similar to the miniatures of that king, Sir Henry Ellis has printed a letter* from contained in his psalter in the same library (Cotton. Domitian xvii.). In the upper part of Sir S. D'Ewes to Sir Martin Stuteville, the illumination is an aged crowned' king, which shows that this MS. was used at the kneeling in the open country, with the devil at coronation of Charles I. At that time it his back. There are also eight coats of arms belonged to Sir Robert Cotton, who was in various parts of the page, and on a blue slab personally in attendance with it upon the are inscribed the following lines:
sovereign. Not the least remarkable cirSaxonidum dux atque decus, primumque monar- cumstance attending its history is, that,
cham, Inclitus, Ælfridum qui numeravit avum,
having been given by Æthelstan to Christ Imperii primas quoties meditantur habenas,
Church, Canterbury, the property of it Me voluit sacrum regibus esse librum. should now, after the lapse of 900 years, This illumination is evidently of the early part be partly vested in the archbishop of that of the fifteenth century, and the verses above see, as principal trustee of the British Muquoted record the tradition that Athelstan (the seum. But this interesting volume, the grandson of Alfred), by whom the English only undoubted relic of the ancient regalia monarchy was consolidated, and raised to so of England, has drawn us from our subject. much importance in the eyes of Europe, had devoted this volun:e to the service of the cor- which we have just mentioned is that
Of a very different nature from the books onation of the Anglo-Saxon kings.'
which, under the auspices, and chiefly at This leaf, of which the writer of the above the expense of the French Government, is comprehends neither the meaning nor the undertaken by the Comte Auguste de Basimportance, was inserted by Margaret of tard, brother of the late Comte de Bastard, York, sister of Edward IV., and widow of a President of the Cour de Cassation, and Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy; there-Vice-President of the Chambre des Pairs fore its date is after 1477. The arms of de France. We ourselves have seen this Burgundy impaling England are at the foot splendid work, -the ‘Peintures et Orne of the page, with the letters C and M, and mens des Manuscrits,'—but it is probable
that many of our readers will never have The words are Dorobernensis cathedre pri- the like advantage, for we believe that matui, &c.,' which, by several writers who have there are not two copies in England of this mentioned this volume, are supposed to signify costly book. Costly we may, indeed, well the church of Dover, instead of Canterbury. Their mistake has evidently been caused by school call it, for the seventeen livraisons of the reminiscences of the Eton Latin Grammar, where first of the three sections into which the in the same error occurs, in the example to the Partie Française' alone is divided, are second rule of the Second Concord in Syntaxis published at the price of 1800 francs, or • Audito, it being hcard, regem, that the king, proficisci, was set out, Doroberniam, for Docer.' We commend this to Dr. Hawtrey's notice.
Original Letters, first series, vol. i. p. 214.
seventy-two sterling pounds, each-so that the four required by the Copyright Act this first portion, only forming, at the most, of France), out of the one hundred copies three volumes 'grand in folio Jésus' (who printed. This subscription, for the first but Frenchmen would ever so profane the section of the first part alone, amounts to name ?) will cost 30,600 francs, or 12261. 73,5601., or, for the ‘Partie Française,' to sterling (we have Count Bastard's hand- 220,6801., and, should the whole be comwriting now before us), being at the rate of pleted, on the least proposed scale, to 668, 101. and upwards for each colored plate! 0401., or, in francs, to 16,032,960 ! Of The 'Partie Française' is to consist of this enormous sum, we believe that the three sections, which, if of equal size, will French Chambers have already paid no litamount to 36781.! The conditions of sub- tle portion. At this rate Illustrated scription mention that à partir du 1er Juil. Books' become of great national imporlet, 1840, il paraitra, chaque année, de tance, and the length of our notice of the quatre à six livraisons, qui seront payées, Count's work is amply justified. argent comptant, à Paris, au domicile de To enter fully into the history and mysl'éditeur, rue Saint Dominique, No. 93, tery of illuminated MSS., from which the Faubourg St. Germain.
books we have just mentioned draw their Comme garantie du travail, les planches materials, would lead us too far from our portent tous ces mots, Le Comte Auguste subject, and would not be of much interest de Bastard direxit, et un timbre sec aux to those, by far the greater part of our armes de l'éditeur. We fear that neither readers, who never have had, perhaps never our announcement, nor the Count's guar- will have, an opportunity of examining antee, will procure him
many subscribers, such works of bygone times, and will know Of the great accuracy as well as unrivalled of them only by the books just mentioned splendor of this book there can be no and their more humble copyists. One doubt; nor would we insinuate any thing thing we must premise, however, that whattending to depreciate its high merits as a ever may be the age of the MS.—of the work of art, or illustrated book,' but we seventh or of the fifteenth century; whatopenly express our opinion that the vast ever its school, whether of Byzantine or cost is not compensated by the result ob- Flemish, Italian or Anglo-Saxon art; whattained. MSS. themselves would be as ac- ever its subject, whether the holy Scripcessible as this book, which would repre-tures or a romance, a chronicle or a book sent only a small portion of a few. If of devotions; in short, whatever its matter, Count Auguste de Bastard's work should whether prose or poetry—the illuminations comprise only two other parts of equal ex- may be generally taken to represent the tent with the French, the cost of a single arts, manners, customs, and especially the copy will be upwards of eleven thousand dresses of the age and country in which pounds! a sum which, if well managed, the MS. itself was written and illuminawould produce an entire edition of a work ted.' Thus we may trace many of the of high character and great beauty. The customs and dresses of our Anglo-Saxon • Antiquities of Mexico,' a magnificent forefathers in a psalter which belonged to work put forth at the sole expense of a Canute, and many early English sports and young Irish nobleman, the late Viscount pastimes in another psalter of the thirteenth Kingsborough, cost his lordship, we believe, century (which at a later period belonged about 30,0001. ; but for this sum a whole to Queen Mary), and which also affords a edition of a book in seven volumes in large very curious specimen of the bizarrerie of folio, with very numerous colored plates, the early artists. At the foot of the pages was obtained, * and, in relation to its bulk of this MS., amongst the numerous groand necessary price, copies were extensively tesques with which they are ornamented, is circulated. However, be the cost of the a complete series of illustrations to—what Count's work what it may, the French do our readers suppose
-the romance of Government cannot be taxed with want of Reynard the Fox! and figures of the same liberality, for it has subscribed for sixty kind with those to be found in the misericopies (including that of the editor, and cordes or misereres of our cathedral stalls.
The late amiable and lamented Gage Roke* Of this splendid book two copies were print; wood has given, in the Vetusta Monumenta ed on vellum, which, when illuminated and of the Society of Antiquaries, a number of bound, were estimated to cost 20001. each. Lord Kingsborough presented one to the British Mu- early carriages and dresses from the Lutseum, the second to the Bodleian Library.
terei Psalter. Mr. Shaw has given figures SEPTEMBER, 1844. 7
[Sept. of Spanish warriors' of the twelfth cen-no defending them against the charge—but tury, which are copied from the illustra- it so happens that it does not apply to them tions' to a Commentary on the Apoca- alone, for most of the great painters are lypse, * written at Burgos in 1109, and equally obnoxious to it. We need only which strongly resemble some of the figures walk through the Louvre or our own on the Bayeux Tapestry; yet the first are National Gallery to observe every kind of intended for the horsemen seen by the extravagance; nor, to apply another test, holy apostle in his prophetical vision, the does the most outrageous performance of second for the Norman cavalry at the bat- any illuminator surpass the practical absurtle of Hastings. The MSS. of Quintus dity of Garrick playing Julius Cæsar or Curtius, Valerius Flaccus, Statius, and Macbeth in an English general's uniform others, give us representations of the war- of his own time, or (what many of our own riors and arms of the times of our Edwards readers have witnessed) the performance of and Henrys, of Froissart and Commines ; Terence's comedies by the young gentle we have now before our eyes an illumina- men of Westminster School attired as tion representing part of
modern dandies and powdered lacqueys. · The tale of Troy divine,'
These and such like absurdities we do not
now commit; but St. Paul's Cathedral is in which cannon are planted against the still deformed by Dr. Johnson—in a Rowalls of Ilion, and soldiers, armed cap-à-pie man toga! and Westminster Abbey by in such armor as Dr. Meyrick would as- Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire, as a sign to the year 1450, are scaling walls Roman warrior, with an inscription as offenwhich, though pierced for cross-bows, are sive to Christianity and right feeling as the but about half their own height, whilst cav- monument itself is to good taste. The one alry are advancing to gates which, though rule to which, with all their faults, the machicollated and portecoulissed, do not illuminators of ancient times adhered is reach to them iddle of the warrior's lances. now of great use to us their descendants, Even the Hebrew MSS. are not exempt who want to know their modes of life in from this unfailing characteristic. We all their tenses; their arms, costumes, have seen a MS. of the fifteenth century of architecture, and furniture, are thus become the Haggada, that Rabbinical office for the familiar to us. The costumes of the mid. first two evenings at the Passover, in which dle ages are now well understood ; and Mr. is embodied the legend of this is the stick Albert Way, we doubt not, could satisfacwhich beat the dog, which bit the cat, which torily inform us of the fashions of any parate the kid, which my father bought for ticular period, a knowledge which often two-pence, accompanied with figures in serves to fix the epoch of a work of art. Spanish dresses of the artist's time ;-and At Her Majesty's fancy ball last year, a a roll of the book of Esther, of the seven-royal duchess appeared as Anne of Breteenth century, in which Haman and Mor- tagne, in costume historically correct; the decai are depicted as Dutch Jews in trunk Duchess of A. as a lady of the highest rank hose, and king Ahasuerus as a burgo-mas- of the fourteenth century, faithfully copied ter with his gold chain. Sundry critics from an illumination of the Queen of have expatiated with lofty contempt on the Sheba !—from a magnificent Bible history, violation of all rules of propriety and keep- of the time ; whilst the Marchioness of ing by these early illuminators. There is E. was in the costume of the latter part of * It is difficult to say with truth of any volume from one of the Virtues, as blazoned in
the fifteenth century, copied, aptly enough, that it is unique ; we, however, believe this to be so, except a rival to its strange mixture of gold tissue and ermine, among the illumistyles of art exist in the dark unfathomed caves nations to Henry VII.'s copy of the Poems of Spanish libraries. It was purchased by the of Charles of Orléans (father of Louis XII.), Trustees of the British Museum from the Comte who was taken prisoner at Agincourt. de Survilliers (Joseph Buonaparte), for whom, whilst in Spain, it was not improbably abstracted
To give a full account of the rise and from the Escurial or from the Archiepiscopal Li- progress of illuminated or 'illustrated' MSS. brary of Toledo. There is none like it in any would oblige us greatly to exceed the limits collection which we have seen, nor was there of a review, but we cannot altogether pass before in the British Museum, neither is there, over the subject. Its history has yet to be du Roi at Paris. Only one other copy of the text written, and great difficulties will attend' of the work is known, viz, in the Royal Library the composition, as regards the productions Tunn
of the earlier centuries of the Christian era.