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AESOP: AVIANUS: ALPHONSE: POGGIO FIORENTINO. Fables, in the French translation of Julien Macho, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
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AESOP: AVIANUS: ALPHONSE: POGGIO FIORENTINO. Fables, in the French translation of Julien Macho, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM\n[France, c.1495]273 x 180mm. 45 leaves: 16(of 8, lacking i/viii), 28, 38, 44(of ?8, lacking i, ii, vii and viii), 58, 6 5(of 8, lacking iv/v and viii), 76, 31 lines written in brown ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 32 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 191 x 108mm, rubrics in red, paragraph marks of liquid gold on grounds of blue or rusty red with gold decoration, patterned or twiggy line-endings of the same colours, two- and three-line initials of liquid gold modelled with red on grounds of blue decorated with white, SIXTY-SIX MINIATURES in full colour and heightened with liquid gold illustrating the central event of each fable (spotting and small stains in margins of several folios, large stain affecting text on f.40, rubrics smudged on ff.11v, 13 and 20, small smudges on five miniatures and small pigment losses to seven miniatures). 19th-century French panelled brown morocco gilt.\n\nUNIQUE ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT OF AESOP'S FABLES IN FRENCH\n\nPROVENANCE:\n\n1. Jehan Chaseray, procureur du roi, living at Gien on the Loire: ownership note f.43v\n\n2. Adam d'Orival, grandson of Jehan Chaseray: ownership note f.43v\n\n3. An inscription in a 16th-century hand on the final verso has the name Courtoie, with the first name erased, above the motto 'a ung seul dieu louenge honneur et gloire'. The motto is repeated twice on the penultimate verso above 'Henricus rex dei gratia Francorum'.\n\n4. Antoine Moriau (1699-1759): his library stamp on f.43v. Moriau, who had succeded his father as Procureur du Roi et de la Ville de Paris, was not only an excellent magistrate but an indefatigable bibliophile possessed of a considerable fortune. At his death he owned 14,000 printed and 2,000 manuscript books, all of which he left to the city of Paris for the formation of a public library in the Hôtel de Ville. His intentions were not fulfilled and the collection was later dispersed.\n\n5. William Bragge of Birmingham, one-time Mayor of Sheffield (1823-1884): Jonathan Peckover's note on the front endleaf recording the purchase of the manuscript from the collection of Mr Bragge, a 'plain self-taught man' who began buying manuscripts some 25 years earlier 'with the simple idea of obtaining specimens of calligraphy and travelled all over the world in search of his favourite objects'. Bragge's collection of 491 manuscripts 'formed by a gentleman of consummate taste and judgement' was sold in June 1876 (see lot 86).\n\n6. Jonathan Peckover: purchase note as above and his bookplate inside upper cover, with the label of Jane Peckover and the card of Algerina Peckover. Lot 21 at the Peckover sale, Sotheby's 3 December 1951 (see lot 86).\n\nCONTENT:\n\nAesop: Fables, Third Book ff.1-13; Aesop: Fables according to the new translation ff.13-20; Avianus ff.20-26v; Alphonse ff.27-37v; Poggio ff.38-43v\n\nThis is the second half of the translation of the Life and Fables of Aesop, with additional works of other fabulists, that was made by Frère Julien Macho between 1477 and 1480: P. Ruelle, Recueil général des Isopets, iii, L'Esope de Julien Macho, Société des Anciens Textes Français (1974). Little is known about Macho beyond what can be learned from the titles and colophons of incunable editions of his works: he belonged to the Order of Augustinian Hermits in Lyons, was a doctor of theology and was said to be the prior of the convent there. Other survivals of his scholarly undertakings include translations of mystical treatises -- the Speculum vitae humanae and Speculum humanae salvationis -- the New Testament, legends of the saints and the Book of Job. None of his other efforts, however, had the widespread and continued appeal of the Vie et Fables d'Esope, which was first printed in Lyons in 1480 (Philippi & Reinhart: GW368) but appeared in no fewer than six editions by the end of the century. Perhaps because of the relative availability of printed copies, manuscripts of this work are extraordinarily rare. Only two other fragmentary copies of the text are known: one, unillustrated, of 15 loose paper leaves (Sotheby's 7 December 1999, lot 5 and then Les Enluminures) and an illustrated codex of 29 leaves (Paris, BnF, Smith-Lesouëf 68).\n\nThe present manuscript does not include the life of Aesop and begins with the third book of his fables. This is followed by fourteen of the seventeen fables called the Nouvelle translation, seventeen of the fables by Avianus (the sixth tale of Avianus is simply skipped by the scribe, although it was listed in the prefatory contents for that section), ten of the thirteen fables of Pierre Alphonse and seven of those translated from Poggio's Facetiae. It starts, in fact, just where the Paris manuscript, Smith-Lesouëf 68, finishes, exactly matches it in format and style, and both have Moriau's library stamp. They were once either the two halves of a single codex or a two volume set: the leaves of the Paris manuscript have an old foliation 1-11, 20-36 and 43. The two parts were perhaps separated at the dispersal of the library of the Hôtel de Ville.\n\nILLUMINATION:\n\nAll but one fable is illustrated with a rectangular miniature (50mm x 70mm) depicting a central episode, sometimes even two, of the tale. The scenes are animated and, usually, precise evocations set in appropriate locations. Ruelle commented on the similarity of the miniatures in the Paris section with the incunable illustrations but could find no precise dependence. Whether it was manuscript or printed the illuminator does appear to have been following a model, and a model he occasionally misunderstood. The tortoise being carried by the eagle on f.21 has been turned into a more explicable bird, while the fieldmouse on f.13v has become an oversize bug.\n\nThe style of illumination is very close to that of the Master of the Chronique Scandaleuse, named after a manuscript in Paris (BnF, Clair. 481). This anonymous illuminator appears to have worked in Paris; not only was he responsible for the illumination of numerous high quality Books of Hours for princely patrons from a variety of centres but, in the final decade of the century, he also contributed to the illustration of luxury printed books produced by the publisher Antoine Vérard. This manuscript is likely to have been illuminated in his workshop.\n\nThe subjects of the fables and the illustrations are as follows, where no miniature is described it simply shows the participants named in the title:\n\nf.1 Of the Shepherd and the Lion: miniature with the shepherd removing the thorn from the lion's paw, and the shepherd and lion sitting companionably in a shelter\nf.1v Of the Lion and the Horse: miniature with the horse kicking the lion on the nose\nf.2 Of the Horse and the Ass\nf.3 Of the Beasts and the Birds: miniature of the battle between the beasts and birds\nf.3v Of the Sparrowhawk and the Nightingale: miniature with the birds and their nests in neighbouring trees\nf.4 Of the Serpent and the File: miniature with a dragon in a forge holding a file\nf.4v Of the Wolves and the Sheep\nf.5 Of the Man and the Wood: man chopping down a tree\nf.5v Of the Wolf and the Dog\nf.6 Of the Feet, Hands and Stomach of a Man: man reclining inert on a grassy bank with his feet and hands bare\nf.6v Of Juno, Venus and Other Women; illustrated with a miniature showing Venus questioning a hen\nf.6v Of the Fox and the Monkey (first five lines only and without miniature)\nf.7v Of the Father and his Three Children\nf.9 Of the Wolf and the Fox; miniature showing the vixen in the woods watching as her overconfident cub, still biting hold of the horse, is clubbed to death\nf.10 Of the Dog, the Wolf and the Sheep; miniature showing the ram disguised in a dogskin pursuing the wolf while the shepherd sleeps\nf.10v Of the Lion and his son; miniature showing a young man clubbing a snared lion\nf.12 Of the Knight and his Servant who found a fox\nf.13 Of the Eagle and the Crow; miniature showing the eagle carrying off a sheep and the crow being captured as he attempts to take one\nf.13v Of the Eagle, the Hare and the Fieldmouse; miniature showing an eagle pursuing a hare while a winged bug watches and then jettisons the eagle's eggs from a tree\nf.14 Of the Billygoat and the Fox: miniature with the billygoat in a well as the fox leaps out\nf.14v Of the Cat and the Cockerel: miniature with a cat taking a cockerel by the throat as a hen looks on\nf.15 Of the Fox and the Briars\nf.15v Of the Man and his Wooden Idol: miniature showing a man smashing the idol he has pulled from the altar\nf.16 Of the Fisherman and the Fish: miniature showing a fisherman in a boat playing a pipe while another on the bank lands a net of fish\nf.16 Of the Cats and the Rats\nf.17 Of the Farmer and the large Magpie: miniature with a man addressing one snared bird alongside a snared goose and heron\nf.17 Of the Boy who guarded the sheep: miniature with the boy who cried wolf being disregarded by two men pruning vines as a wolf attacks his sheep\nf.17v Of the Ant and the Dove; boy watching the ant climb onto the branch thrown into the fountain by the dove in the tree above\nf.18 Of Jupiter and the Fly: miniature with a half-length, hovering, Jupiter addressing a fly flying in front of beehives\nf.18v Of the Carpenter and Jupiter: a half-length Jupiter holding three axes and addressing two young men beside felled trees\nf.19 Of the young Robber and his Mother: a woman kissing a youth as he's led to the gibbet\nf.19 Of a Man and a Flea (no miniature)\nf.19v Of the Husband and his Two Wives: miniature with a man seated on a bench between two women, the elder pulling from his beard the dark hairs and the younger pulling out the white\nf.20 Of the Farmer and his Children: miniature with three sons digging and tending a vineyard\nf.20v Of the Old Woman, the Child and the Wolf\nf.21 Of the Tortoise and the Birds: miniature with an eagle flying with a tortoise, looking very much like a bird, in his talons, three other birds on the ground look on\nf.21v Of the Two Crayfish\nf.22 Of the Donkey in the Lion's Skin: miniature with a donkey disguised as a lion, only his feet and ears protruding from the skin of a lion, being beaten by his master\nf.22v Of the Frog and the Fox: miniature with a frog, a fox, a rat and a rabbit on the bank of a river\nf.22v Of the Two Dogs: miniature with a man being bitten by one dog, two others regarding one another\nf.23 Of the Peacock and the Crane (lacking opening lines of text)\nf.23 Of the Tiger and the Fox: miniature with a hunter in a wood having fired his crossbow at a tiger (looking more like a llama) who is mocked by a fox\nf.24 Of the Four Bulls and the Lion\nf.24 Of the Tree and the Shrub: a Woodman felling a Tree\nf.24v Of the Fisherman and the Little Fish\nf.25 Of Phoebus, the Envious Man and the Miser: miniature with a half-length Jupiter directing Phoebus who stands before the two men, one with one eye bleeding, the other with both\nf.25v Of the Thief and the Child who Cried: miniature with the thief descending into the well while the boy leaves with his robe\nf.25v Of the Goat and the Lion\nf.26 Of the Thirsty Jackdaw: miniature with a bird drinking from a pail\nf.26 Of the Villein and the Bull: miniature with a young man cutting a bull's horns\nf.26v Of the Pilgrim and the Satyr: miniature with a satyr carrying a ewer and approaching a man blowing on his hands (lacking end)\nf.28 First Fable of Pierre Alphonse (lacking opening and miniature) f.29 Second Fable, The Commission and the Fortune: miniature with two men having their money counted by a third\nf.30 Third Fable, Judgement given on the cause of the stored oil: miniature with the rich man and the young man before a judge the barrels of oil in the background\nf.31 Fourth Fable, Judgement on the fortune found: miniature with a rich man and a poor man before the philosopher and the King\nf.32 Of the Faith of the Three Companions: miniature with one man baking bread in an oven while his fellows sleep\nf.33 Of the Farmer and the Nightingale: miniature with a man in a garden addressing a bird in a tree\nf.34 Of the Rhetorician and the Hunchback\nf.34v Of the Disciple and the Sheep: miniature with a king in bed while his fabulist recounts a tale of a rich man crossing his sheep over a river\nf.35 Of the Wolf, the Farmer, the Fox and the Cheese: miniature with a wolf and a fox in a well\nf.36v Of the Husband, the Mother and the Wife: miniature with the husband entering to find the young man with his wife and mother-in-law f.37 Of the Old Procuress: miniature with an old woman, a young woman and a weeping dog\nf.38 First Fable of Poggio Fiorentino, The Wife who Deceived her Husband: miniature with a couple at table, a ship visible through the window, the man indicating a small child\nf.38v Of the Widow and the Hypocrite: miniature with a woman embracing a younger man\nf.39v Of the Young Woman who accused her Husband (lacking end): miniature with three men and two women seated around a table, an ass watching through the window\nf.40 Fourth Fable of Poggio (lacking beginning and miniature)\nf.41 Of Various Monsters: miniature with a merman, a two-headed cat and a two-headed child\nf.42 Of the Priest, the Dog, and the Bishop\nf.42v Of the Fox, the Cockerel and the Dogs
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AESOP: AVIANUS: ALPHONSE: POGGIO FIORENTINO. Fables, in the French translation of Julien Macho, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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CONTENT:

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All but one fable is illustrated with a rectangular miniature (50mm x 70mm) depicting a central episode, sometimes even two, of the tale. The scenes are animated and, usually, precise evocations set in appropriate locations. Ruelle commented on the similarity of the miniatures in the Paris section with the incunable illustrations but could find no precise dependence. Whether it was manuscript or printed the illuminator does appear to have been following a model, and a model he occasionally misunderstood. The tortoise being carried by the eagle on f.21 has been turned into a more explicable bird, while the fieldmouse on f.13v has become an oversize bug.


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*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.


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