Water Explained, from Le Livre des propriétés des choses



Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

The miniature opened Book XIII on water, with a coroneted scholar pointing out a spring to his followers.

Size: 100 x 86 mm. Square cutting, vellum, on reverse 17-18 lines in faded ink in a batarde hand.

This miniature comes from a luxurious copy of the translation made in 1372 by Jean Corbechon for Charles V of France of the popular encyclopaedic text on The Properties of Things, composed c. 1245 by the English Franciscan Bartholomaeus Anglicus, that embodied man’s understanding of the natural world to aid comprehension of the Bible.

The artist Perrin (Pierre) Remiet, documented in Paris from 1386 to 1428, was a favoured illuminator for the court of Charles VI during Paris’s greatest period as a centre of illumination (see François Avril, 'Trois manuscrits napolitains des collections de Charles V et du duc de Berry', Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes, 127, 1969, pp. 291-328; for a convincing refutation of Michael Camille's misleading identification of Remiet with the Maître de la mort and consequent attribution of Remiet’s work to Jean de Nizières, see R. and M. Rouse, Manuscripts and their Makers, Commercial Book Production in Medieval Paris 1200-1500, 2000, I, pp. 293-6, and II, pp. 79 and 115). Remiet's successful style, a strong sense of line and shape yet with naturalistically modelled figures set against patterned backgrounds, is demonstrated in this miniature.

Richly illuminated copies were in demand and Remiet seems to have specialised in their production. He contributed to the copies owned by the Duke of Orléans (Paris, Bibl. Ste Geneviève ms 1028) and by Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy (Brussels, KBR ms 9094), and to the copies sold at the Arcana Sale, Christie’s 7 July 2010, lot 31, and held by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris (ms fr. 216).



Stock Code: 225284

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