Friday, June 3, 2016

From the Monastery to the Auction Salesroom

By Scott Reyburn
Book of Hours from the workshop of Maître François (Paris, circa 1470) sold for £27,500. Credit Christie's Images Ltd. 2016
ENGLAND---Collecting fields don’t get much more rarefied than illuminated manuscripts. Once prized by the likes of the Rothschilds and America’s robber barons, these exquisite products of medieval monastic life now sell for fractions of the telephone-number prices paid for contemporary art stars like Twombly and Basquiat. But Christie’s, at least, is hoping to revive the appeal of these historic objects. On Wednesday in London, the auction house held a sale of more than 30 medieval manuscripts from the family collection of Maurice Burrus, a French-Swiss tobacco and railroad magnate and renowned stamp collector, who died in 1959. [link]