ST FRANCIS AND ST BERNARDINO, miniature on a leaf from a Book of Hours, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [Ghent or Tournai, mid- to late 1450s].

A delightful miniature by the Master of the Ghent Privileges, one of the leading Flemish illuminators of the second third of the fifteenth century. The Master was first identified in 1915 by Friedrich Winkler, and named after a richly illuminated copy of the Statutes and Privileges of Ghent and Flanders made for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy (Vienna, ÖNB, Cod.2583). His style is characterised by dense, spatially ambitious compositions and fanciful landscapes, tubular draperies and rounded, jolly faces. Through a study of the borders of the three leaves – which included the present lot – offered at Sotheby’s in 1983, Gregory Clark established the likely collaboration between the Master of the Ghent Privileges and the Mansel Master, and points to the repetition of certain compositional tropes in the Master’s oeuvre (the marginal archer emerging from the foliage and the escutcheon-bearing lion, for example, can also be found in Walters MS. W.719).

- The illuminator is the Master of the Ghent Privileges, active in Ghent and Tournai in the second third of the 15th century. Bernardino of Siena was canonised in 1450, providing a terminus post quem for the dating of the leaf’s parent manuscript. In the lower margin is a coat of arms lion rampant or with nowed tails, a bendlet argent, previously identified as belonging to the van Wytveliets of Brabant, although the nowed tails make such an attribution problematic.
- Sotheby’s, 13 June 1983, lot 27, sold to Dr Eichenberger, previously loosely inserted in Marquess of Bute MS. 96, a late 15th-century northern Netherlandish Book of Hours, lot 22 in the same sale.

171 x 113mm. On the left, St Francis kneeling and receiving the stigmata, on the right, a standing Bernardino of Siena, all within a full border and opening a suffrage to the two saints in a Book of Hours; verso with 16 lines of text continuing the suffrage to St Francis and St Bernardino within a 3-sided border, written space: 90 x 59mm.

G. Clark, Made in Flanders: the Master of the Ghent Privileges, 2000, pp.107-8
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