milan golob

A fifteenth-century French manuscript


paintings 1 2 2 3 4 5 a b c -
- A B . . . . . . . new








list of paintings ...


titles of ...
paintings not created yet

A fifteenth-century French manuscript

Agata Sapuppo (1919-1987)
2012, oil on canvas, 24×19 cm

A fifteenth-century French manuscript

Agata Sapuppo (1919-1987)

A fifteenth-century French manuscript




Susie Nash
A fifteenth-century French manuscript and an unknown painting by Robert Campin*

(Part 1)

It is well known that the paintings of the Master of Flemalle, Robert Campin, were used as sources by manuscript illuminators.[1] The best known examples are in the Salisbury Breviary, illuminated in Paris between 1424 and c.1460 by the Bedford workshop,[2] and in the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, illuminated most probably in Utrecht around 1440 by the Master of Catherine of Cleves.[3] In these cases the borrowings are not repetitions of entire compositions, but show figures or groups of figures carefully integrated into miniatures which remain characteristic of the illuminators' indigenous style. The manner in which they are used suggests that they were regarded as useful and eye-catching motifs, derived from pattern- book drawings, rather than through first hand knowledge of Campin's paintings.

Man in armour kneeling before the Trinity, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly.

Fig. 1. Man in armour kneeling before the Trinity, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly, fol. 183r. c.1435. 22.4 by 15.6 cm. (Private collection, U.S.A.).

There is, however, a manuscript with illuminations which appear to derive from Campin in a different, more direct and more specific, way: a Book of Hours which was sold at auction in 1978 and is now in a private collection in the United States.[4] It is known as the d'Ailly Hours after its original owner Raoul d'Ailly, Vidame of Amiens and Baron of Picquigny from 1413 until 1455, when he made over the titles to his son. He died in 1468. Raoul, whose portrait appears on fol. 25 (Fig. 3) and whose arms, de gules au chif echiquete d'azur et d'argent de trois tieres, occur throughout the manuscript, was a partisan of the Dukes of Burgundy and a distinguished military campaigner. He fought for John the Fearless at the siege of Pontoise in 1417, assisted in the massacre of the Armagnacs in Paris in 1418, defended Compiegne against Joan of Arc in 1430, and led troops for Philip the Good against the English and finally against the rebels of Ghent in 1453. In 1429 he had been sent by Philip the Good as an ambassador to Arniens to assure the town of the duke's affection and good intentions, and in subsequent years he was involved in fighting the French along the frontiers of Picardy.[5] For his services, Raoul was rewarded with the titles of counsellor and chamberlain, and with some prestigious alliances: in 1435 his eldest daughter, Jacqueline, married Jean de Bourgogne, the future count of Nevers and Rethel, cousin and stepson to Philip the Good; and in 1452 his eldest son married Yolande de Bourgogne, one of Philip's natural daughters.

Man kneeling before an altar, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly.

Fig. 2. Man kneeling before an altar, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly, fol.161 r.

Raoul's Book of Hours was clearly not bought off the shelf, ready-made: it is a deluxe product, customized to his specifications, extensively decorated with forty-nine large miniatures and with sections of the text written in burnished gold. There are several uncommon soldier's prayers, some of which are illustrated by unusual images, including a man in armour (Raoul?) in supplication before the Trinity while an angel spears a seven-headed beast (Fig. 1 ). There is also a long series of twenty-five illustrated Suffrages, which are heavily weighted towards warrior saints. From the evidence of the costume and the style of the borders, the book was probably commissioned by Raoul some time in the 1430s. The man kneeling before an altar on fol. 161 (Fig. 2) wears a long robe, the shoulders of which are free from padding, the belt slung low, with large ballooning sleeves brought in tight at the wrists, characteristics comparable with the dress of Jodocus Vyd in the Ghent altar-piece, the painting of which was completed in 1432. The figure kneeling in supplication before God the Father on fol. 159 sports a fashion of slightly later date, with a shorter robe and a belt worn higher on the waist, which is indicative of c.1435-40; it may be compared with that worn by a figure in the Exhumation if St Hubert in the National Gallery, London, dateable to c.1437.[6] In 1435 Raoul would have been in his mid-forties. His portrait on fol. 25 (Fig. 3), although somewhat generalised, presents a man of early middle age, in his prime and active in military life, and is unlikely to have been painted much after this period.

Raoul d'Ailly before the Virgin and Child, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly.

Fig. 3. Raoul d'Ailly before the Virgin and Child, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly, fol.25r.

Internal evidence also makes it possible to establish that Raoul had his book made and illuminated in Amiens. Although the Hours of the Virgin are for the universal use of Rome, the Office of the Dead is for the use of Amiens and the calendar is full of very specific feasts for that diocese.[7] More significantly, the d'Ailly Hours belongs to a close-knit group of fifteen or so other manuscripts, written for Amiens use, and some having marks of ownership which link them further to this region: all are stylistically related to the d'Ailly Hours, and are closely interrelated in their decoration, structure, script and text.[8]

* Susie Nash; A Fifteenth-Century French Manuscript and an Unknown Painting by Robert Campin, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 137, No. 1108, 1995, pp. 428-431.

A fifteenth-century French manuscript and an unknown painting by Robert Campin (Part 2)

A fifteenth-century French manuscript and an unknown painting by Robert Campin (Part 3)


[1] In this article the identification of the Master of Flemalle with Robert Campin, painter from Tournai, is accepted. For the literature on the Campin-Flemalle problem, see M. DAVIES: National Gallery Catalogues: The Early Netherlandish School, London, 3rd ed. [1968], pp. 23-25, and L. CAMPBELL: 'Robert Campin, the Master of Flemalle and the Master of Merode', THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE, CXVI [1974], pp. 634-46.

[2] For the correct dating of the Salisbury Breviary, see C.1. REYNOLDS: The Salisbury Breviary (Paris, EN, ms. lat. 17294) and Some Related Manuscripts, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of London, 1986. For the motifs derived from Campin, see E. SPENCER: The Master of the Duke of Bedford: The Salisbury Breviary', THE BURLINGTON MAGAZINE, cvm [1966], p.612.

[3] The borrowings were first noted by K. DE WIT: 'Das Horarium der Katharina van Kleve als Quelle fur die Geschichte der sudniederlandischen Tafelmalerei' ,Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen, LVIII [1937], p.117. For a discussion of further motifs copied from Campinesque paintings in the Hours of Catherine of Cleves see J. DIJKSTRA: Origineel en kopie. Een onder;:oek naar de navolging van de Meester van Flemalle en Rogier van der Weyden, Amsterdam [1990], pp.169-70.

[4] Sotheby's, London, 11th July 1978, lot 48; then with H.P Kraus in New York (see their Catalogue 159: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Eleventh to the Eighteenth Centuries, New York [1981], no. 13, p. 34). It was subsequently exhibited in New York in 1982, see J. PLUMMER: The Last Flowering: French Painting in Manuscripts 14 20-1530,from Ameican Collections, New York and London [1982], no. 13, pp. 9-10.

[5] For Raoul's military career see J. DE VISMES: Collections du Pic Hardy. Families Picardes: Ailly, XIX, Soissons [1959J, pp. 15-17.

[6] M. SCOTT: The History if Dress Series. Late Gothic Europe, 1400-1500, London [1980], p.128, pIs. 65-66.

[7] For example, in gold: Firmin the martyr (13.I), patron and first bishop of Amiens; Honore (16.V), fourth bishop of Amiens; Firmin the confessor (I.IX), third bishop of Amiens; Firmin the martyr (25.IX), Fuscian, Gentian, Victoric (II.XII), martyred near Amiens. As ordinary feasts: Ulphia (31.1), eighth-century virgin and anchoress of Amiens; Walaric (1.IV), founder of the monastery of Leuconay in the diocese of Amiens; Quentin (2.V), imprisoned and tortured in Amiens and'subsequently martyred nearby; Fuscian, inv. (27.VI); Firmin the martyr, vig. (24.IX); Domice (23.X), an eighth-century anchorite of Amiens, whose relics were in the cathedral, having been translated there at the same time as those of St Ulphia, with whom he is associated; Romain, com. (24.X), a special feast instituted in Amiens in exchange for the institution of the feast of St Firmin in the Rouen calendar, distinguished from the Rouen feast for this saint by its occurrence on 24th rather than 23rd October; Quentin (31.X); Fuscian, vig. (10.XII); Walaric, trans. (12.XII. For a detailed discussion concerning the localisation of these manuscripts see NASH, dissertation cited at the head of these notes, pp.40-66.

[8] For these manuscripts, and a more detailed discussion of the d'Ailly Hours, see NASH, ibid.