milan golob

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


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 and an unknown painting by Robert Campin

Corradina Caini (1910-1955)
2012, oil on canvas, 19×30 cm

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

Corradina Caini (1910-1955)

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




A fifteenth-century French manuscript and an unknown painting by Robert Campin (Part 1)

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


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

(Part 3)

It remains to ask how an illuminator working in Amiens came by his knowledge of what was presumably a small and intimate painting from Campin's workshop. Amiens, whose ownership swung between that of the French crown and the Burgundian dukes throughout the fifteenth century, certainly had contacts with French-held Tournai, and one painter and illuminator, Andre d'Ypres, worked in both centres. He is recorded in Amiens in 1425-26, and is then found registered as a master in the Guild of St Luke at Tournai in 1428 just prior to the condemnations of 1429 when Campin was at the height of his career. By 1441 Andre was back in Amiens practising his trade, and presumably bringing new, foreign ideas with him.[21] Ties with the Burgundian town of Arras, where Campin's pupil Jacques Daret was working in the mid 1430s, were also particularly strong.[22] Enough citizens of Amiens were in Arras in 1433, escaping an outbreak of plague, to warrant the echevinage of Amiens sending a special deputation to collect outstanding taxes; Amienois illuminators and scribes were active in Arras in 1422 and there are recorded instances from later in the century of artists moving between the two centres. It is also probable that Netherlandish pictures were being imported into Amiens since we know that dealers in paintings were active in the town at this period. A reference in the town accounts of Amiens for 1449 refers to a 'Henri, vendeur d'ymages', and in 1457. 'Baudin Elles, marchant de ymages du Pays d'Alemagne' sold a cloth painting of the Crucifixion to the echevinage for 38 sous, which was to be used as a protective covering for the picture commissioned in 1454 from Simon Marmion.[23] The one panel painting that is firmly connected to Amiens from this period, the Virgin as Priest, which was made for the Amienois confraternity of Notre-Dame du Puy in 1438, has long been recognised as displaying Netherlandish tendencies, the works of Campin being vaguely given as their source.[24]

St Catherine, from a Book of Hours. Northern French, c.1430-35.

Fig. 11. St Catherine, from a Book of Hours. Northern French, c.1430-35. (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, MS W. 281, fol. 239)

It would seem, then, that artists or works of art travelling between Picardy, Tournai, Artois and the Southern Netherlands might well account for the copying of a Campinesque painting by an artist active in Amiens. But the reference might also be more specific. One of the most striking features of the d'Ailly Virgin and Child is the overall decoration of the walls of the interior with the personal device of Raoul, a bright blue bird which holds in its mouth a sprig of green leaves.[25] Raoul's arms are also prominently displayed on the fireplace. We know that this sort of painted decoration was common in the chambers of the nobility. Margaret of Flanders, Duchess of Burgundy, had rooms at Germolles painted with hundreds of sheep, which may well have looked something like this.[26] While the heraldic display in the d'Ailly miniature could have been added by the illuminator, on the request of Raoul, its occurrence only in this miniature - none of the other forty-eight illuminations include these stunning devices as decorative heraldic motifs[27] - may suggest that it was a feature of the painting, which seems to have been copied by the illuminator so faithfully in other ways. In other manuscripts where there are similar heraldic displays, such as the Boucicaut Hours, they are spread among many of the miniatures.[28] Although a blue bird does occur by the side of Raoul in the miniature in which he is presented to the Virgin and Child (Fig. 3), its treatment there is significandy different from that on the walls of the Virgin's interior (Fig. 4): it is more elongated, is without a crown, has different white markings and does not hold the leaves in its mouth. The miniaturist has not simply taken Raoul's blue bird device and integrated it in a decorative manner into a composition of the Virgin in an interior. Rather, the more carefully drawn and distinct armorial devices on the walls of the Virgin's room appear to have been part of the original source that the illuminator was using as his model.

The Nativity, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly.

Fig. 12. The Nativity, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly, fol. 50r.

Paintings in which marks of ownership and personal devices are prominent are not uncommon, although they are more usually found in conjunction with donor figures. A good example is a late fifteenth-century panel in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, showing Philip Hinckaert presented to the Virgin by St Philip, where the figures are in a room hung with a bright red canopy embroidered with the initials and devices of Philip and his wife Gertrude van de Vuecht.[29] An example of a religious picture without a donor where the owner's arms are prominendy displayed is the Annunciation in New York associated with Rogier van der Weyden, which shows the Virgin kneeling on a carpet covered with the arms of Ferry de Clugny, which also appear in the stained glass window above.[30] No surviving works show quite such an overwhelming display of heraldry as the d'Ailly panel, but they may have been particularly subject to destruction for exacdy this reason.[31]

St Mark in his study, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly.

Fig. 13. St Mark in his study, from the Hours of Raoul d'Ailly, fol. 18r.

It seems very likely, then, that Raoul d'Ailly may have owned a painting from the workshop of Robert Campin which he made available to the illuminator to be reproduced in his smart new, specially commissioned manuscript. Other examples of such a practice include a Book of Hours in Paris made around 1454 for Rene of Anjou (Fig. 15), with a fullpage miniature clearly recording, in both style and form, a votive panel from around 1400, which itself was probably inspired by an Italo-Byzantine image.[32] As Reynaud has remarked, this panel may have been owned by Rene, or may have been located in a shrine which he visited frequendy: significantly, all other known copies of it are limited to Angevin circles.[33] A later manuscript in the British Library made for Joanna of Castile between 1496-1506 (Fig. 14), has a very direct copy of a panel depicting the Virgin and Child from the workshop of Rogier van der Weyden.[34] This is used as a devotional focus for Joanna as part of a double-page-spread heading a prayer to the Virgin. The significance of this copy is the form in which it is found: the scale of the figures, the lack of border decoration or text and the inclusion of a fictive 'frame' suggests a very direct copy from a panel rather than the adaptation of a design through pattern book drawings. Panel paintings are copied elsewhere in this manuscript, but they are integrated with standard decorative borders and are in scale with the other miniatures.[35] Since the Hours of Joanna of Castile was a highly customised book, and since the miniature is so extremely close to the Rogier painting in all its details, including colour, we may have here another very specific copy in manuscript form of a favourite devotional image, possibly owned by the patron.[36]

Virgin and Child, from the Hours of Joanna the Mad. c. 1496-1506.

Fig. 14. Virgin and Child, from the Hours of Joanna the Mad. c. 1496-1506. (British Library, London, Add. MS 18852, fol. 287v.)

These two examples may owe their existence to the possible cult status of the images reproduced: the Virgin in the Rene Hours, from its style, form and re-appearance in later manuscripts associated with Anjou and Lorraine or Provence, clearly copies a Gnadenbild. The image copied in the Hours of Joanna of Castile is it half-length version of Rogier van der Weyden's St Luke drawing the Virgin, and although there is no evidence that anyone version of this work was the object of a particular cult, such a circumstance would explain its vast popularity.[37] The d'Ailly copy seems to have been inspired by a similar, but more personal, motivation, the 'cult' of the image in this case being limited to Raoul and perhaps his family. The reason behind such copies, however, may be more prosaic: people liked to commission, own and use images which had proved their worth, and Rene's, Joanna's, and presumably Raoul's, painting had done just that.[38] Including a copy of a favourite panel in a personal prayerbook was one more way of customising a manuscript and ensuring its success as a devotional aid.[39] It is worth noting here that the Virgin and Child miniature forms part of the group of highly personalised prayers and miniatures which were added to the book at a fairly late stage, indicating a level of conscious choice by the patron concerning text and image.[40]

Finally, it is significant that the composition of the Virgin in an interior, unlike most of the other miniatures from the d'Ailly Hours, has no repercussions in the fairly large group of books illuminated by associates and followers of this master in Amiens. This is surprising given that the Virgin and Child was a subject which would lend itself to being re-used. If, however, the artist copied this miniature directly from a panel owned by Raoul himself, the absence is more easily explained: a drawing after the composition may never have been made.

Virgin, from the Hours of Rene of Anjou. c. 1454.

Fig. 15. Virgin, from the Hours of Rene of Anjou. c. 1454. (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, MS lat. 17332, fol. 15v).

How Raoul acquired this painting must be a matter of speculation. In the few accounts concerning his expenditure which survive, the only reference to painting concerns the decoration of candles with coats of arms.[41] No inventories of his belongings are extant. A painting so bespattered with personal devices must have been specially commissioned and, although Raoul is not known to have had contacts in Tournai, Campin's work was certainly known and appreciated in court circles.[42] Alternatively, it should not be ruled out that the painting could have been commissioned from Campin's pupil Jacques Daret, who reproduced for Raoul a version of an existing Campin design.[43] Raoul was in Arras in 1435, taking part in the historic negotiations between France and Burgundy.[44] He could have seen there Daret's recently completed panels for Jacques du Clerc, Abbot of Saint Vaast, which were shown off to the visiting delegates.[45] A date of around 1435 seems to fit both the lost panel and the illuminated manuscript copy.

* Susie Nash; A Fifteenth-Century French Manuscript and an Unknown Painting by Robert Campin, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 137, No. 1108, 1995, pp. 435-437.


[21] For Andre d'Ypres see STERLING, op.cit. at note 13 above, II, pp. 76- 11 5, esp. pp. 88ff, and s. NASH: 'Some relationships between Flemish painting and illumination in Amiens c. 1400-1460', Proceedings of the international symposium on pre-Eyckian manuscript illumination, Leuven, 1993 [1995] , pp. 542- 43.
[22] J. LESTOCQUOY: 'Relations artistiques entre Arras et Amiens a la fin du XV, siecle et au debut du XVI' siecle', L'Art de l'Artois. Mimoires de La commission des Monuments Historiques, XV, i [1973], pp. 157- 58.
[23] For the sources of the examples cited in this paragraph and for further artistic relationships between Amiens and Flanders at this period see NASH , loc.cit. at note 21 above, 541 - 55.
[24] Paris, Musee du Louvre, R.F. 1938- 63, see c. STERLING and H. ADHEMAR: Musie National du Louvre: peinture, ecole franfaise: XIVe, XVe, et XVIe siecles, Paris [1965] , no. 40; J. DUPONT: 'La Sacerdoce de la Vierge. Le Puy d'Amiens en 1437', Gazette des Beaux-Arts, VIII [1932], pp. 265-74. G. RING: A Century of French Painting, 1400-1500, London [1949]. The Virgin as priest may be attributed to the illuminator responsible for a Book of Hours in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MS. 45-65-4, whose style was clearly formed under the d'Ailly Master (see NASH, dissertation cited at the head of these notes, pp. 168-77). The manuscript is illustrated in PLUMMER, op. cit. at note 4 above, pl. 15, and in R. WIECK: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life, London [1988] , pl. 60.
[25] It has been suggested in the catalogue to the Sotheby's sale cited at note 4 above, p.42), that the bird and leaf may be a play on the name Raoul d'Ailly, the bird being a roller bird (rollier in French) and the leaf being wild garlic (ail). However, while the roller bird does have blue plumage and is seen in Europe (Dürer made studies of them), it does not look like the d'Ailly bird: roller birds are different in shape and do not have the bright red beak and head, long red legs or the white markings seen in the d'Ailly device. The leaf may in fact be meant to represent a sorbuslatifolia, commonly called the service tree of Fontainebleau (alizier or alisier in French), which has dark green sharply-lobed leaves.
[26] The painter Arnould Picornet was paid 5 francs per hundred sheep he was commissioned to paint on 'lymandes' for the walls of Germolles; P. DE WINTER: The Patronage of Philippe le Hardi, Duke of Burgunqy, doctoral dissertation , New York University, 1976 (University Microfilms, 1983), I, p. 114. Heraldic decorations were also produced for the walls of this chateau: see E. PICARD: 'Le Chateau de Germolles et Marguerite de Flandre', Mimoires dela societe iduenne, XL [1912] , pp. 147-218. For other comparable schemes in Italian palaces see A. MARTINDALE: 'Painting for Pleasure - Some Lost 15th-Century Secular Decorations of Northern Italy', in A. BORG and A. MARTINDALE, eds.: The Vanishing Past, Studies of Medieval Art, Liturgy and Metrology Presented to Christopher Hohler, Oxford [1981], p. 112.
[27] Two blue birds, rather differently shaped, with very long necks and without the red crowns, appear in the border of fol. 68, where they hold a scroll bearing a motto, 'quay co[n] dye'.
[28] Paris, MuseeJacquemart-Andre, MS 2; M. MEISS: French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: The Boucicaut Master, London [1968].
[29] Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Acc. no. PD. 19--1961; see A. ARNOULD and J.M. MASSING: The Spendours of Flanders: Late Medieval Art in Cambridge Collections, exh. cat., Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge [1993], pp. 42-43, p. 27 and frontispiece.
[30] New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 17.190.7; FRIEDLANDER, op.cit. at note 12 above, II, no. 48, pI. 69. See M. DYKMANS: 'Les sceaux et les armoiries du Cardinal Ferry de Clugny, eveque de Tournai', Revue beige d'archiologie et d'histoire de l'art, LII [1983], pp. 23-42. I would like to thank Scot McKendrick for this reference.
[31] Records of comparable works in inventories can be found: for example, a panel painting listed in an inventory of the goods of a citizen of Amiens,Jeanne Laudee, widow of Robert de Fontaines, made on 19th May 1514, is described as 'une ymage de Nostre-Dame de Pitii armorite des armoiryes Me Robert [de Fontaines], pruie xx s[ous], (G. DURAND: Inventaire Sommaire des Archives Communales anterieures it 1790. Deparlement de la Somme. Ville d'Amiens, serie FF. Contrats et inventaires, Amiens [1911], p. 373). However, the exact position of the arms or devices on panels listed in inventories is rarely clear. For example, a panel owned by Charles the Bold is described as 'ung autre tableau de bois paint en I'un de costes, a Nostre Dame et SaintJehan, et l'autre coste de Sainte Marguerite, et au dessus armt!)le des armes de Haynnau': the arms may have been on the main panel, giving an appearance like the d'Ailly miniature, or on the frame above the figures. See L. DE LABORDE: Les dues de Bourgogne. Etudes sur les lettres, les arts et l'industrie pendant Ie Xv,; siecle dans les Pays-Bas et Ie ducM de Bourgogne. Seconde Partie, Preuves, Paris [1849-1852], II, p. 31, note 2258.
[32] Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS lat. 17332 (F. AVRIL and N. REYNAUD, Les manuscrits it peintures en France 1440-1520, Paris [1993], pp. 233-34, no. 126; see also o. PACHT: The Avignon Diptych and its Eastern Ancestry', in M. MEISS, ed.: De Artibus Opuscula XL: Essays in Honor of Erwin Panofsky, New York [1961], pp. 402-21.
[33] 'For the later copies see N. REYNAUD: 'Georges Trubert, enlumineur du Roi Rene et de Rene II de Lorraine', Revue de l'art, XXXV [1977], pp. 41-63, Fig. 54, 56, 57.
[34] T. KREN: Renaissance Painting in Manuscripts. Treasuresfrom the British Library, New York [1983], pp. 59-62. The panel is Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, no. 650 (FRIEDLANDER, op.cit. at note 12 above, II, no. 107 a, pI. 120). The miniature and the panel painting are illustrated in P. DE WINTER: 'A Book of Hours of Isabei la Catolica', Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, LXVIII [1981], p.345, figs. 5 and 6.
[35] An Italian Trecento Gnadenbildwas also copied into the book on fol. 176v, but clearly in a different manner, integrated with a border design as found surrounding the other miniatures, and with the figures of the Virgin and Child in scale with the rest of the miniatures and withJoanna, who is again depicted on the opposite folio praying to the image. Reproduced in P. DURRIEU: La Miniature flamande au temps de la cour de Bourgogne (1415-1530), 2nd ed., Paris and Brussels [1927], pI. LXXXVI. I would like to thank Bodo Brinkmann for his communication concerning these copies.
[36] The Brussels panel itself is unlikely to have been owned by Joanna; the coat of arms in the window has been identified as that of Martin Reyngout, apothecary ofBruges, and Barbara van Rockaringen, his first wife, who died on 11 th September 1494; see c. VAN DER BERGEN-PANTENS: 'Heraldique au service de l'etude d'un tableau des Musees Royaux', Bulletin Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van Belgie, XV [1966], p.243-46. I would like to thank Lome Campbell for bringing this reference to my attention. A version could have been in Joanna's possession since the image was clearly very popular, existing in many copies; see note 38 below. For works of art commissioned by Joanna, see KREN, op.cit. at note 35 above, p. 59.
[37] Several half-length versions are illustrated by FRIEDLANDER, op.cit. at note 12 above, II, no. 107, pI. 120. DE vos (loc.cit. at note 17 above, p. 127) lists twenty-four examples, and illustrates seven, pis. 59-65. See also DIJKSTRA, op.cit. at note 3 above, pp. 123-130, and c. EISLER: New England Museums (Les Primitifsjlamands. 1. Corpus de la peinture des anciens Pays-Bas mendionaux au quinzieme siecle, 4), Brussels [1961], no. 73.
[38] That a work should follow or copy another work was clearly a common requirement in the fifteenth century, as has recently been highlighted by DIJKSTRA, op.cit. at note 3 above, esp. pp. 7-29.
[39] 'The exact copying of panels into manuscripts, which seems to be confined to pictures of the Virgin and Child or the face of Christ, deserves further study. The examples given here are limited to those where ownership of the panel by the patron of the manuscript is a possibility.
[40] These prayers were written partly on blank leaves at the end of quires, with the addition of bifolios or larger quires where necessary. They are distinguished by a different scribe, and a different form of subsidiary decoration; the miniatures however are indistinguishable in style from the others in the book, indicating that little time elapsed between the completion of the book and the decision to customize the manuscript further. The difference in subsidiary decoration is most probably accounted for, not by a change in style of the workshop over time, but by these elements being undertaken, in the additions, by the illuminator himself, whereas in the book proper the decoration is undertaken by other artists, probably specialists; the lesser size of the additions as a project may have meant that such a division of labour was no longer practical or necessary.
[41] v. DE BEAUVILLE: Recueil de documents inidits pour servir it l'histoire de la Picardie, Paris [1865-90], IV, p.107.
[42] Margaret of Burgundy, Countess Dowager of Hainault and Holland, intervened on Campin's behalf in 1432 to reduce the sentence of a year's banishment from Tournai, imposed on him for his scandalous private life, to a fine (CAMPBELL, lac. cit. at note I above p. 634). Lome Campbell, discussing the portraits of Bartholomew Alatruye and his wife in a paper read at the Campin Symposium in March 1993 at the National Gallery, London, showed that Campin received commissions from court circles. The proceedings of this conference are to be published in the near future.
[43] Lorne Campbell, in a lecture given at the National Gallery in March 1993, proposed attributing the National Gallery's Virgin in an interior to Jacques Daret; this attribution is briefly reiterated in CAMPBELL, lac. cit. at note 14 above, p.34, n. 21.
[44] J. COLLART: Journal de la Paix d'Arras de Dam Antoine de la Taverne, Paris [1651], pp.19, 25.
[45] Ibid., p. 12.