Das prachtvolle Buch, ca. 1504 von einem Speyerer Buchmaler (oder einer Buchmalerin, wer weiß) geschmückt, ging für £ 289.250 bei Christie’s weg:
This splendid choirbook contains chants for the Divine Office for feasts from the Sanctoral — from the Visitation on 2 July (f.1) to St Katherine on 25 November (f.171) — followed by the Common of Saints (ff.176-223v) and Hymnal (ff.224v-338). It was illuminated for Elisabeth of Gemmingen, who is shown kneeling before Saint Katherine in the border miniature of f.171. Elisabeth, named in the banderole above her head, is shown dressed in the habit of a Dominican. She was the daughter of Hans von Gemmingen and Brida von Neuenstein of Speyer, whose coats of arms are painted beside the lavishly illuminated initials throughout the manuscript: U. Frommberger-Weber, ‘Spätgotische Buchmalerei in den Städten Speyer, Worms und Heidelberg (1440-1510). Ein Beitrag zur Malerei des nördlichen Oberrheingebietes im ausgehenden Mittelalter’, Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins, 121 (1973), pp.35-145.
Elisabeth was received into the Dominican Order in 1486 in the convent of Sankt Maria Magdalena zu Hasenpfühl close to Speyer Cathedral. In 1504 she became prioress of the convent and this is perhaps the most likely date for her to have had the manuscript made. It seems likely to have been intended for the use of the sisters there. The rubric for the Feast for St Dominic names him as ‘our patron’ and the predominant presence of female saints, ten of the fourteen illustrated feasts, would fit with this use. Elisabeth is known to have presented a window and a Missal to her convent and this manuscript, another instance of her artistic patronage and benefaction, seems most likely to have been created for the same destination. It was clearly just one volume of a multi-volume series of choirbooks — four other leaves with miniatures, now in the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum in Aachen, clearly came from a companion Antiphonal with Feasts from the Temporal: E.G. Grimm, Miniaturen, Handzeichnungen, Aquarelle (Katalog des Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, Aachen), 1977. Presumably the gatherings of a volume with Sanctoral feasts from December to June was written continuously with those of the present volume, which are numbered from xxviii-lviii. The division into two was made after the first leaf of the first gathering of this book.
Collection d’un amateur suisse, Mm.-Mensing et fils, Amsterdam 22 November 1929, lot 35.
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