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Re: [BKARTS] Renaissance Book Complete at Last

Is there any way to see images of the book?

----- Original Message -----
From: CulPropProtNet/MusSecNetwork <museum-security@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date:         Thu, 30 Sep 2004 23:14:49 +0200
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [BKARTS] Renaissance Book Complete at Last

> Renaissance Book Complete at Last
> By Sherna Noah, Arts Correspondent, PA News
> One of the most famous books to come out of the Italian Renaissance, The
> Sforza Hours, has finally been completed &#8211; more than 500 years after its
> creation.
> The book of Christian private devotions was commissioned around 1490, and
> took around 20 years to complete, but just before it was finished three of
> its highly-prized pages were stolen from the illuminator&#8217;s workshop.
> The missing leaves only resurfaced about 65 years ago and one of them has
> remained in private hands &#8211; separated from the illuminated manuscript &#8211; ever
> since.
> Now the British Library has purchased the last stolen page of the parchment
> book, meaning that the treasure can be seen in its complete form for the
> first time.
> The item consists of an illustrated calendar, marking the religious days and
> depicting scenes from the month, and a prayer book.
> The British Museum purchased one of the missing leaves, a scene of the
> adoration of the Kings from the prayer book, in 1941.
> The book was passed from the British Museum to the British Library in 1973,
> and the Library bought the second page, a scene from the calendar month of
> May, in 1984.
> The third missing leaf shows a stunning illuminated miniature of a hunting
> scene &#8211; the seasonal activity for October.
> The book itself only measures around 130mm x 95mm (5in x 3.75in) but is
> estimated to be worth around £10 million and is one of the Library&#8217;s finest
> treasures.
> It was owned by two of the richest and most powerful women of the age and
> illustrated by two of the greatest artists of the period.
> The manuscript was commissioned by Bona of Savoy, whose husband, Galeazzo
> Sforza, Duke of Milan, had been assassinated.
> While the Milanese illuminator Giovan Pietro Birago, a contemporary of
> Leonardo da Vinci, was working on the finishing touches, the pages were
> stolen from his workshop.
> Birago blamed the Friar Johanne Jacopol, saying he &#8220;visited me several times
> and on one time, when I was out of the house, acted fervently and stole the
> said book&#8221;.
> He wrote a letter to the Friar asking for the return of the work, but his
> request was ignored, and the leaves had by then probably been passed on.
> In 1519, the manuscript passed into the hands of Bona&#8217;s niece, the Hapsburg
> Princess Margaret of Austria and Regent of the Netherlands.
> She arranged for duplicates of the missing pages to be made by her own
> Flemish court painter, Gerald Horenbout.
> Dr Scot McKendrick, the Library&#8217;s head of medieval and earlier manuscripts,
> said: &#8220;The Sforza Hours is one of the greatest illuminated manuscripts.
> &#8220;The acquisition of the October leaf ends a 500-year odyssey and we are
> delighted that all parts of the Hours are now reunited at the British
> Library.
> He said: &#8220;We don&#8217;t know who the scribe was but the art is of an extremely
> high level and now we have the original and replacement leaves.
> &#8220;The stolen leaves were replaced by some of the finest Flemish miniature
> paintings of the time, so we have a high Renaissance Italian book of words
> with sumptuous Flemish illustrations.&#8221;
> The Library has paid £191,000 to a private dealer in Chicago for the page, a
> figure which includes a £131,000 grant from the National Art Collections
> Fund.
> The manuscript was given to the British Museum in 1893 by the Scottish
> collector John Malcolm of Poltalloch and was passed to the British Library
> when it separated from the museum in 1973.
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