Christie’s unveils most valuable collection of royal illuminated manuscripts to date

The Daily Mail has an absolutely stunning collection of images from the collection, which was apparently amassed by an American businessman over about thirty years. There are 48 lots in the collection.

Gems from the collection include:

  • A Book Of Hours illuminated for King Francois I of France, expected to realise £300,000 to £500,000. Francois is described as one of the greatest princely patrons of the Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years in the king’s service. After his death Francois acquired The Mona Lisa from the artist’s estate.
  • The Hours and Psalter of Elizabeth de Bohun, Countess of Northampton and great-grandmother of King Henry V of England, are expected to realise £2million to £3million. These were lent by a previous owner, William Waldorf Astor, to the important loan exhibition in New York 1883 which raised funds for a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.
  • A manuscript Bible produced in Italy in the middle of the 13th century. It appears to have been made for the use of a convent of Dominican friars and carries an estimate of £2.5million to £3.5million.

Truly an amazing collection (I even love the name–the “Arcana Collection”), and I’m curious as to why he had to part with it. I’m really hoping that a museum or a university gets a hold of some of the works in this collection.

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