Merial Psalter. In French, illuminated manuscript... - Lot 18 - Binoche et Giquello

Lot 18
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Merial Psalter. In French, illuminated manuscript... - Lot 18 - Binoche et Giquello
Merial Psalter.
In French, illuminated manuscript on parchment.
France, Paris, ca. 1520-1530.
With 7 large miniatures by the artist designated as "Principal Executor of the Statutes of the Order of St. Michael", close to the "Colaud Group", sometimes designated as "privileged associate of Etienne Colaud" 166 ff, with ff. 164-166 blank except for a provenance mark on the front of f. 166, leaves preceded and followed by two paper endpapers, complete manuscript [collation: i2, ii8+1 (singleton inserted at the beginning of the quire), iii-xxi8], very fine parchment, humanistic handwriting in brown ink, of great regularity by a very careful calligrapher, 22 long lines per page (justification: 55 x 90 mm), ruled in pale red ink, a few early signatures, rubrics in red, endpapers in red or blue with liquid gold decoration, initials 1-2 lines high painted in red or blue with liquid gold decoration, larger initials marking major serial divisions drawn in liquid gold on a blue background with white highlights, a large initial introducing Psalm 1, initial B painted in blue with white highlights on a dark red background with gold decoration (5 lines high), with 7 LARGE MINIATURES inscribed in illuminated architectural frames (the first full-page miniature, placed in the frontispiece ; the others placed above a few lines of text).
19th century binding. Full crimson velvet, boards decorated with 4 metallic spandrels and a central cabochon, spine mute, gilt edges, combed marbled paper endpapers; two metallic clasps forming the letters "P" and "J". Slight wear marks on the edges and headpieces; small crack on the upper corner of the first board. Interior in perfect condition (a few scattered stains, not serious). Manuscript in modern hinged slipcase, half red morocco, morocco lining, gilt letters on spine "Psautier d'Urfé". Binding in excellent condition.
Miniatures in superb condition. A few stains on the parchment (ff. 3v, 4, 70v).
Dimensions of the manuscript: 100 x 160 mm; dimensions of the binding: 110 x 167 mm.
Manuscript in a remarkable state of freshness with shimmering colours and ancient inscriptions from the 16th century which trace this manuscript back to a great family of Bourbonnais, that of the d'Urfé, a famous family of bibliophiles, patrons of the arts and literary figures
Beautifully calligraphed by a French hand in imitation of Italian humanism, this manuscript contains the Psalms of David followed by the texts of the hymns, illustrated with an iconographic cycle of seven miniatures painted by a Parisian artist close to Etienne Colaud, known as the "privileged associate" of Colaud, or "Principal Executor of the Statutes of the Order of St. Michael" with whom Etienne Colaud maintained close ties.
This manuscript presents a highly original iconographic cycle, as it is much more about illustrating the biography of David than the content of the biblical psalms. The Bible passages illustrating David's biography are taken from the first two books of Kings (I Samuel and II Samuel). This narrative tradition is ancient, and the most complete example in the West is undoubtedly found in a manuscript made at Cîteaux between 1109 and 1111, the Bible of Stephen Harding (Dijon, BM, 14, f. 13). It is more surprising to find this iconographic cycle in a 16th-century manuscript, and these miniatures demonstrate a real biblical culture with a studied iconographic programme.
The artist who painted this Psalter was named after the works produced for the manuscripts of the Statutes of the Order of St Michael, of which there are sixteen manuscripts and one single leaf. This artist was christened "Principal Executor of the Statutes" because he is credited with a number of manuscripts of the Statutes commissioned by King Francis I (18 manuscripts in 1523; 6 manuscripts in 1528) (see Cousseau, 2016, pp. 116-117; and earlier work by Paul Durrieu (1911)), associated in the receipts with Etienne Colaud, who undoubtedly played the role of bookseller responsible for the orders: "His activity is thus rather similar, although he does not take the title, to that of a bookseller receiving a global sum and assuming the role of intermediary between the various executors..." (Cousseau, 2016, p. 118). Our artist, the "Principal Executor of the Statutes" was to be under the orders or at least "principal associate" in this task: Colaud also had recourse to other Parisian artists to assist him, such as artists of the "Bellemare Group" (see the work of Guy-Michel Leproux). The artist known as the "Principal Executor of the Statutes" produced seven of the Statutes' manuscripts: this set is described by Cousseau who concludes: "He [Etienne Colaud] is therefore not, as one might have thought
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