When manuscripts resurface, keen researchers leap at the opportunity to examine them, hoping to solve the mysteries that surround these ancient books. In this interview, a distinguished scholar of medieval manuscripts provides an examination and analysis of the recently resurfaced Fauquier Book of Hours and its significance.
In an interview by Helen Wustefeld, Senior Researcher at Dr. Jorn Gunther Rare Books, Professor Gregory Clark, a Medieval manuscript specialist, talks about his decades-long dream to get a better glimpse at one of the texts central to his study, and elaborates on the significance of being able to see it in person, with all the detail and information that provides.
The Fauquier Book of Hours, a vivid manuscript of a typical (and highly popular) devotional book of the medieval ages, is unique for its 13 miniatures. Indeed, upon seeing them, Professor Clark was able to attribute two of them to one artist (Master of Walters 219) and the remaining 11 to an artist working in Amiens (in the circle of the Master of the Collins Hours), and by doing so, he, in his own words, “solved three puzzles”.
First, Professor Clark finds in the manuscript the influence of the master working in Amiens influenced the artists after him in the way they drew the heads of female figures with rounded but pear-like shapes, with sharp foreheads. Looking at the book, Professor Clark is also able to identify the book as dating to the middle of the 15th century and posits that this book translated the local traditions into an Amiens style that was picked up by influential artists afterwards, including the Ghent Privileges Master. With that in mind, Professor Clark further posits that it was this book which accounted for the connection between the artistic traditions of Northeastern France and Southern Netherlands because it influenced the Ghent Privileges Master, who worked in both Amiens and Tournay in his lifetime.
Check out the video for the full discussion, as well as a glimpse of the miniatures which led Professor Clark to his conclusions!
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