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Medieval Art Treasures expected to sell between € 2-3 million at auction

A collection of medieval items dating back to the 10th century will be going up for auction in Paris in November. The medieval treasures, which include ivories, enamels, gilt-bronze, an illuminated Gothic manuscript and pressed leather cutlery cases, are expected to raise between € 2-3 million.

The medieval works of art in the Collection of Jean-Joseph Marquet de Vasselot (1871-1946) were in large part inherited from his father-in-law Victor Prosper Martin Le Roy (1842-1918) who put together a magnificent grouping at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th centuries in France. The sale includes exceptional pieces, acquired from the most eminent collections of art of the 19th century among them Frédéric Spitzer, Michel Boy and Eugène Piot. The magnificent works of art assembled by Martin le Roy was studied and later enriched by his son-in-law, Jean-Joseph Marquet de Vasselot, French art historian, curator at the Louvre and director of the Cluny Museum. His expertise as a scholar was highly regarded and supported by major publications about tapestries and medieval enamels. It was in 1906 that he undertook the publication of the Catalogue raisonné in five volumes of the Collection of Martin le Roy with the intention of making it possible for scholars to discover the treasures that the collection contained.

Both of men were extremely generous to the Louvre and the Cluny Museum in their own life time by donating works of art to enrich the national collections. The remaining remarkable and extremely rare group of objects reflects the taste as well as the elegant and eclectic spirit of these two passionate art collectors, representing a major testimony to the decorative art of the Middle Ages. The works of art have been beautifully preserved and are offered by the direct descendants of Jean-Joseph Marquet de Vasselot.

Ivories dating from 10th century to 14th century:

  • A rectangular carved ivory book-cover of the Crucifixion, Constantinople, 10th century (lot 9, estimate: €300.000-500.000).
  • A carved ivory group of the Virgin and Child Enthroned, Paris, circa 1250-1270. The size, the delicacy and the remarkable condition make this an exquisite object in the collection. (lot 20, estimate: €1.000.000-2.000.000).
  • A rectangular carved ivory diptych panel depicting the Betrayal, French, late 13th century or early 14th century (lot 22, estimate: €12.000-18.000).
  • A carved mirror case cover, French, 14th century, (lot 23, estimate: €30.000-50.000).

Limoges enamels from 1185 to 1200:

  • A gilt-copper and polychrome enamel reliquary casket, Limoges, circa 1200. (lot 16, estimate: €80.000-120.000).
  • A gilt-copper and polychrome enamel terminal from a processional cross depicting the symbol of St. Matthew, Limoges, circa 1185-1195. (lot 19, estimate: €8.000-12.000)

Copper and gilt-bronze

  • A gilt-copper ajourée applique of Saint Mark’s Lion, probably Italian, 14th century (lot 10, estimate: €5.000-8.000)
  • A gilt-copper chrismatory, Flemish or German, 15th century. (lot 11, estimate: €10.000-15.000)

Manuscript Illumination

  • The Marquet de Vasselot collection presents a quintessential example of a gothic manuscript illumination (lot 13, estimate: €250.000-350.000). Composed of 28 pages from a magnificent antiphon of Franciscan use, executed in Flanders, circa 1310-20, bearing the arms of the Count of Flanders. Each leaf contains a beautiful historiated initial, with delightful and lively marginal drollerie.

Parts of this collection have already been sold to museums in France, in accordance with a recently passed French law. A pair of gilt-bronze figures depicting two apostles (Paris, second quarter of the 12th century), a carved ivory figure representing Christ at the column (Paris, circa 1300-1310) has been sold to the Louvre. A gilt-copper and polychrome enamel element from a processional cross depicting the eagle of Saint Jean has been acquired by Thermes et Hôtel de Cluny. Three other works of art have been classified ‘Trésors National’, a carved ivory Byzantine book cover, first half of the 6th century and the book of Hours of Jeanne de France in Latin and in French, Vallée de la Loire, mid-15th century.

The remaining collection will be put on sale at Christie’s auction house in Paris. Public viewing of the artifacts will take place from November 12-16, with the auction set for Wednesday, November 16th, at 7 pm. For more information, please contact Isabelle Degut, Head of sales, Early European and Sculpture department.idegut@christies.com ; tel: + 33 1 40 7 6 8 4 19

Source: Christies

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