Medieval manuscripts to be showcased in Seoul

Next month some spectacular medieval manuscripts will be on display at the second edition of Frieze Seoul. Les Enluminures will be showcasing the items at the Korean international art fair.

BOH 212 Hours of Guillaume II Molé_02_f. 22, Annunciation with scenes from the Life of the Virgin – image courtesy Les Enluminures

One of the highlights of Les Enluminures’ collection is the personal Book of Hours of Guillaume II Molé (d. 1507), a successful merchant who specialized in the trade of salt and arms. He commissioned this Book of Hours from the workshop of Guillaume Lambert that flourished in Lyons, France.

Calendar from BOH 212 Hours of Guillaume II Molé_01_ff.4v-5 – image courtesy Les Enluminures

Loaned by Alexander P. Rosenberg to the landmark exhibition The Last Flowering. French Painting in Manuscripts, 1420-1530, from American Collections, organized at the Pierpont Morgan Library in 1982-1983, this manuscript is the name work of the Rosenberg Master, and has been the subject of extensive study. The thirteen full-page miniatures and thirty-four historiated initials of the Hours of Guillaume II Molé offer a rare and dazzling example of Lyons illumination; they also summon, through the variety of their models, the legacy of some of the greatest artists of fifteenth-century France: the Rohan Master, Jean Fouquet, and Jean Colombe.

Christ in Majesty from IIM 76286_03_Roman de la Rose_f.181v – image courtesy Les Enluminures

Another important manuscript being shown is a copy of The Roman de la Rose,  a poem written in Old French around 1230 initially by Guillaume de Lorris. This manuscript was made in Tournai around 1390.


This grand copy of a seminal text of French literature, with rare interpolations by Gui de Mori, was illuminated by Jean Semont – the first illuminator documented by name in the artistic center that produced some of the most important early Flemish panel paintings by Robert Campin and Roger van der Weyden.

The Trinity, with God the Father supporting Christ on the Cross – IIM 76286_02_Roman de la Rose_f.153 – image courtesy Les Enluminures

This pivotal work fits neatly into the artist’s career, and compares closely with his securely documented manuscript, the Missal for Jean Olivier (Valenciennes, BM, MS 118). Exceptionally luxurious ivy-leaf and burnished gold initials and border decoration ornament nearly every page, complementing the three fine illuminations all attributed to the master illuminator.

Christ Blessing, Leaf with initial ‘I’ from an Antiphonal – image courtesy Les Enluminures

Also on display will be a single leaf from an Antiphonal created in Rimini, Italy between 1310 and 1314. This remarkable leaf is signed and painted by Neri da Rimini, one of the finest miniaturists of fourteenth-century Italy and an enthusiastic assimilator of Giotto’s expressive style. It is one of fifty-some known leaves that trace to a set of Choir Books executed by Neri and his workshop for the Dominican Monastery of Saint James the Apostle in Forlì. This leaf is exceptional, however, as the only signed miniature by Neri from this group.

The Frieze Seoul runs from September 6th to 9th. Please visit their website for more details.


Les Enluminures is a leading dealer in manuscripts and miniatures from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Click here to visit their website.