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172 Reviews Marrow, James H, ed., with a contribution by Francois Avril, 77ie hours of Simon de Varie (Getty M u s e u m monographs on illuminated manuscripts), London, Thames and Hudson, 1994; cloth/cased; pp. xi, 255; 69 colour plates, 48 monochrome figures; R.R.P. A U S $ 195.00. This sumptuous volume, which only an institution as richly endowed as the Getty, and with the co-operation of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Hague and Thames and Hudson, could possibly hope to produce in these times, has evolved from two articles by Marrow and Avril which appeared in the Revue de I'Art in 1985. Marrow's earlier contribution has been expanded but Avril's, with minor exceptions, adds little to his earlier essay. Marrow is primarily concerned with the fragmented manuscript proper and its placement in the milieu of illuminations, whilst Avril concentrates in the main on the historical aspects of itsfirstowner. John Walsh, Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, and W i m van Drimmelen, Chief executive of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, offer a combined foreword. Thomas Kren, Curator of manuscripts at the Getty, writes the preface and acknowledgments. Ann S. Korteweg deals with the two volumes at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and Richard Varey contributes genealogical information on the house of Varie. The ancillary apparatus includes detailed information on the reconstruction of the codex and provenances. The Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Hague holds two major sections of the original manuscript: shelf-marks 74 G 37 and 74 G 37a. In 1983 Marrow ascertained the existence of another section, which was then acquired by the Getty. Four of the miniatures in the Getty fragment he attributed to Jean Fouquet and others to the chief associate of the Bedford Master and the Master of Jean Rolin II. These three artists' paintings can also be found in the sections at the Hague. The artists were pre-eminent French manuscript illuminators of thefifteenthcentury. Both Marrow and Avril are of the opinion that all sections of the manuscript were made for Simon de Varie, the son of a rich berruyer merchant-draper, and brother of Guillaume de Varie, the partner of Jacques Coeur, the treasurer of Charles VII of France. Quite by chance, Avril discovered that armorial bearings on the vellum which had been overpainted or disfigured by those of Bourbon-Conde in both the Getty and the Hague segments, were those of the Varie family, ennobled in the mid-fifteenth century. The disfigurement, he believes, was probably executed in the Reviews 173 seventeenth century by an 'unscrupulous bookseller or an over zealous librarian in search of illustrious provenances' (p. 112). A serious shortcoming is evident in Marrow's commentary on 'Hand B', i.e. the Master of Jean Rolin II. Marrow situates him in the 'Maitre Francois group' (pp. 15 and 22), placing too much store on the findings of Otto Pacht. This nomenclature no longer holds good since that particular artist postdated the Master of Jean Rolin II. The confusion was highlighted as long ago as 1963 by Eleanor Spencer in a Scriptorium article. In a series of monographs and articles published since 1987 the present reviewer has clarified the position of the Rolin Master in relation to alleged contemporaries. Marrow postulates that the Brussels Horloge M s . IV 111, in which hands A and B of the Varie codex also appear, was probably commissioned by Guillaume Gouffier (p. 91), a confident of Agnes Sorel, the mistress of Charles VII. This is also no longer tenable; rather, it was a gift by a royal patron to Gouffier on the occasion of his marriage. Marrow's bibliographical details are also sometimes not up to date. Failure to mention K. V. Sinclair in relation to French prayers (p. 229) is a case in point. One may also question the relevance of the 'Genealogy of the house of Varie' by Richard Varey, stated by John Walsh (p. viii) to be a 'descendant'. It is not clear if this genealogy is related to the ownership of the manuscript following the death of Simon de Varie, or merely provided to establish a contemporary social connexion. The colour plates, with the exception of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 172-173
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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