Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts of the Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp
From the 16th to the 19th century, illuminated manuscripts were collected by the great printer-publisher Christophe Plantin and his Moretus successors and descendants. Ranging in date from the 9th to the mid-16th centuries, the manuscripts in the Museum Plantin-Moretus come from all over Europe, chiefly the Southern Netherlands and France with a significant representation of 15th-century Dutch illumination. More surprisingly, about a quarter of the collection comes from England: manuscripts of the 10th to 15th centuries that left the country with Catholic refugees. Alongside the acknowledged masterpieces and rarities, like the Bohemian Bible of 1402, are volumes that have remained virtually unknown, their aesthetic appeal and historical or textual interest often passing unnoticed in the absence of published reproductions. In this beautifully produced catalogue, each of the 102 volumes is illustrated in colour, with more extensive coverage of the 55 volumes with the most rewarding illumination. For the first time it is possible to gauge the extent and nature of this fascinating and under-explored collection, still housed in the building on the Vrijdagmarkt in Antwerp to which Plantin moved his famous sign of the Golden Compasses in 1576.