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Lot 10: THE AENEID MANUSCRIPT

IMPORTANT BRITISH ART

by Christie's

November 27, 2002

London, United Kingdom

Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919) Please Register/Login to access your Invaluable Alerts

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Description: Technical Description William Morris (1834-1896) with the assistance of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, A.R.A., R.W.S. (1833-1898) and Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919); later work by Graily Hewitt (1864-1953) and Louise Powell (1882-1956) An Illuminated Manuscript of Virgil's Aeneid Generally regarded as Morris's calligraphic masterpiece, the Aeneid marks the climax of his attempt to revive the art of the illuminated manuscript in the early 1870s. The writing was begun by Morris and completed by Graily Hewitt. The illustration and decoration were begun by Morris and continued (but not completed) by Fairfax Murray and Mrs Powell. The miniatures and historiated initials were designed by Burne-Jones. 335-320 x 240mm. vi + 185 + vi vellum leaves including two endleaves stained purple, the text block mostly in gatherings of four, paginated 1-370, 28 lines written in black ink in roman minuscule between two verticals and 29 or 28 horizontals ruled in pencil, ruled area approx. 230 x 135mm, running headings throughout in capitals of blue on versos and burnished gold on rectos, some text capitals of gold, blue or occasionally silver up to p.72, guide letters for all others in pencil TWENTY-EIGHT ILLUMINATED FOLIATE INITIALS three- to eight-lines-high in bodycolour and burnished gold between p.43 and p.72, four unfinished, a further four drawn in pen-and-ink, FOUR LARGE HISTORIATED INITIALS in watercolour and one in grey wash, occasional pencil sketches, tracings and instructions for others up to p.166, HALF-PAGE MARGINAL MINIATURE, the opening folios of the twelve Books with HALF-PAGE MINIATURES C.140 X 135MM OR 135 X 140MM ABOVE ELEVEN LINES OF BURNISHED GOLD CAPITALS SURROUNDED BY FULL-PAGE FOLIATE BORDERS, the miniatures in watercolour, bodycolour and liquid gold, one border of gold leaf, three painted in bodycolour and eight drawn in pen-and-ink, one miniature not supplied (flaking to gold of foliate initial p.57 and unfinished initials on pp.57, 61 & 63). Contemporary renaissance-inspired panelled brown morocco by Leighton, ruled and stamped in blind with outer borders of rosettes and grouped annular dots within triple fillets, inner border with diaper interlace, the central panel with semicircles containing knotwork above and below a roundel with winged-dragon tools radiating from a central rosette, gilt turn-ins and board-edges, spine in six compartments top and bottom ruled and stamped in blind with rosettes in diaper (very slight rubbing at bands top and bottom of spine-joint, three tiny losses of surface at bottom corner of outer edge of upper cover), matching brown morocco box (box slightly scuffed at corners). The miniatures are as follows: p.1 Venus meets Aeneas on the shores of Libya and clothes him in mist to prevent his being hindered on the way to Carthage (Book I); with a full-page border of burnished gold grape-vines against a ground of unburnished gold leaf (Fig. 10) p.2 Juno in her chariot drawn by peacocks, before the city of Carthage (marginal miniature 152 x 60mm) (Fig. 17) p.29 Aeneas holds his son's hand and carries his father Anchises on his shoulders as they flee the ruins of Troy, Venus leading the way; behind them Aeneas's wife, Creusa, is engulfed by flames in the gateway of the city; to the right, Venus leads Aeneas by the hand (Book II); with a full-page acanthus and floral border in pen-and-ink p.86 Dido, maddened with grief at the departure of Aeneas, falls on his sword on the bed they shared, his breastplate still beside her; ribbons of flame from her pyre in the background (Book IV); with a full-page acanthus border in pen-and-ink (Fig. 11) p.113 The goddess Iris in disguise incites the women of Troy to burn the ships (Book V); with a full-page acanthus border in pen-and-ink (Fig. 13) p.146 Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl, armed with the golden bough, journey down to the Underworld and the banks of the river Styx (Book VI); with a full-page acanthus border in pen-and-ink p.181 Lavinia, daughter of King Latinus, stands in the courtyard of his palace, her hair ablaze as a portent of her own fame and the terrible war that will befall her people (Book VII); with a full-page painted border with two types of green foliage and berries against a dark red ground (Fig. 31) p.211 Venus presents Aeneas with a gift of arms fashioned by Vulcan (Book VIII); with a full-page border of white acanthus around blue foliage and white flowers against a dark red ground, each side with a central quatrefoil of pointill‚ -patterned burnished gold (Fig. 16) p.238 Turnus is visited by the goddess Iris, who instructs him to make a surprise attack on the Trojan camp (Book IX); with a full-page border of green vine leaves on plaited tendrils surrounded by curling tendrils with red berries and while flowers on a dark blue ground (Fig. 26) p.268 Aeneas, protected by his shield, strikes Mezentius in the thriat as he is thrown from his fallen horse (Book X); with a full-page acanthus border in pen-and-ink (Fig. 25) p.302 Aeneas displays the armour of Mezentius as a trophy of war (Book XI); with a full-page acanthus border in pen and ink p.336 Aeneas, having wounded Turnus, plunges his spear into his breast (Book XII); with a full page acanthus border in pen and ink The historiated initials are: p.26 Q, with Cupid in the form of Ascanius embracing Dido ( Quum venit aulaeis... Bk I, l.697) 100 x 110mm (fig. 15) p.44 H, with Cassandra chained and dragged from the temple of Minerva during the fall if Troy ( Heu mihi invitis... Bk II, l.402) 90 x 60mm (Fig. 18) p.48 E, with Polites, having been pursued by Pyrrhus, dying in the arms of his father Priam ( Ecce autem elapsus Pyrrhi... Bk II, l.526) 88 x 60mm (Fig. 20) p.50 J, with Helen hiding at the doors of the temple of Vesta ( Jamque adeo super unus... Bk II, l.567) 93 x 52mm (Fig. 27) p.154 T, with Venus watching over her two doves, which reveal the tree with the golden bough ( Talis erat spacies... BK VI, l.208) 150 x 65mm (fig. 29) Provenance, Exhibition History and Literature 5. PROVENANCE, EXHIBITION HISTORY AND LITERATURE PROVENANCE Sold by William Morris to Charles Fairfax Murray, c. 1890. By descent to Fairfax Murray's son Arthur; anonymous sale, Sotheby's, 18 July 1928, lot 2, /P 1,750 to Gregory. Mrs George W. Millard, from whom purchased by Mrs Estelle Doheny, 24 June 1932. The Estelle Doheny Collection, The Edward Laurence Doheny Memorial Library, St John's Seminary, Camarillo, California; sold The Estelle Doheny Collection, Part VI: Printed Books and Manuscripts concerning William Morris and his Circle, Christie's, New York, 19 May 1989, lot 2370. Lord Lloyd-Webber Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919)(fig. 9) not only owned the manuscript but played a crucial part in its decoration. Born in Bow, the son of a draper, he began his career as a shopboy with the famous firm of contractors Peto and Betts. In 1866, eager to become an artist, he approached John Ruskin for advice, and by the end of the year (aged seventeen) he was acting as Burne-Jones's first studio assistant. Before long he was also working for D.G. Rossetti and William Morris, with whom he struck up a close friendship. In the early 1870s he was Morris's principal painter of stained glass and much involved with the decoration of his illuminated manuscripts. In 1871 Murray paid his first visit to Italy and in 1873 he settled there, copying paintings for Ruskin and acquiring an exhaustive knowledge of the old masters. The rest of his life was spent between London and Italy, in both of which he established families. Although he continued to paint and, like Burne-Jones, exhibited regularly at the Grosvenor and New Galleries, his energies were increasingly devoted to collecting and dealing. By the 1880s he had established a formidable reputation as a connoisseur, and in 1893 Morris and Burne-Jones recommended him (unsuccessfully) for the directorship of the National Gallery. By the turn of the century he was in partnership with Agnew's, and his services as a marchand amateur were being sought internationally by such major collectors as Wilhelm von Bode, J.P. Morgan and H.C. Frick. Yet he remained intensely public-spirited, giving generously to the National Gallery, the Dulwich Art Gallery and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, as well as selling large numbers of Pre-Raphaelite drawings to the Birmingham Art Gallery for less than their market value. A short, thickset man, fiercely independent in character, Murray died at Chiswick after a series of strokes in January 1919. Carrie Estelle Betzold Doheny (1875-1958) married the prominent Californian oilman Edward Laurence Doheny in 1900; she was an operator working for the Sunset Telephone and Telegraph Company, and they met as a result of her placing his calls to wealthy investors. When Doheny died in 1935, he left her a large fortune, which she used to support Roman Catholic charities (Pope Pius XII made her a Countess in 1939, the first title of its kind to be granted in Southern California) and to create a magnificent library. With the help of the legendary bookseller A.S.W. Rosenbach, she bought extensively in such varied fields as illuminated manuscripts, incunabla, post-incunable Bibles and works of theology, material relating to William Morris, American literature and Presidential autographs. The Edward Laurence Doheny Memorial Library, which she established at St John's Seminary, Camarillo, California, was sold by Christie's in New York in six sales between October 1987 and May 1989, realising a total of $38 million, still a record for any library sold at auction. A further sale of the smaller library which she donated to the Mission Church of St Mary's of the Barrens, Perryville, Missouri, was sold by Christie's in New York on 14 December 2001. Lord Lloyd-Webber (born 1948) needs no introduction as a composer of popular musicals and an enthusiast for Pre-Raphaelite painting. LITERATURE Burne-Jones's autograph work record (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge), under 1873 and 1875. Malcolm Bell, Sir Edward Burne-Jones: A Record and Review, 4th ed., London, 1898, p. 51. J.W. Mackail, The Life of William Morris, London, 1899, vol. 1, pp. 276-80, 319-20. G(eorgiana) B(urne)-J(ones), Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, London, 1904, vol. 2, p. 56. Fortun‚e De Lisle, Burne-Jones, London, 1904, pp.116, 189. May Morris (ed.), The Collected Works of William Morris, vol. 11, London, 1911, pp. XXI-XXVII. Anna Cox Brinton, A Pre-Raphaelite Aeneid of Virgil in the Collection of Mrs Edward Laurence Doheny of Los Angeles; being an Essay in Honor of the William Morris Centenary, Los Angeles, 1934. Philip Henderson, William Morris: His Life, Work and Friends, London, 1967, pp. 160-1. Janet Blackhouse, 'Pioneers of Modern Calligraphy and Illumination', British Museum Quarterly, vol. 33, 1968-9, pp. 72,75. Penelope Fitzgerald, Edward Burne-Jones: A Biography, London, 1975, pp. 154, 261. Norman Kelvin (ed.), The Collected Letters of William Morris, Princeton, vol. 1, 1984, pp. 254. The Earthly Paradise, exh. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and other Canadian venues, 1993-4, cat. pp. 74-5, under no. A: 26. Fiona MacCarthy, William Morris: A Life for Our Time, London, 1994, pp. 267, 354. Christopher Wood, Burne-Jones, London, 1998, pp. 70, 94, illus. p. 55. The Wormsley Library: A Personal Selection, exh. The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 1999, cat. p. 194. David Elliott, Charles Fairfax Murray: The Unknown Pre-Raphaelite, Lewes, 2000, p. 58. Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age, exh. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 2001, cat. p. 171. EXHIBITION New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, William Morris and the Art of the Book, 1976, no. 63. London, Victoria and Albert Museum, William Morris, 1996, no. N.14. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Birmingham, Museums and Art Gallery; and Paris, Mus‚e d'Orsay, Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer, 1998-9, no. 66 (exhibited in New York only). NOTES Text and Script The supreme quality of Virgil's poetry was recognised in his lifetime and images inspired by his work soon became an established element of the Roman artistic tradition: the two earliest surviving illuminated manuscripts, both in the Vatican (Cod. Vat. Lat. 3867 and 3225), date from the first quarter of the 5th century and are extensively illustrated. His popularity lasted, in part because of the Christian interpretation given to some aspects of his work, and his poems were copied and read throughout the Middle Ages. Only rarely, however, were these copies illustrated and it was not until the Italian Renaissance that there was once again a significant production of illuminated manuscripts. In addition to the recognised poetic excellence and classical pedigree of the texts, the Aeneid, the tale of the travels of Aeneas and the Trojans until their arrival in Italy, had by then been accepted as the national epic. What could have had greater appeal to a humanist or his patrons? Characteristically a 15th-century Italian manuscript of Virgil was written in a humanistic script and decorated with 'white-vine initials', both script and decoration conscious revivals of what were thought to be classical styles. It was exactly these styles of writing and initial that were Morris's starting point when he resumed making illuminated manuscripts around 1870. It was a change of direction from his earlier efforts: the three surviving manuscripts that he wrote and painted in 1856-7 were based on gothic script and decoration and can be seen as part of the widespread enthusiasm for medieval manuscripts in the middle of the 19th century. In contrast the scripts that Morris developed for his calligraphic manuscripts from 1870 were all based on formal humanistic bookhands, whether upright or italic, and the roman minuscule of the Aeneid represents the culmination of his research and practice. At times writers have been encouraged to identify a model for this hand in manuscripts he could have seen in the British Museum, but straight copying of a script would have been counter to Morris's approach. He sought to analyse and follow the best scribal technique rather than slavishly imitate the appearance of someone else's work. As part of his return to first principles he acquired renaissance writing manuals. One of these, in addition to showing a range of humanistic styles, included instructions on the preparation of quills: his daughter May later wrote of his pens 'from a goose quill to a crow quill' and specified that he used a swan's feather for the Aeneid. Yet, whatever debt the script of the Aeneid owed to historic precedent his hand remained entirely idiosyncratic, vigorous and lively. As the scribe-calligrapher William Graily Hewitt recalled about his continuation of Morris's work: 'One day watching me at work, Charles Fairfax Murray and I burst out laughing; we had both had the same thought 'Yes your writing is better than Morris's, and your caps are better, and your gold is better - but you don't get there'. Morris's individuality of approach and divergence from any renaissance precedent is particularly evident in the page lay-out. With capitals of gold and blue sprinkling the text, and large illuminated initials in the left margin, the completed manuscript would have had much more the appearance of a medieval prose work than a humanistic copy of classical poetry. It was to allow this profusion of gold and colour that he not only abandoned the capitals that customarily began each line of verse but also adopted the paragraph divisions of his printed exemplar by marking them with large illuminated initials. He had entirely turned his back on the restraint of renaissance examples. This fresh and inventive response was typical of Morris's idealised revival of medieval arts. Idea and Execution Regarded as his calligraphic masterpiece, the Aeneid was the latest and most ambitious of the twenty-one illuminated manuscripts undertaken by Morris in the five years from 1870. It was to be a sumptuous work: the opening page of each of the twelve books was to have a full border around a half-page miniature and panel of text in golden capitals, all other pages would have capital letters of blue and burnished gold and paragraph divisions marked by large foliate or historiated initials. Describing the scope of their project Burne-Jones light-heartedly wrote 'it is to be a wonderful thing and put an end to printing' The original intention was for Morris to carry out both writing and illumination, but all the illustrative elements, miniatures and historiated initials, were to be designed by Burne-Jones. The two friends spent Sunday mornings from 1873 to 1875 engaged on the enterprise: Burne-Jones described how while he drew Morris would read aloud to him. For a variety of reasons - not least Morris's enthusiastic interest and experimentation with textile dyeing, which not only occupied his time but left his hands stained blue - the work was never finished. Although his first biographer - Burne-Jones's son-in-law J.W. Mackail -- recalled Morris turning over the sheets some 15 years later and talking of finishing it, the pair seem not to have worked on the book beyond 1875. Morris had written up to page 177, 33 lines from the end of Book VI; he had gilded text capitals on pages between 43 and 72 and had drawn or painted some of the large illuminated initials on these pages. Burne-Jones had drawn at least the twenty-nine designs for miniatures and initials that are now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The intimacy of the collaboration is shown by Burne-Jones's annotations in the margins of the manuscript to show where his designs should be placed, and by the addition to some of Burne-Jones's initial designs of Morris's characteristic ink drawings for foliage staves. To some extent the friends must have progressed in tandem, for all of Burne-Jones's seventeen drawings for marginal miniatures and initials belong to the six Books written by Morris. Six of these designs correspond to the executed historiated initials and marginal miniature, and all but one of the others can be matched with the artist's instructional notes in the margins of the manuscript (pp.6, 38, 52, 70, 78, 80, 92, 94, 104, 110). Five further notes in Burne-Jones's hand suggest that there may have been other completed designs that didn't find their way to the Fitzwilliam (pp.4, 38, 40, 66, 76). Morris had started to transfer Burne-Jones's designs into the manuscript in 1875. He immediately realised that he would need assistance to bring the illumination to completion. On 27 May he wrote to Charles Fairfax Murray in Rome 'I have begun one of the Master's pictures for the Virgil: I make but a sorry hand at it till (at the worst) I am wholly discomforted. Meantime whether I succeed or not in the end 'twill be a long job: so I am asking you if you would do some of them, & what it would be worth your while to do them for: I think I should have to see you before you would get to work on them; but if you don't come over here this summer, as I suppose you won't by your letter, I shall like enough be coming to Italy next year & we can talk about it then'. He was apparently referring to the miniature on p.1. Fairfax Murray would already have been familiar with the project - not only was he buying the vellum for it in Italy, but in September 1874 Burne-Jones had agreed to a visit from him when 'I shall be engaged with Mr Morris designing for his Virgil'. According to later accounts Fairfax Murray almost entirely repainted the first miniature at Morris's request, and all the other painting that would transfer Burne-Jones's designs into the manuscript was left to him. The miniatures and initials in the book remain at various stages of achievement and give a clear account of the processes involved. The outer margins of four versos have traced sketches transferring the contours of Burne-Jones's designs for historiated initials (pp.52, 70, 78 and 94), they are positioned over Burne-Jones' faint identifying notes: for example, p.52 'Troy burning' and p.70 'Andromache'. Fairfax Murray then worked up these sketches with a grey wash (p.48) that was a prelude to his gradual, successive application of colour. Initially the compositions were laid in with broad impressionistic brushstrokes, with subsequent layers these became ever more refined and detailed until the finished illustration was a svelte and accomplished translation of Burne-Jones's pencil originals into plushly coloured and textured paintings. Mackail believed that Fairfax Murray had done most of his work on the Aeneid after his return to live in England in 1886. The manuscript remained unfinished when Morris sold it to him around 1890, but the historiated initials and the miniatures opening Books I, II, IV and V could have been completed during Morris's ownership of the volume. It was not until June 1904, six years after Morris's death, that Fairfax Murray commissioned an overjoyed Graily Hewitt to write the remainder of the text (pp.15 and 16 are also Hewitt's work). This pioneer of modern calligraphy was a proteg‚ of Sir Sydney Cockerell, who appears to have introduced him to Fairfax Murray. Graily Hewitt was already familiar with examples of Morris's calligraphy in Cockerell's collection; he was an admirer of Morris and, like him, drew inspiration from Italian renaissance manuscripts. In 1905 he was asked to name a price for providing the golden capital letters of text and headings for the Aeneid ; he wrote to Cockerell 'I quoted as low as I possibly could because I value the honour of the job so'. The recovery of medieval methods of gilding on vellum was Graily Hewitt's greatest practical achievement and he undertook this work in the Morris Virgil in 1909. Fairfax Murray recruited the decorative artist Louise Lessore, later Mrs Alfred Powell to draw and paint the full-page borders around the miniatures that open each Book. In 1907 these same collaborators completed the decoration of another unfinished Morris manuscript that Fairfax Murray owned, The Story of Frithiof the Bold (Wormsley Library). The team may have been working on both manuscripts at the same time. The miniatures for Books VI-XII of the Aeneid were certainly painted by Fairfax Murray after he was joined by Hewitt and Mrs Powell: whereas the early miniatures are rectangular, the scene of Aeneas and the Cumaean Sybil (Book VI) and those on the pages written by Graily Hewitt extend right up to the leaf-edges of Mrs Powell's borders. The scale ofu0his vast and ambitious undertaking once again militated against its completion. Graily Hewitt completed the text including the lines of golden capitals on the opening page of each Book: Morris had got no further than laying the bole ground for those on the first page. Morris had provided the gilt heading of p.47 and Graily Hewitt completed the running headings throughout the rest of the volume and the text capitals of gold and blue in Book I and blue capitals in Book II. Mrs Powell drew foliate borders for the openings of every Book but only four were completed: the magnificent golden vine derived from the Kelmscott Chaucer (p.1) that was gilded by Graily Hewitt, and the lavish, richly coloured painted surrounds of pp.181, 211 and 238, Mrs Powell's most accomplished achievement. All of the introductory miniatures, except for Aeneas and the Harpies for Book III, were started by Fairfax Murray but those of the final Books were left at a preliminary level of painting. Variations from Burne-Jones's designs suggest that between tracing for transfer and applying colour the original drawings may have ceased to be available to him. In the illustration for Book XI, for example, the contour for the line of huddled figures ranged behind Aeneas in Burne-Jones's composition was accurately traced to the manuscript (p.302), but when Fairfax Murray applied pigment to it the figures became an amorphous row of bushes. Similarly Mezentius's shield and coat of mail is left uncoloured, the grey wash over the traced outline having obscured Burne-Jones's original intent. Burne-Jones's Contribution Although the 1860s were a fallow period in Morris's calligraphic career, they did see one major collaboration with Burne-Jones in the field of book-production; in fact so substantial was it that it remained unrivalled until work began on the Kelmscott Chaucer in 1891. Morris originally intended to publish the Earthly Paradise, the great cycle of stories in verse that was to make his name as a poet, in a folio edition lavishly illustrated with woodcuts. Burne-Jones produced literally hundreds of sketches and finished drawings, mainly for 'The Story of Cupid and Psyche' (seventy subjects, 1865), 'The Hill of Venus' (twenty subjects, 1866) and 'Pygmalion and the Image' (twelve subjects, 1867). In the end, the project proved too ambitious and the book appeared without illustrations in 1868-70, although the designs provided Burne-Jones with compositional ideas for pictures until the very end of his life. The Earthly Paradise anticipates the Aeneid manuscript in two notable respects. First, it gave Burne-Jones immense experience in choosing which subjects to illustrate in a given text - those which are not only dramatic and represent salient incidents, but which lend themselves to pictorial expression and enable the artist to provide a sort of parallel narrative. He would have known Rossetti's famous claim that in illustrating a text an artist should 'allegorise on his own hook', that is to say he should not feel constrained to stick slavishly to what the author has written but should use his imagination to create a design that has independent life and meaning. Rossetti had sometimes taken this theory to extremes, notably in his designs for the famous Moxon Tennyson (1857). Burne-Jones was less of an egotist, but he did have a remarkable ablility to choose subjects which 'told' well as images and had an autonomous existence. Nowhere is this ability more vividly demonstrated that in his illustrations to the Aeneid. The other comparison to be drawn with The Earthly Paradise relates to technique. Although Burne-Jones made so many drawings for the poem's illustrations, he never actually cut one on wood, leaving this to Morris and others. When he attempted to etch a couple of designs, in other words to make the very plate from which the image would be printed, the results were disappointing and the experiment was abandoned. Time after time he distanced himself from an art form this way. He drew hundreds of stained-glass cartoons but never actually made a window. He designed many tapestries and needlework panels, but would never have dreamt of touching a loom or needle. He claimed that he had 'often' thought of taking up sculpture, deeming it superior to painting. But although he designed reliefs which were carried out by Sir J.E. Boehm and others, there is no concrete evidence that he made any himself. It is true that his involvement with Morris's manuscripts did not always follow this pattern. To A Book of Verse (fig. 8) he contributed a miniature illustrating the poem 'The Two Sides of the River', while no fewer than six miniatures adorn the second of Morris's three manuscripts of the Rubaiyat . Morris gave this manuscript to Burne-Jones, decorated only with some foliated ornament. Burne-Jones added the miniatures before passing it on to Frances Graham, the daughter of the India merchant and Liberal MP William Graham who was his staunchest and most sympathetic patron. None of this was accidental. 'The Two Sides of the River' is a love poem, and A Book of Verse was given to Georgiana Burne-Jones. One of the illustrations to the Rubaiyat was a minature version of a love subject, Love among the Ruins (private collection), that was currently on Burne-Jones's easel, and he gave the book to a young woman he idolised and delighted to shower with presents of his own making. There is an obvious parallel with the miniature version of Le Chant d'Amour that appears in the portrait of Maria Zambaco (fig. 6) - a picture exactly contemporary with A Book of Verse and only two years earlier than the Rubaiyat . It is almost as if the two manuscripts are physical incarnations of the book seen in the picture. But this is a side issue. The main point here is the connection between the subjects of the miniatures and the recipients of the manuscripts on the one hand, and the fact that Burne-Jones painted the miniatures in the manuscripts himself on the other. He was clearly motivated not so much by a desire to embellish a Morris manuscript per se as by a sense of wishing to pay homage to a loved one, whether she was his wife or an adored Egeria. When this strong personal element was lacking, Burne-Jones was happy to revert to the practice he had adopted with The Earthly Paradise, and prepare drawings for translation by another hand into the images seen on the page. For the Odes of Horace he designed the heads which appear in the elaborate border on the opening page of the first of the four Books, while for the contemporary Aeneid he was responisble for all the miniatures and historiated initials. Despite the very different medium, exactly the same proceedure was adhered to when he came to design illustrations for the Kelmscott Press in the 1890s. According to Sydney Cockerell, Burne-Jones's drawings for the Aeneid were 'perhaps the finest things he ever did'. This may be a little too sweeping, but they are certainly exquisite examples of his draughtsmanship, showing it at its most sophisticated and refined. Few preparatory sketches seem to have been made. One is recorded in a Canadian private collections (illustrated in the Earthly Paradise exhibition catalogue listed under 'Literature' above), but most of the finished drawings must have been done 'out of his head' ('the place', he once observed, 'where I think pictures ought to come from') during the Sunday morning s‚ances with Morris. In the 1860s, when the chief influences on his work had been Pheideian and Venetian, Burne-Jones had cultivated a soft, atmospheric drawing style, with soft pencil or red or white chalk as his preferred media. This approach changed dramatically in the early 1870s, following his last two visits to Italy in 1871 and 1873. Botticelli, Mantegna and Michelangelo were now his chosen masters, and he developed a more 'Florentine' manner, working with hard pencil and indulging to the full his love of linear rythm. It is this idiom that we see so brilliantly displayed in the Virgil compositions. Anyone seeking to show how Burne-Jones foreshadowed Art Noveau need look no further than the figure of Lavinia on fire in her father's palace, or the serpentine flames that rise from Dido's pyre. It is fascinating to note the differences between the drawings and Fairfax Murray's translations of them on the vellum page. Murray, of course, had long been involved with Morris's illuminated manuscripts, having contributed extensively to the Book of Verse (fig. 8) as well as to the British Library Rubaiyat (fig. 9), the Odes of Horace, and others. Nor was he a stranger to copying Burne-Jones's designs. He had done so in the case of the heads in the Horace, but this was only a minor example. As the artist's studio assistant in the late 1860s he had often been employed to make replicas of his master's works or to develop his pictorial ideas. When working as Morris's chief stained glass painter in the early 1870s he had again had to translate Burne-Jones's compositions. The Vyner memorial window in the Lady Chapel at Christ Church, Oxford (1872-3), is one for which we know he was responsible. It has already been noted that occasionally Murray seems to have misunderstood Burne-Jones's intentions, and that possibly there came a point when the drawings were no longer available to him. Burne-Jones retained them until they were included in the exhibition of his drawings held at the Fine Art Society, New Bond Street, in April 1896. There they were bought by the Wolverhampton brewer Laurence Hodson, a keen collector in this field, and from 1906 they belonged to the Birmingham solicitor J.R. Holliday, an equally fanatical enthusiast, who gave them to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1927. However, since Hodson and Holliday belonged to a circle of conoisseurs which also included Murray and the ubiquitous Sydney Cockerell, the Aeneid drawings did not necessarily go beyond Murray's reach. Whatever caused Murray's occasional misreadings of Burne-Jones, they pale into insignificance beside the triumphant success of other translations. Not for nothing did Ruskin, thinking of the records of old master paintings that Murray made for him in Italy, call him a 'heaven-born copyist'. An outstanding example of this skill is the miniature showing the goddess Iris inciting the Trojan women to burn their enemies' ships. This very Botticellian conception is one of Burne-Jones's finest designs for the Virgil (as well, incidentally, as the one for which we have a preliminary sketch), but equally impressive is the way Murray realises it in watercolour. The effect is very different but no less authentic in terms of the alternative medium. The most obvious difference, of course, is that Murray is using colour while Burne-Jones is working in black and white. In his lifetime, Burne-Jones had a great reputation as a colourist, yet he often chose to eschew colour in favour of monochrome. The most striking example is his stained glass cartoons, which are nearly always drawn in pencil or charcoal, the colour of the glass being decided by Morris. In the case of the Aeneid miniatures the choice of colour was presumably Murray's, although it is possible that Morris offered suggestions. In any case, Murray's experience of painting stained-glass windows from Burne-Jones's designs under Morris's supervision must have given him some insight into how to proceed with the Aeneid. There is a parallel to be drawn between Burne-Jones 'Florentine' mode of drawing and Morris's use of a humanistic bookhand for his manuscripts of the early 1870s. Correspondences of this kind were not uncommon in the work of the two close friends. In the 1850s they were both thoroughgoing medievalists, while in the 1860s they developed a style characterised by a spring-like freshness of mood and imagery. This note, so typical of the early Aesthetic Movement, is struck in Burne-Jones's paintings, in the decorative schemes of the firm, and in Morris's Earthly Paradise. The same spirit pervades most of Morris's manuscripts of the early 1870s, both in terms of their elegant italic script and their decoration. Delicate sprays of foliage and powderings of flowers predominate, while even Murray's figure subjects in the Book of Verse and the British Library Rubaiyat have an enchanting spontaneity. In the Aeneid, on the other hand, the approach changes, whether in response to the much graver and more sonorous subject matter or Morris's conciousness of producing a masterpiece. The book's physical scale increases dramatically, and, as already noted (see 'Text and Script'), not only does the script gain in weight, changing to a roman minuscule in which the letters acquire a new breadth and substance, but the page is laid out in such a way that it resembles a medieval prose work rather than a humanistic copy of classical poetry. Burne-Jones's designs reinforce this effect, having none of the lightness of touch so characteristic of the miniatures and free-standing figures found in the other, slightly earlier manuscripts. Whereas in these the almost evanescent figure-work blends imperceptibly with the foliate decoration and even the text, the Virgil miniatures insist aggressively on their individual identity. Burne-Jones enhances their sense of autonomy by cramming his figures into the designs, pushing them to the very edges and often making them stoop to fit into the picture space at all. This majestic, doomed world of gods and heroes is also curiously claustrophobic. Perhaps it was simply that the friends were moving on, reaching out already to ideals that would only find full expression in the work of the Kelmscott Press twenty years later. The massive borders that Morris planned but never executed were yet another sign of this development. Somehow it was fitting that Graily Hewitt and Louise Powell should go to the Kelmscott Chaucer for inspiration when they renewed work on these sections (which in Mrs Powell's case anticipate the later work as a decorator of pottery for which she best known). Certainly both Morris and Burne-Jones made statements at the Kelmscott Press period which seem to relate retrospectively to the Aeneid. In the light of the manuscript's resemblance, its humanistic script notwithstanding, to a piece of medieval prose, it is interesting to read Lady Burne-Jones's account of a discussion between the two friends about whether 'an illustrated book of the Hill of Venus' should be in prose or verse. The book was to incorporate illustrations made long ago by Burne-Jones for the Earthly Paradise, and have ornamental borders specially designed by Morris. The dispute about prose or verse was decided by Morris saying that 'prose looks blacker on the page and fills up better - so it's to be prose'. But perhaps the most significant connection between the Aeneid and its Kelmscott successors was hinted at by Joseph Dunlap when he wrote of the manuscript that it 'conveys the impression of well-constructed masonry'. This is surely true of the way the component parts fit snugly together, and it was precisely in such architectural terms that the friends expressed their aims during the Kelmscott years. Morris, for instance, delivering a paper on 'The Ideal Book' to the Bibliographical Society on 19 June 1893, observed that ornament 'must form as much a part of the page as the type itself..., and in order to succeed...must submit to certain limitations and become architectural'. Only when this principle was firmly adhered to would a book 'become a work of art second to none, save a fine building duly decorated.' Burne-Jones made the same point more whimsically when he gave a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer to his daughter. He did not mind confessing that it was beautiful, he said, because 'my share in it is (only) that of the carver of the images at Amiens', whereas Morris's was that of 'the Architect and Magister Lapicida'. SALESROOM NOTICE Please note that the lot number should read 10 in the catalogue, not 1 as stated.

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