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Posts Tagged ‘Death’

Amsterdam, Biblioteca Philosophica Hermetica MS 1, f. 118, detail:
His castle falls on the duke who killed King Lancelot.
(© Amsterdam, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, via the Lancelot-Graal Project.)

Who remembers all the excitement over the auction of the Rochefoucauld Grail in December 2010? It’s a beautiful set of three volumes of the Estoire del Saint Graal. Although it is privately owned, you can see digital images of some of the illuminations and illustrations on the Lancelot-Graal website. Perhaps what you don’t know about items going up for auction is that for some days in advance of the auction, it is possible to visit the auction house to view such items close at hand, often closer than would be possible in a museum. In the case of books such as the Rochefoucauld Grail volumes, you can be lucky enough to have a rare opportunity to sit at a table in the auction house, to – carefully! – leaf through the pages. I duly went to Sotheby’s on Bond Street one early December lunchtime, to have a look at that manuscript. I had heard nothing of any British public library or museum putting in a bid for the Rochefoucauld Grail, and was beginning to dread that this would be my only opportunity to have a good look at it. Unfortunately, I only had one hour for lunch, and when I arrived, others were already looking at the various volumes. (more…)

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