The exhibition of sixteenth-century French drawings from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, recently shown in Paris and currently at Boston, provided an opportunity to study an interesting sheet (Fig.35), leaf 19 of the so-called 'recueil de trente-sept feuillets' by Jean and Joseph Richier, a group of drawings in different media pasted into an album made up in the nineteenth century which came to the Ecole with the Masson gift in 1925.' Like other sheets in the album, no. 19 bears annotations, including the name of the draughtsman, the dates on which the drawings were made, and, in this case, the intriguing location 'a Paris'.
The reappearance of a work by a great artist known only from an inadequate reproduction becomes a matter for rejoicing, especially when it is revealed as having the quality and superb condition of Rubens's drawing of the Earl of Arundel (Fig.36), which came to light in Paris in the summer of 1993 and was acquired for the Ashmolean Museum in March 1994.' With its holdings of a substantial part of Arundel's classical antiquities and its outstanding collection of old-master drawings, the Ashmolean is a natural home for such a chef-d'oeuvre.
In the perpetual debate about Poussin's nationality as a painter - 'Poussin, est il francais?' as the question is often posed - it has never yet been claimed, even on April Fool's Day, that he was neither French nor Italian, but British. But there is of course a British view of Poussin, initially expressed through the tastes of eighteenth-century British collectors. A preference for his early lyrical poesie painted before the French trip of 1640, and for the later landscapes produced after that visit, has been characteristic of Poussin's English admirers. And it was the British view of Poussin that on the whole prevailed in the magnificent showing at the Royal Academy of the great Poussin exhibition seen last winter in Paris.'
All of the illuminated manuscripts thus far attributed to the well-known English illuminator William de Brailes, who is documented as working in Oxford between 1238 and 1252, are in Graham Pollard's words, 'picture books for the rich and pious not texts for poor scholars of the University'.' It was the inscription 'W DE BRAIL' ME FECIT', on a scroll next to the image of a tiny tonsured soul being saved at the Last Judgment in one of a set of Psalter leaves in the Fitzwilliam Muse- um, Cambridge, that provided the basis of the attributions made by Sidney Cockerell in his early monograph on the artist.2 A second self-portrait accompanied by the words 'w. de brail' qui me depeint', proving he was an illuminator and not just a scribe, appears in a Book of Hours in the British Library made for a laywoman, which has recently been studied by Claire Donovan.3 Documents first published by Graham Pollard revealed that William de Brailes owned a tenement on the West Side of Catte Street, on what is now the site of All Souls College, and that he had a wife Celena, suggesting that he was a clerk.in minor orders.4 He thus lived and worked in the very heart of the university, on a street crammed with other members of the book trade, with student 'halls' and 'schools'. This makes it all the more unusual that scholarly patronage has so far been missing from the pic- ture we have built up of this complex and intriguing artist. In his recent exhaustive account of the provision of books for the university M.B. Parkes admits to a dearth of evidence associating de Brailes with the institution." The university as a setting for illuminated manuscripts has indeed been little explored, in contrast to the amount of research that has been published on the decoration of liturgical manuscripts, personal prayer-books and even secular texts.' Nigel Ramsay went as far as to claim in the catalogue to the recent Age of Chivalry exhibition that, despite the fact that the very first recorded book-trade member in Oxford (c. 1190) was not a scribe but an illuminator, 'the university students and their masters did not need to have their texts illuminated'.7 Here I shall present some recently discovered evidence to the contrary, suggesting connexions between illuminators and uni- versity scholars as evidenced in a copy of Aristotle's logical works in the Vatican Library (Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Borghesiani 58), which is decorated with three hitherto unnoticed historiated initials by William de Brailes.
Preparatory drawings by Romanino for surviving paintings he executed during the last thirty years of his career are not numerous, but some of his late sheets provide'important evidence about various lost works.
The discovery of new documents concerning an artist as well studied as Perugino is something of an event, particularly when they concern one of his major surviving works. The purpose of this note is to publish the hitherto unknown contract and some associated documents for the high altar-piece at S. Maria at Vallombrosa (see the Appendix below). Before investigating their content more fully, a few words about patron and setting are in order.
In 1940 Campbell Dodgson published in this Magazine a woodcut by Hans Burgkmair in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Fig.32), made for the Emperor Maximilian I's Weisskunig.' It was then the only known proof with printed title and text for the 'layout' of this never completed book. The title, Das Concili Zu Gmunden mit den vil seltzamen Pottschafften, names the subject of the woodcut, but the text is entirely unrelated, being taken from the preface of the book Das LeidenJesu Christi vnnsers erlosers by Wolfgang von Maen, printed at Augsburg by Hans Schonsperger the younger in 1515.