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Private Collection Robbery - Illuminated Leaves and Autograph Letters

27 November 2021

  • Law Enforcement Agency: N/A
  • Case Number: N/A
Incident Description

Reporting date 15 November 2010: A list of illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters were reported stolen from a collector living in Portugal in 2010. The report was made on behalf of the collector by London bookselling firm Maggs Bros. No images are available. All items from that list can be found listed below.

If any of the listed items have been found or if any further information is available, please contact ILAB or the reporting organisation / business.
REPORTING ORGANISATION / BUSINESS: Maggs. Bros Ltd
Contact: Jonathan Reilly
Email: enquiries@maggs.com
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7493 7160

Missing Items

Paris Artist - Illuminated Leaves

Illuminated leaf on vellum from a richly illuminated Book of Hours, lavishly decorated on both sides of the leaf. Two-line historiated initial showing the head and shoulders of a tonsured priest, text surrounded on all sides by a wide border (on both recto and verso) of coloured flowers and strawberries with a large bird in each upper border, and in each outer border a roundel of a scene from the life of St. Alexis. Size of leaf: 196 x 141mm. 20 lines of text in a liturgical gothic hand. Every leaf of this richly decorated manuscript appears to have contained roundels showing scenes from the life of S. Katherine or Alexis (a 15th century mendicant in Syria), obviously of significance to the original owner. In this leaf the roundel on the recto shows St. Alexis addressing his father and that on the verso shows a priest standing in front of a building (captioned “lenire”).

Edition Other
Imprint Paris
Publication Date c. 1460
Status missing
Publisher
Notes In excellent condition. One of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

Paris Illuminator - Illuminated Leaves

Illuminated initial “M” on a leaf from a Latin Bible. 5-line illuminated initial “M”, painted in blue and infilled with coloured curling stems, on a burnished gold ground, 3-line marginal extension in similar colours. Four calligraphic penwork borders in blue and red, four 2-line initials in red or blue, rubricated . Size of leaf: 190 x 140mm. 50 lines in a minute gothic script, in double columns. Text: End of the Book of Proverbs, and opening of Ecclesiastes -”Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity”.

Edition Other
Imprint Paris
Publication Date c.1250
Status missing
Publisher
Notes From an attractively written Bible, in excellent condition. One of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

Paris Artist - Illuminated Leaves

Historiated initial of Mary with the Apostles, with one other illuminated initial on a leaf from a Latin Bible. 6-line miniature of Mary and the Apostles enclosed with a 21-line historiated initial “P” with a thick stem painted in pink, blue and gold and terminating in a grotesque orange face on a curling blue stem; at the top a 4-line illuminated initial in gold and colours with marginal extension . Size of leaf: 150 x 100mm. 44 lines in a minute gothic script in double columns. A fine illuminated leaf with a historiated initial probably from the workshop of the Dominican Painter who is called by Branner “a rare and original painter”. The historiated initial introduces the Book of Acts.

Edition Other
Imprint Paris
Publication Date c. 1250
Status missing
Publisher
Notes one of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

French Illuminator - Illuminated Leaves

Illuminated leaf from a Book of Hours. On each side of the leaf a wide ornamental border composed of gold oak leaves and pink and blue flowers on hair-line stems which radiate from a bar border of pink and burnished gold. 10 one-line initials in burnished gold on pink and blue grounds, 7 line-fillers . Size of leaf: 202 x 146mm. 15 lines of gothic text in brown ink. A very attractive leaf with the text completely surrounded by the border decoration on the recto, and with a thre-sided border on the verso.

Edition Other
Imprint N. W. France
Publication Date c. 1430 - 1450
Status missing
Publisher
Notes In excellent condition. One of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

Dutch Illuminator - Illuminated Leaves

Illuminated leaf on vellum from a Book of Hours, in Dutch. 5-line initial in burnished gold on a ground of mauve and blue with white tracery, border on three sides composed of red and blue flowers on a gold bar, also numerous gold and coloured flowers filling the margins, in the remaining margin a series of gold circles decorated with brown penstrokes. Size of leaf: 137 x 97mm. 17 lines of text in a rounded gothic script. A very attractive illuminated leaf from what must have been a sumptuous Book of Hours. The fine floral and foliage decoration is very similar to that found in Books of Hours produced in Utrecht in the second and third quarters of the 15th century.

Edition Other
Imprint Netherlands (Utrecht?)
Publication Date c. 1450
Status missing
Publisher
Notes The illuminator has been liberal in the use of gold which is in quite outstanding condition.

German Illuminator - Illuminated Leaves

Illuminated print of Christ brought by the soldiers before Pilate. Christ is brought by a group of soldiers before Pilate, seated on a throne; set in a large room with arches, columns and a tiled floor. The miniature pasted on to a sheet of vellum, within a decorative frame. Size of miniature: 99 x 75mm. Verso blank. A charming, colourful miniature, full of detail. Other leaves from this series appeared in our European Bulletin, no. 6 (item 29).

Edition Other
Imprint Germany
Publication Date c. 1600
Status missing
Publisher
Notes One of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

French Illuminator - Illuminated Leaves

Illuminated leaf on vellum from a Book of Hours. 11 one-line initials in pink and blue on burnished gold grounds with floral decoration, line-fillers in similar colours. Full illuminated border on both sides of the leaf composed of coloured acanthus and a variety of coloured flower heads and leaves, and numerous small gold leaves on hair-line stems. Size of leaf: 210 x 153mm. 18 lines of gothic text. A very finely illuminated leaf in excellent condition with gold decoration liberally applied; from a mid-15th century Parisian Book of Hours of the highest quality. The leaf is from a Book of Hours, for the use of Rouen, probably for a wealthy patron who wanted the lavish illumination which he could get from a Parisian atelier.

Edition Other
Imprint Paris
Publication Date c. 1420
Status missing
Publisher
Notes One of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

French Artist - Illuminated Leaves

Small illuminated miniature of St. Christopher, on a full leaf from a Book of Hours. France Small miniature which shows St. Christopher wading across a river with the Christ Child on his shoulders, while a hooded figure looks on from a cliff-top. Three sided border composed of blue and gold acanthus, with coloured flowers and leaves on a liquid gold ground. Size of leaf: 180 x 123mm. Verso ruled for 18 lines of gothic text.

Identifying Characteristics

At the foot of another leaf from this manuscript, the arms of the family of Aurelle de Villeneuve appear with those of Allaneau, of Anjou.

Edition Other
Imprint Paris
Publication Date c.1500
Status missing
Publisher

Breviary - Illuminated Leaves

Illuminated leaf from a Breviary. 7-line initial “D” painted in pink within a green and gold frame, and enclosing a figure in an orange tunic and headgear, pointing to his eyes; the initial extended with partial borders of blue, pink and green foliage, highlighted in gold. Numerous one-line initials in red and blue alternately. Size of leaf: 284 x 196mm. 38 lines written in a gothic hand, double colmns, The leaf displays delicate illuminaton in rich colours, which show the undoubted influence of mauscripts illuminated at the court of Wenceslas, King of Bohemia (1378-1402, and 1404-1419), with the same typical use of silver for heightening the border decoration. Other similar features are exuberant acanthus decoration, a similar range of colours and marginal extensions in which angles of the foliage are marked with drops of burnished gold. This court soon developed its own style and became a prominent school of illumination; here manuscripts were produced which became notable for “jewel like and very striking colours, vivid imagery, rich sense of variegtaed pattern, and luxurious foliated borders” (W. D. Wixom, Leaves from a Prague antiphonary in Bulletin of Cleveland Museum of Art, LXIV, 1977, pp. 311-325. Both this leaf and the following item display many of these aspects. Bohemian illumination is rarely found; a superb antiphonal was dispersed in 1927-1928, but only two manuscripts associated with Wenceslas' court are preserved outside Prague and Vienna.

Identifying Characteristics

A little thumbed in lower outer corner otherwise good condition.

Edition Other
Imprint Bohemia
Publication Date c. 1420 - 1450
Status missing
Publisher
Notes A little thumbed in lower outer corner otherwise good condition. One of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

Cylinder Seal

Black serpentine cylinder Scenes of the battles of the gods, with an inscription “Na-bi-um” (personal name). Worn. European Bulletin 24, 3c

Edition Other
Publication Date c. 2300 B.C.
Status missing
Publisher

Cylinder Seal

Limestone cylinder Human figures and grotesque creatures. European Bulletin 24, 3h

Edition Other
Publication Date 6th-5th century B.C.
Status missing
Publisher

The Annunciation - Illuminated Leaves

Arched illuminated miniature of the Annunciation (100 x 63mm.), with full illuminated border. The angel Gabriel and Mary kneel on a grassy ground within a church with gothic canopies and latticed windows, in the upper background God looks down from a starry sky; the miniature enclosed within three-sided border of decorative coloured flowers and leaves on wide burnished gold ground, large initial infilled with blue and orange flowers on curly stems on a burnished gold ground, outer borders of coloured acanthus and other flowers, and small gold leaves on hair-line stems. Size of leaf: 180 x 133mm. On verso, panel border of gold leaves and coloured flowers, small illuminated initials and 16 lines of gothic text. A fine miniature from one of the main centres of illumination in the 15th century. This and the following 5 miniatures are all painted in the style of the Fastolf Master; this artist appears to have trained with the Bedford Master in the early part of the 15th century and then seems to have worked in Rouen. He takes his name from a manuscript of Christian de Pisan produced in Rouen for Sir John Fastolf (d. 1453), and may have moved to England in the mid-15th century. The starry sky at the top of the miniature is a characteristic feature of the style of the Fastolf Master, who is also known for his use of windmills and layered landscapes falling away into little cliffs.

Edition Other
Imprint France (Rouen)
Publication Date c.1450
Status missing
Publisher
Notes The face of the Angel very rubbed, otherwise in excellent condition. One of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

Book of Hours - Illuminated Leaves

Illuminated leaf from a Book of Hours with full decorative border. Large initial painted in blue with white tracery, and infilled with blue and orange flowers on curly stems on a burmished gold ground, bar border in gold, mauve and blue and three sided border of coloured acanthus and other flowers, and small gold leaves on hair-line stems. Size of leaf: 180 x 133mm. On verso, 16 lines of gothic text.

Edition Other
Imprint France (Rouen)
Publication Date c. 1450
Status missing
Publisher
Notes One of many illuminated manuscript leaves and autograph letters recently stolen from a collector living in Portugal.

Autographed Letter - Duke of Wellington

Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley

Autograph Letter Signed (“Wellington”) to Monsieur le Duc D'Abrantes [General Junot], expressing sympathy over the fact that he has been wounded and informing him that his wife has just had a son. 1¼ pages 4 to in French with integral address leaf, Headquarters [Cartaxo], 27 January 1811.

Edition Other
Publication Date 1811
Status missing
Publisher
Notes Trans: “I have learned with much sorrow that you have been wounded; and I beg you to let me know if I can send you something which can help with the healing of your wound, or accelerate your recovery. I do not know if you have had any news of Madame la Duchesse. She has been delivered of a son at Ciudad Rodrigo at the end of November; and she has left Ciudad Rodrigo and has gone to Salamanca in order to go to France in the first days of this month. I have the honour, Monsieur, to be your obedient Servant. . .”

Autographed Letter - Napoleon I

Napoleon I

Letter Signed (“Napol”) to the Minister of War, the Duc de Feltre, allocating funds to the Army of Portugal and the Army of Spain, including a reserve for Marshal Marmont for “secret expenses”. 1 page 4to in French, St. Cloud, 9 July 1811.

Edition Other
Publication Date 1811
Status missing
Publisher
Notes Trans: “Place one hundred thousand francs at the disposition of the commander of the artillery of the Army of Portugal and one hundred thousand francs at the disposition of the Commander of the Engineers of the same army. . . . It is necessary that the money which the Duc de Raguse [Marmont] would have taken either through raiding the funds or otherwise should be regularised and deducted from these sums . . . In addition, you will put one hundred thousand francs at the disposal of the Duc de Raguse for secret expenses . . .”

Autographed Letter - Duke of Wellington

Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley

Autograph Letter Signed (“Wellington”) to Sir Charles Stuart, discussing the sending of prisoners to the Cape Verde Islands, and informing him that four or five thousand men had entered Salamanca, “which I see are those which Massena left. . .” 4 pages 4to, Pero Negro, 6 November 1810.

Edition Other
Publication Date
Status missing
Publisher
Notes “. . . I don't know of any objection to sending some of the Prisoners to the Cape de Verde Islands . . . All I want is to get rid of the Prisoners from Lisbon; & if they can't be kept in safety out of England, they must go there notwithstanding the orders of the Admiralty. These orders after all we[re] not positive. . . . At all events the Horses which we should now get at the Cape de Verde Islands would not be fit for the service till next Campaign; & if we get rid of the Enemy now in our front we shall have plenty of time to send for them. I long to see Mascarenhas' papers. I don't fear 40,000 Men; if the town is prepared to hold out in provisions, & the Govt will exert themselves to get in every thing they can. I hear from Don Julian Sanchey of the 27th from Saganella that about 4 or 5000 Men had entered Salamanca, including two Regts. of Dragoons which we see are those which Massena left with Seras or Kellerman; & that they expected 9 or 10,000 home from Navare & others from the Garrison in Castille. . . I understand from his letter that the whole Number they expect at Salamanca is 9 or 10,000; & not that number in addition to those now arrived. However I have no apprehension for the consquences if the Govt. will take care to bring all the provisions into the town & out of the Enemy's way that they can lay their hands upon. . . I think you had better send Marcarenhas up here that we may examine him; & all the evidence there may be respecting his having saved the Enemy; & having had their papers upon him.”

Autographed Letter - Duc de Rivoli and Prince d'Essling, André Massena

Duc de Rivoli and Prince d'Essling, André Massena

MASSENA, André, Duc de Rivoli and Prince d'Essling (1758-1817). French Marshal. Letter Signed (“Massena”) to “Mon cher Pelet” [Massena's aide-de-camp General Pelet-Clozeau] informing him that he plans to establish his headquarters at Torres Novas. Half page large 8vo in French, n.p., 13 November n.y. [1810].

Edition Other
Publication Date 1810
Status missing
Publisher
Notes Trans: “I will stay here for the 15th, my dear Pelet, and will establish my headquarters at Torres novas on the 16th. If there is anything new in the meantime, you will send one of my aides de camp who is with you; otherwise they will follow the march of General Fririon along with you.”

Autographed Letter - Duc de Dalmatie, Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult

Duc de Dalmatie, Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult

Letter Signed (“Mal. duc de dalmatie”) to the Prince of Wagram and Neuchatel [Berthier] telling him that he has sent Adjutant Commandant Avy with the despatch announcing the taking of Badajoz and 23 flags which he asks him to “place at the feet of H.M. the Emperor”. 1½ pages folio in French with integral blank leaf, Badajoz, 12 March 1811.

Edition Other
Publication Date 1811
Status missing
Publisher
Notes Trans: “I have received the order . . . that I send Adjutant Commandant Avy to the Army of Portugal, as well as Battalion Commanders Bedos and Maréchal, during the Siege of Badajoz, where the first two were serving; communications not yet being established, I kept them. Messrs. Bedos and Maréchal will report . . . as soon as possible; but I felt obliged to entrust to Adjutant Commandant Avy the honourable mission of taking to Your Highness my despatch which contains the news of the . . . taking of Badajoz, and 23 Flags . . . to place at the feet of H.M. the Emperor. Adjutant Commander Avy served in the most distinguished manner. . . I have the honour to request Your Highness to have the goodness to authorise Adjutant Commandant Avy to return to me in order to be employed in the Army of the Midi; I make the same request regarding Battatlion Commander Bedos, who I will leave with Marshal the Duc de Trevise [Mortier], where he will remain until communications with the Army of Portugal have been opened.” An annotation at the top notes Soult's requests regarding the deployment of Avy and Bedos.