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ILLUMINATED manuscripts conjure up all manner of romantic images for many. They are also highly sought-after, as most are unique. A large selection of exceptional medieval masterpieces is coming up for sale this summer, including the personal prayer books of King Franois I of France, King Henry IV of France and Elizabeth de Bohun, great-grandmother of King Henry V of England.


THE auction house holding this sale describes it as the "most valuable collection of illuminated manuscripts ever offered at auction". The Arcana Collection: Exceptional Illuminated Manuscripts and Incunabula Part I is an amazing private collection which has been assembled over the past three decades. A Christie's expert said: "This is a truly exceptional collection which presents illuminated manuscripts and incunabula in all their glory. They are masterpieces of medieval and renaissance art, many commissioned by important patrons."

How Much? THE first part of this extensive selection of exceptional medieval and renaissance masterpieces will be auctioned at Christie's in London on July 7. The Arcana Collection will offer 48 lots with an overall estimate of pounds 11million to pounds 16million. Highlights of the collection include a Book of Hours (above) finely illuminated for King Franois I of France by Franois de Rohan which is expected to sell for pounds 300,000 to pounds 500,000.

Real Deal SOME of the most highly-priced items in the inventories of renaissance kings and princes were illuminated manuscripts. The artists who painted them were often the leading artists of their day. These handwritten books were among the greatest demonstrations of the wealth and refined taste of their owners. The Arcana Collection will be on public exhibition for the first time, alongside Christie's July auction of Old Masters and 19th Century Art, from July 3 to 7.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 11, 2010
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