The Rothschild Prayerbook, a magnificent masterpiece of Renaissance art with an illustrious provenance will be highlight of Christie’s Renaissance sale during Old Masters Week in January 2014. Estimated to fetch $12 – $18 million, this excuisite prayer book is “one of the highest achievements of Flemish Renaissance painting with 150 pages and miniatures and borders of superlative quality by Gerard Horenbout”. Horenbout was a Flemish miniaturist who served in the court of King Henry VIII.
The finely illustrated Book of Hours was made circa 1505 for a member of the Habsburg imperial court in the Netherlands, and joined the Rothschild family collection in the 19th century. In 1999, when the Collection of the Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild was entrusted to Christie’s in London, the Rothschild Prayerbook sold for $13,378,558, close to three times its high estimate of $4.9 million. The price is still a record for an illuminated manuscript at auction.
Described as “perhaps the finest illuminated manuscript in private hands”, this specimen is similar to another example in the British Library, as well as the Spinola Hours in the J Paul Getty Museum in California, and the Grimani Breviary in Venice.