Leaves from the Hours of Charles de Martigny

Charles de Martigny


The prominent French prelate Charles de Martigny, Bishop of Elne (1475-1494) and Abbot of Saint-Étienne of Caen (1494-1512), served as Louis XI’s ambassador to Edward IV of England and remained a prominent member of Charles VIII's and Louis XII’s courts. These three leaves at the Fitzwilliam Museum, a bifolio in Lisbon (Gulbenkian Museum, MS 2 A-B), and two miniatures in a private collection (sold at Christie’s, London, 10 July 1979, lot 144) are the only known surviving fragments from Charles de Martigny’s Hours. His portrait, displaying Jean Bourdichon’s remarkable ability to capture his subject’s likeness, is incorporated in the Fitzwilliam’s miniature of the Mass of St Gregory. Charles kneels near the altar, behind Pope Gregory the Great (c. 540-604). A virtually identical portrait, accompanied by the heraldic arms of Charles de Martigny, appears on the bifolio preserved in Lisbon.