Past Exhibition: The Medieval Housebook

The Medieval Housebook: A View of Fifteenth-Century Life
May 18, 1999 to July 25, 1999

The Medieval Housebook, a compendium of secular texts accompanied by full-page pen-and-ink illustrations, many of them enhanced with color, presented a remarkable view of life in a princely court at the end of the late Middle Ages. The book, which has been in the family of the counts of Waldburg Wolfegg since the end of the seventeenth century, was temporarily disbound for the creation of a facsimile edition, providing a unique opportunity to display the individual sheets. A wide range of subjects is represented in the illustrations, from personifications of the planets to a Garden of Love and on to fishing expeditions, mining operations, and a siege encampment. The manuscript pages were supplemented by twenty-four drypoint etchings by the Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet, the artist believed to be responsible for several of the illustrated pages in the Housebook, as well as prints by contemporary masters, related manuscripts, and examples of stained glass.

The exhibition was organized for The Frick Collection by Timothy B. Husband, Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, who also wrote the accompanying illustrated booklet. A previously published catalogue by Christoph Graf zu Waldburg Wolfegg was also available.

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