12 July 2015
One that didn't get away
I often miss exhibitions that are on display for months but not events at specific times. I missed the display of Anne Frank memorabilia that was in Canberra early this year. That was careless, given we visited but missed out on the AF museum in Amsterdam because it was (and apparently always is) ridiculously busy. We did manage to catch the display of the Rothschild Prayer Book at the National Library. It's a book of hours once owned by that famously wealthy family, an illuminated manuscript of great beauty, now owned by Kerry Stokes, wealthy Australian collector and once Chairman of the Board of the NLA (his son Ryan is now on the Board). The Prayer book was apparently lost for 350 years, looted by the Nazis, returned to the family and won quietly at auction by KS. It's gloriously beautiful. We saw only facing folios, of course, at least with our one visit. This was St Helena. The full description is: St Helena and Suffrage to St Helena fols 233v-234r in Rothschild Prayer Book (Book of Hours, Use of Rome) Southern Netherlands, Ghent and Bruges, c.15-5-1501, tempera and gold on parchment (Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth). [Forgive me, I was trained as a librarian]. Otherwise, it's gloriously pretty and brightly coloured, St Helena has the most gorgeous, lifelike face and there are surrounding flowers and a horse carrying two little black boys (mmm...) and a blowfly and more. And the text, of course. Otherwise, the exhibition featured a few manuscripts and incunabula, including some early music and a sheet of the Gutenberg Bible. The other two pics are sheets from the Gutenberg Bible c.1455 and from a manuscript choirbook possibly belonging to King Henry VI of England c.1429. Just a little exhibition, in the Treasures Gallery. The NLA exhibition ends 9 August.