It is reported that a Renaissance manuscript kept in Britain for about three centuries might make its way back to France. With its hand painted manuscript and attractive cover, King Francois I’s “Book of Hours” is much famous for the unique insight that it offers to the Renaissance world. Britain might lose this rare volume as the Louvre Museum in Paris has started a ten million Euros fundraising campaign to buy the “Book of Hours”.
If the campaign came out successful, the “Book of Hours” will return to France for the first time since 1720. An antiques dealer in London named SJ Phillips sells the manuscript, whose gold cover is decorated with rubies, jewels, tourmaline, and turquoises. He is selling the book as the export ban placed by ministers has now expired. The ban was placed on the sale of the book last year.
The then Culture Minister of UK, Ed Vaizey, had placed the export ban to offer time for any potential buyer in the country to raise the money to buy the book. He said at the time, “This exceptional book provides us with a rare glimpse into the royal courts of 16th century Renaissance France and is of outstanding scholarly value. I hope that this unique book remains in the UK for the public to enjoy.”
However, the failure of any British buyer, a gallery, or a museum to come forward leaves the “Book of Hours” free to be sold to any outside buyer. As foreign purchasers are now allowed, the Louvre has started a crowdfunding campaign to find the money for the purchase. The book is now on the temporarily display at the museum and if you are a history lover, do not forget to check out the “Book of Hours” in your Louvre Museum private tours.
Jean-Luc Martinez, who is the President of the Louvre Museum, said that the “Book of Hours” is “a monument to jewelry as much as it is a book.” It is reported that the Louvre Museum is almost halfway to raising the fund to buy the Renaissance manuscript, as the luxury goods tycoon LVMH that runs the Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy brands, has donated 5 million Euros for the purchase.
Let us hope that the Louvre Museum will be able to raise the fund to King Francois I’s “Book of Hours”, so that everyone on Louvre Museum private tours will be able to enjoy the Renaissance manuscript forever.