The stylistic sources, dating and development of the Bohun workshop, ca 1340-1400
The important group of books illuminated for the Bohun family, ca 1340-1400, has not received the close study it warrants. Certain misconceptions have arisen about the dating, localisation and ownership of these manuscripts. By a detailed codicological and stylistic examination of each book, illuminators are charactensed, their artistic development traced and a chronology postulated. Thi analytical method reveals that each manuscript is not necessarily the product of a single campaign, but may have been worked on for successive members of the family. It is only after the various campaigns have thus been determined and a sequence of production formulated that conclusions can be drawn for dating and ownership from documentary evidence. Bohun patronage falls into three distinct phases. The first, in which the English sources of the Bohun style lie, is that of the 1340s, a decade more productive than formerly realised. The activity of these probably Cambridge-based illuminators, however, was curtailed by the Black Death. During the second, more homogeneous phase (Ca 1350- 55 to ca 1385) two illuminators, the 'English Artist' and 'Flemish Hand' (and later a third) worked at Pleshey Castle, Essex, where they produced manuscripts exclusively for the Bohun family. The interaction of the artists of the 'central' workshop is charted; two of these can be identified as Austin friars. The origins of the Flemish Hand are localised in Toumai and Ghent illumination of ca 1330-1350; the 'Lows de Male' manuscripts, which have a direct bearing on his work are here redated. The Italian influence often discerned in the work of the English Bohun illuminator is identified as principally that of NiccolO da Bologna and his school. With the demise or departure of their resident miniaturists the Bohuns ordered their manuscripts in London where illumination was becoming more commercial. The complex interrelationships between the Lytlington Missal workshop and others with which the Edinburgh Psalter-Hours Artist can be associated, covering the third phase of Bohun patronage (Ca 1385-1400), are examined.