March 2013 Archives

Martin Braun was one of the several eponymous watchmakers who got absorbed into large conglomerates in the eearly 2000s, and then regretted it, Daniel Roth is one of the others. Like Roth, who went off to sell watches under the Jean Daniel Nicholas name, Martin Braun has come back to the industry as Antoine Martin after his brand was absorbed by Franck Muller. At Baselworld this year the new brand has released an interesting new movement, and a watch for it, the Slow Runner. In a massive block of a case, 46mm in diameter and probably nearly 20mm thick is a ultra-slow-beat movement, running at 7200bph, or 1Hz, which means the second hand jumps in 1/2 second increments. To keep accurate time at that slow a rate they have a 24mm balance, and some carefully engineered shock protectors to keep it intact. This is actually not a new concept, a watchmaker of the 18th C. named Jean-Moïse Pouzait, was famous for watches of a similar design, running half as fast, to provide a dead-beat second hand.

AM 36.001 CaliberCaliber in Slow Runner watch, caseback
Gold watch, dialSteel watch, Dial and caseback

Caliber: Antoine Martin 36.001
Jewels: 23
Frequency: 7,200 vph (1 Hertz)
Balance: 24mm diameter, silicon escapement, free-sprung
Power Reserve: 92 hours.
Adjusted: 5 positions.
Dimensions: 36mm x 8.6mm.
Case: 46mm, Stainless Steel or 18kt Gold.
Crystal: AR Sapphire
MSRP: 19,500(steel) to 34,500(Gold) Swiss Francs.



Rabbits for Easter

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With one obvious exception, Easter isn't thought of as a holiday for jewelry.  That hasn't prevented some companies from releasing some Paschal pieces.  First up is Lydia Courteille(see previous) and her Lapin Rose. These are set with pink Tourmaline and sapphires.



Apropos of Nothing

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I had this photo saved in a tab and figured this was the easiest way not to loose it.  It was taken by Todd Robertson in the 1992 in Gainesville Georgia.  The man in uniform is a Georgia State Policeman.  It's bounced around social media quite a bit.




Laurence Graff, eponomous founder of Graff Diamonds(previously mentioned) is not a man known for understatement.  At the recent TEFAF (The European Fine Arts Fair, I know you're not supposed to include articles in acronyms, but...), in Maastricht Graff unveiled this peacock-form broach, said to be the most expensive broach made in recent memory.


It consists of 1,305 diamonds, totalling 120.81 ct.   Moving out from the central 20ct blue stone (about 1/2 the size of the Hope diamond) is a fan of white and colored diamonds, including pink, yellow, orange and the rarely-seen green.  Since even prices need to make a statement, the asking price is $100,000,000 (but I'm sure there's room to haggle)



From a manuscript in the collection of the University of Pennsylvania comes this lovely illustration of 16th century munitions, in this case rocket-powered cats!

Original description follows:

Title: Feuer Buech [manuscript].
Origin: [Germany], 1584.
Physical description: 235 leaves : paper, col. ill. ; 307 × 200 (220 × 122) mm. bound to 313 × 209 mm.
Language(s): German.
Summary: Treatise on munitions and explosive devices, with many illustrations of the various devices and their uses.
Subject: Chemistry - History. Explosives - Early works to 1800. Fireworks - Early works to 1800. Military art and science - Early works to 1800. Ordnance - Manufacture - History.
Form / Genre: Codices. Drawings. Manuscripts, German - 16th century. Manuscripts, Renaissance.
Notes: Ms. codex. Title from f. 1r. Alternate title, Feuerwerkbuch, used in Zacour-Hirsch Catalogue.
Collation: [i], [I, II]-[XIX, XX]³ ⁵, XXI², [XXII-XXIII]-[XXVIII-XXIX]⁵ ³, XXX⁴(-1), [i]; i.e., alternating quires of 3 and 5, except for quire XXI² and quire XXX⁴(-1). First and last leaf are endleaves.
Foliation: Paper, i + 235 + i; [1-235]; modern foliation in pencil, upper right recto. Catchwords used only when a rubric follows, and can be on any page, recto or verso, in lower right corner.
Layout: Written in 20-22 lines, frame ruled in red ink.
Script: Written in a cursive script.
Decoration: Thirty-four illustrations in color, two of which (ff. 159v and 160v) are pasted in, possibly cut from another manuscript (the paper is of a different quality, the color palette is different, and ascenders from another hand are visible at the bottom of the illustration on f. 159v). Extensive rubrication.
Watermark: Similar to Briquet 257 (Graz, 1582).
Binding: Limp vellum with three concentric botanical borders and stamp in center of upper cover with the arms of Freiherr von Clam. Sewn on five split bands with decorative endbands.
Origin: Written in Germany in 1584 (f. 1r). Incipit of title page (f. 1r): Feuer Buech, durch Eurem gelertten Kriegs verstenndigen mit grossem Vleis auss villen Probiertten Kunsten ... The illustrations in this manuscript are similar to those in Berlin, Staatsb. ms. germ. qu. 1188. In his study of the text, W. Hassenstein gives no date for the Berlin manuscript, although it appears to be 15th century (cf. Hassenstein, Das Feuerwerkbuch von 1420 (Munich, 1941), p. 121). Compare Hassenstein, Bild 33 with f. 174r of the present manuscript, and Hassenstein, Bild 34 with f. 185v.
Forms part of: Edgar F. Smith Memorial Collection.
Indexed / Referenced in: Described in Zacour, Norman P. and Hirsch, Rudolf. Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Libraries of the University of Pennsylvania to 1800 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965), p. 231 (Ms. E. F. Smith 2). Hassenstein, W. Das Feuerwerkbuch von 1420 (Munich, 1941).
Other Titles: Feuer Buech, durch Eurem gelertten Kriegs verstenndigen mit grossem Vleis auss villen Probiertten Kunsten. Feuerwerkbuch.
Cite as: UPenn Ms. Codex 109
Manuscript location: Rare Book & Manuscript Library University of Pennsylvania Ms. Codex 109



Town of Benevento

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I've run out of pictures of manuscripts from Benevento (see previous posts 1 and 2), so now to complete the set, a few pictures of the town.  As a town, it hasn't really mattered in centuries, not politically since the 11th century most likely. Since then there was a slight blip on the radar when Pope Benedict XIII was elevated, as he had been archbishop of the city, but nothing else to speak of. Back in the day it was the capitol of an independent Lombard Duchy, and before that a rather important Roman trading post, as it is located on a junction in the Appian way.

Closeup of the Arch of Trajan, one of the best preserved Roman triumphal archesFacade of the Santa Sophia church in Benevento. The stucco work is Baroque but the church is from the 8th Century. It is thought that the manuscript Benevento 40 was written in/for this church
Benevento-Arch of Trajan-Frieze0005.jpgBenevento-Santa Sophia-Santa Sophia facade0022.jpg
Interior of Santa Sophia. Most of the interior frescos have been removed. This is a view of the dome looking towards the altar/apseInterior of Benevento Cathedral looking towards the high altar. Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, it was destroyed by allied bombs in 1943 and rebuilt in a severe modern style in the 1950s
Benevento-Santa Sophia-Dome and Vault0018.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-Nave Benevento Cathedral0032.jpg
Original Doors of the Cathedral. These are assembled of bronze plaques. The top 6 courses show scenes from the Bible, primarily the life of Jesus. The bottom three have depictions of all the Archbishops of the city from the time it became a episcopal see until the building of the Cathedral in the 13th Century. These were severely damaged during the 1943 bombing, but have been restored and put on display inside the narthex of the cathedral.Part of the replica cathedral doors and the original marble frame. These are the exterior doors, copied from the remaining panels of the original. The intricate marble carving around the frame is also original
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Original Bronze Doors0031.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-New Doors0037.jpg
Interior chapel of St. Jerome in the church of the Annunciation Benevento. This chapel honors Pope Benedict XIII, formerly Pietro Orsini, archbishop of Benevento in the 18th Century. The rococo multi-color stonework is common in southern Italy.Interior of St. Jerome, looking from the altar towards the entrance. Because this was built originally as part of a convent, the second floor has long passage ways with grills, allowing the nuns to look out on the service without beeing seen. The church is being rennovated due to damage suffered in a recent earthquake
Benevento-Church of the Annunciation-Chapel of St. Jerome0072.jpgBenevento-Church of the Annunciation-Nave and Balcony0083.jpg



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Currently one of the worlds oldest timepiece, a sundial sketched onto a flake of limesone was found during this year's excavations in the Vally of the Kings, in an area where workmen lived in the 13th C BCE.  On the ostracon a semicircle has been drawn in black ink, subdivided into 12 segments of about 15 degrees, and there's a small dent at the center for a pointer to be inserted.  There's even a dot in the middle of each section to mark the half-hours.




More Beneventan Chant

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The rest of the Beneventan Manuscripts (see earlier collection for some details).  

A segment of music and a capitol R from Benevento 39Closeup of a few lines from Benevento 40
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben39 Music and Capitol0049.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben40 Neumes and Text0042.jpg
Pa pair of trumpeters starting a piece of music from Benevento 21Centaur playing a recorder from Benevento 21
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben21 Trumpeters0058.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben21 Musical Centaur0059.jpg
An illuminated letter 'H' from Benevento 21 with a scene of the nativity and the bathing of Jesus
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben21 Nativity Letter0061.jpg

That's the last of the pictures of manuscripts. Later on there will be some of the city and cathedral of Benevento

One of the most interesting pieces in the upcoming Antiquorum auction is Lot 416, a rare Edouard Perregaux Two-Minute Tourbillon Double-Dialled watch. Made circa 1875, it's cased in 18K yellow gold, and features quarter-repeating, double-dial, hunting-case, with visible two-minute tourbillon, triple-date calendar, moon phases and moon's age indication. estimate: 80,000 CHF - 120,000 CHF.  In the picture below you can see the under-dial train for both dials.


(source one and source two)


As part of the same trip that took me to the Monastary of Montecassino (see some manuscripts, more manuscripts or the sights ), I spend about 2 days in the small town of Benevento, about 30 min farther south.


Benevento was the seat of the local archbishop, and for a while in the 9th-11th century, the capitol of a small, independent Lombard kingdom. They had a unique style of liturgical chant which was supplanted by Gregorian chant by the 12th Century. The manuscripts we were there to see are the last witnesses of the older, native tradition called Old Beneventan Chant.

The first set of pictures are of the most important manuscripts for that genre, they'll be identified by their shelf numbers. First is a brief explanation of the manuscript forms. For more information, see Thomas Kelly's The Beneventan Chant, or the intro to Paleographie Musical 22

Shelf NumberDateTypeNotes
Ben1912th CMissal and Breviarynon-monastic, covers the feast of St. Nicholas to Wednesday of Lent, companion to Ben20
Ben2012th CMissal and Breviarynon-monastic, covers from Easter Tuesday through Sts. Cosmos and Damian, companion to Ben19
Ben2112th-13th CAntiphonernearly complete monastic antiphoner, begins Tuesday before Advent
Ben2912th CMissalThis was taken from Benevento under "unusual" circumstances at the end of WWII and held by the British Library as Edgerton 3511 until 2009
Ben3013th CMissalOnly partially notated, nearly complete manuscript though Beneventan chant is limited to a few pieces
Ben3310th CMissalPossibly written in Salerno, one of the oldest witnesses for Gregorian chant in southern Italy, in Beneventan script and notation
Ben3412th C, 1st halfGradualnearly complete, includes tropes, sequences and Kyrie. Includes C and F clef lines and drypoint between. The latest of the 5 Graduals
Ben35early 12th CGradualincomplete, includes tropes, sequences and Kyrie. Includes C and F clef lines and drypoint between.
Ben35-flyleaf11th CGraduala single page of a purely Beneventan Gradual, no Gregorian pieces appear, that was bound into Ben35. Includes the end of Xmas mass and beginning of St. Stephen
Ben39late 11th CGradualprobably from one of the convents of St. Peter in Benevento due to the quantity of liturgy on St. Peter
Ben401st half 11th CGradualincludes sequences and tropes. Possibly originally from Santa Sofia in Benevento, this includes 13 doublet masses

(Information derived from Kelly, T. The Beneventan Chant. 299-303)


A List of saints names, starting with Peter, Paul and Andrew (Petri, Pauli, Andree) from Benevento 20Benvento 30
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben20 Saints0052.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben30 Text0053.jpg
A block of text from Benevento 30. The illuminated letter starts a sequenceColumn of text from Benevento 30, gregorian chant is to the right
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben30 text0054.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben300055.jpg
A page of music and a large decorative element from Benevento 20A large decoration from the top of folio 160r of Benevento 29, formerly in the British Library
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben20 Music and Decoration0051.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben29 Decoration0062.jpg
Some lines of gregorian chant from Benevento 35. The red F line and yellow C line are visibleGeometrically decorated O, beginning Omnia, from Benevento 35
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben35 Gregorian0045.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben35 Illuminated O0046.jpg
Ben 35 f. 202v, 2nd lineLarge illuminated R from Benevento 34.
Benevento-Benevento Cathedral-Large Decorative R0047.jpgBenevento-Benevento Cathedral-Ben34 Decorated R0050.jpg

There are some more manuscript pictures and some of the town of Benevento that I'll post in the coming days

This was made as part of a presentation for a class on the Crusades. It's as much a demo of the technology as anything else


Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades: The Baltic and the Catholic Frontier 1100-1525. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 1980

This is an exhaustive introduction to the Northern Crusades, the centuries when the Teutonic Knights and others fought for control of the land, and occasionally souls of the southern Baltic region, modern Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Finland, Poland and probably parts of Belarus.  It's a massive topic, and Christiansen provides a lively introduction, though occasionally scattered: it's mostly chronological, but not quite always.  The text occasionally falls to "look how clever I am", i.e. "Like Nicholas I, they put their trust in generals Janvier and Fevrier" (p. 165), but not enough to be off-putting. His command of small, bizarrely amusing, details is excellent, "The terrible Johann von Gilberstedt of Halle had been so vigorous in secular life that even after receiving the last rites he had been moved to rape his nurse" (p. 85).  Overall, it's a slow read, but an interesting one, and provides even the most ignorant of readers (as I was), a coherent introduction to an important and mostly ignored phase of the Crusades.

One piece of advice, if you're thinking of reading the book, make photo-copies of the various maps at the front.  I was not at all familiar with the geography, either topological or political, of the area and found myself having to flip over to the maps quite often


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