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Rare King Arthur manuscript 'could be sold for GBP 2m'

12th November 2010

One of the oldest surviving books about King Arthur and his legendary court is expected to fetch up to GBP 2 million when it is sold at auction next month.

The Rochefoucauld Grail, an illuminated work written on vellum, is a three-volume collection of stories that was probably produced for medieval France's Guy VII, Baron de Rochefoucauld.

Thought to use the hides of 200 cows, the book contains more than 100 brightly-coloured pictures that show some of the iconic images from Arthurian legend.

Dr Timothy Bolton, a manuscript specialist at Sotheby's, commented: 'The scenes have a riotous energy and often stretch beyond the boundaries of the picture frames, with lofty towers poking through the borders at the top.'

He also told the Guardian that the expected GBP 2 million price is 'cheap' when compared with the original cost of the vellum and gold leaf used in the manuscript.

Sotheby's will put the Rochefoucauld Grail under the hammer on December 7th in London as part of its Western and Oriental Manuscripts auction.

On December 16th, Sotheby's will also auction a first edition of Jane Austen's Emma and expects it to command a price of up to GBP 100,000.
 

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