Daniel Crouch Rare Books offers the 'Harisse Codex', attributed to the cartographer Agnese, for $4.5m as part of Amor Librorum Nos Unit.

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Agnese produced highly decorated manuscript atlases for a number of royal patrons (Charles V, Philip II of Spain) and while this work is not recorded in a census of his portolans compiled in 1931, it corresponds with a group he produced from 1545-55 and has been attributed by the bibliographer Henry Harisse.

The volume is offered in its original binding by Daniel Crouch Rare Books for $4.5m in the interactive online catalogue Amor Librorum Nos Unit (‘the love of books unites us’).

Named for the ILAB motto, the catalogue is a major project and the result of collaboration between seven book dealers: Crouch, Stéphane Clavreuil, Jörn Günther, Peter Harrington, Jonathan Hill, Umberto Pregliasco and Bernard Shapero. It was released in early July, though Crouch says Günther came up with the idea while leaving this year’s curtailed TEFAF Maastricht.


A screen shot from the catalogue.

It features 35 manuscripts spanning from 1255-1962 laid out in chronological order. Each work can be explored in depth by visiting an individual page linked to from the main catalogue.

“One of the things I’ve been trying to do during lockdown is to think of new ways to engage with existing and potential customers while some of the more traditional avenues of fairs, exhibitors and gallery visits are compromised,” says Crouch, who is also redesigning his website (due to launch in September).

He stresses that he has found it possible to sell valuable works online, but adds: “Capturing a conception of scale has been the hardest element – in the end the only way we could give a sense of the sheer size of some of our monumental wall maps was to hire the studio the Spice Girls shot videos in and hang it with 18th century town plans.”