National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

image image

The Housebook

The Housebook Master | Exhibition Overview

Love, war, and chivalry, along with the latest in medieval technology and domestic arts, all meet in the pages of the remarkable manuscript known as The Housebook. This renowned but rarely seen German secular manuscript was probably produced in the middle Rhine region, perhaps near Mainz, between 1475 and 1485. It covers a wide range of subjects, from chivalric love to military technology. The manuscript was named The Housebook in the nineteenth century because parts of it -- especially a section on recipes and remedies -- reminded scholars of medieval household manuals. The manuscript, however, is much broader in scope, with sections on astrology, mining, and other aspects of medieval life. Since the seventeenth century it has belonged to the same noble family in Germany, the Princes of Waldburg-Wolfegg.

The Housebook was recently unbound to be photographed for a facsimile edition. Before the manuscript is reassembled and returned to Wolfegg castle in southern Germany, the owner has generously allowed its parchment leaves to be framed separately and exhibited in Europe and the United States. This presents an unprecedented opportunity for a wide audience to study and enjoy this previously inaccessible manuscript.

The Housebook Master

Exhibition Overview