BOOK OF HOURS, in Latin, use of Rome, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Flanders, possibly Bruges, c.1460]
199 x 140mm. 108 leaves (+ iv paper flyleaves): 16, 2-98, 106(of 8, iv & v excised), 11-148, 20 lines in black ink written in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 21 horizontals ruled in mauve, justification: 106 x 70mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, one-line initials alternately in burnished gold flourished with black or in blue flourished with red, two-line initials in burnished gold on grounds and infills of pink and blue with white decoration, line-endings in red and blue with burnished gold, NINETEEN LARGE MINIATURES WITH FULL-PAGE BORDERS, the miniatures above four-line initials with staves of pink or blue on burnished gold grounds with foliate infills, both enclosed by bar-borders of burnished gold and pink, with full borders of scrolling blue, red and gold acanthus and sprays of naturalistic flowers interspersed with gold disks on hairline tendrils, SIXTEEN SMALL MINIATURES with similar three-quarter borders (bifolium removed, probably with miniature for Penitential Psalms, stubs of paper endleaves visible at first and final gatherings, slight marginal browning to f.70, vellum repair touching border of f.21, a few small wormholes to margin of final few leaves). 20th-century medieval-style binding, blind-stamped leather over wooden boards with metal cornerpieces.
1. Both the sparsely filled calendar and the litany contain saints revered in the southern Netherlands with no specific indication for area of use (although Vindicianus (15 November) and Gaudentius (7 May) seem uncommon). The Hours of the Virgin and the Office of the Dead are for use of Rome, however the suffrages, which include Victor and Anthony of Padua suggest that their selection was the choice of the patron who commissioned this elaborately illuminated hours. The style of illumination and unusual sequence of texts links this Hours to a number of manuscripts illuminated in Flanders, possibly Bruges.
2. Edwige Lse Guyot (armorial bookplate pasted inside upper cover, dated 1942)
Calendar ff.1-6, Gospel extracts ff.7-10v, Short Hours of the Cross ff.11-14; Short Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.14v-17; Mass of the Virgin ff.17v-20v; Obsecro te ff.21-23; O intemerata ff.23v-24v; Suffrages: to Sts John f.25, Peter f.25v, Paul f.26, John apostle f.26v, Andrew f.27, James f.27v, Stephen f.28, Lawrence f.28v, Vincent f.29, Victor f.29v, Anthony of Padua f.30, Agatha f.30v, Barbara f.31, Margaret f.31v, Mary Magdalen f.32, Anna f.32v; Hours of the Virgin, use of Rome, ff.33-69: matins f.33, lauds f.44, prime f.51, terce f.54, sext f.57, none f.59v, vespers f.62, compline f.66v, followed by Salutation to the Virgin, Salve regina misericordie f.69v; Advent Office of the Virgin ff.70-73v, lacking end; Seven Penitential Psalms, lacking opening, beginning at verse 7 of 2nd Psalm, Litany, ff.74-84; Office of the Dead, use of Rome ff.84v-108.
The stylistic features of the miniatures and densely-filled borders place this Hours within the tradition of the Masters of the Beady Eyes. Named after his distinctive linear manner of indicating eyes, the Master of the Beady Eyes, or Maitre des yeux bridés, followed the style of the Masters of the Gold Scrolls who dominated manuscript illumination in Bruges from the 1410s to the 1450s. The miniatures here feature decorative, formulaic backgrounds, with chequered floors, silvered windows, textile hangings, or simple landscapes with small rounded trees; the distinctive palette includes strong reds and blues and there is a preoccupation with detail, in the depiction of minutiae, such as book bindings, fur-edged hats, and the patterned or ermine edging of garments. The stylistic vocabulary is very similar to the historiated initials which illustrate the suffrages in an Hours in the Bibliothèque du Séminaire, Tournai (Cod. 15) illuminated by a member of the Beady Eyes group. Like the present Hours, it is also for general Rome use and contains a similar and unusual sequence of texts (see Dominique Vanwijnsberghe's discussion on this manuscript and the Beady Eyes group in the forthcoming catalogue of the library, Séminaire de Tournai, Historire - Batiments - Collections). The present manuscript is distinguished by its rich programme of illumination, with nineteen large and sixteen small miniatures.
The subjects of the large miniatures are as follows:
f.7 St John on Patmos, seated, with eagle
f.8 St Luke writing, seated, with winged ox
f.9 St Matthew writing at a desk, with angel
f.10 St Mark writing at a lectern, with winged lion
f.17v Virgin and Child, the Virgin seated on a cushion before cloth of honour, angel to the left
f.21 Virgin and child in a garden, with angel to the left
f.54 Annunciation to the Shepherds
f.57 Adoration of the Magi
f.59v Presentation in the Temple
f.62 Massacre of the Innocents
f.66v Flight into Egypt
f.70 Coronation of the Virgin
f.84v Funeral Service
The subjects of the small miniatures are Sts John the Baptist f.25, Peter f.25v, Paul f.26, John f.26v, Andrew f.27, James f.27v, Stephen f.28, Lawrence f.28v, Vincent f.29, Victor f.29v, Anthony of Padua f.30, Agatha f.30v, Barbara f.31, Margaret f.31v, Mary Magdalen f.32, Anna f.32v.