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    Sale 12259

    Ex Libris Jean R. Perrette: Important Travel, Exploration & Cartography

    5 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 465

    BOOK OF HOURS, use of Coutances, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum

    Price Realised  


    BOOK OF HOURS, use of Coutances, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum
    {France, Normandy, c.1450]

    200 x 145mm. i + 160 leaves: 1-26, 38, 46, 5-108, 114, 12-188, 196, 204, 217 (of 8, final blank cancelled), 227 (of 8, final blank cancelled), 232 (two singletons, the final one blank), COMPLETE. 15 lines written in black ink between two verticals and 16 horizontals ruled in red, written area 96 x 68mm. Panel borders with hairline tendrils, golden trefoils and colored flowerheads or fruit in the outer margin of every page and in the inner margin of each recto with a two-line foliate initial, TWELVE LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES, with baguette borders surrounded by hairline and foliate sprays with occasional animal inclusions. (some darkening around page edges, some smudging and offsetting, occasional spotting and stains and with original holes in vellum, a corner torn from f.100.) 17th-century paneled brown leather gilt-stamped with double fillets, corners with olive leaf-sprays and a central medallion of the Crucifixion, spine gilt in five compartments (worn and lacking ties).

    Produced for use in the diocese of Coutances, Normandy: in addition to the liturgical use of the Offices of the Virgin and Dead the Calendar includes in gold feasts of the dedication of the Cathedral (12 July), and the relics of Coutances (30 Sept.). The border around of the opening folio (f.13) and the verso facing the beginning of the Office of the Virgin (f.26v) include defaced coats of arms, perhaps originally azure, a bend argent. The knotted cloth in the lower border of f.13 seems likely to be part of an original emblem but has now had a monogram NI added over partial erasure.

    Calendar ff.1-12v; Gospel extracts ff.13-17v; Obsecro te 17v-20v; O Intemerata ff.20v-23v; Verses of Saint Bernard ff.24-25; Suffrage to St Sebastian ff.25v-26 (slightly later addition on pages originally left blank); Office of the Virgin ff.27-72v; Hours of the Cross ff.73-76; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.76v-78v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.79-99v; Office of the Dead ff.100-39v; Suffrages and other prayers including ff.140-159v (slightly later addition with ff.141-160 on added leaves written and illuminated by different hands from the main body of the manuscript)

    The sparkling miniatures in this Hours are fine examples of the colorful, highly decorative work of the illuminator known as the Talbot Master. This illuminator is named from the work he undertook for Sir John Talbot, Ist Earl of Shrewsbury, renowned in England as the most effective leader of Henry VI’s army in France in the later stages of the Hundred Years War. His style in the present Hours is closely comparable to the best work in the manuscript known as The Shrewsbury Book, a great compilation of romances presented by Talbot to Margaret of Anjou on her marriage to Henry VI in 1445 (London, BL, Royal 15 E vi, Royal Manuscripts: the Genius of Illumination, eds S. McKendrick, J. Lowden and K. Doyle, 2011, no 143). The Master’s delight in rich, clear colors, strongly defined shapes and pattern may have derived from the Fastolf Master, another illuminator active in Normandy. But while the Fastolf Master retreated with his English patrons over the Channel, the Talbot Master remained in Rouen after its reconquest in 1449 and contributed to the resurgence of French patronage. This manuscript could be part of this production.

    The subjects of the miniatures are:
    f.27 Annunciation; f.36v Visitation; f.46v Nativity; f.51 Annunciation to the Shepherds; f. 55 Adoration of the Magi; f.58v Presentation in the Temple; f.62 Flight into Egypt; f.68 Coronation of the Virgin; f.73 Crucifixion; 76v Pentecost; f.79 David in Prayer; f.100 Vigil of the Dead in a church.

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