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    Sale 12137

    Illuminated Manuscripts from the Collection of Maurice Burrus (1882-1959)

    25 May 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 14

    BOOK OF HOURS, use of Paris, in French and Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1470s]

    Price Realised  


    BOOK OF HOURS, use of Paris, in French and Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1470s]

    A charming example of a portable Parisian Book of Hours by the workshop of one of the most influential illuminators of the 15th century, Maître François, intimately annotated by its early owners, providing an intriguing snapshot of life in Renaissance France.

    (1) The style of illumination, the liturgical use and the saints in the calendar suggest that the manuscript was produced in Paris in the final third of the 15th century. (2) Birth and death records from 1563-1586 of the SALE FAMILY: manuscript notes on inside covers, ff. i-2v and 152v. The manuscript was evidently still in Paris by the time of the first few records (the first note, recording the birth of Tristan Sale in 1564, states that he was baptised at the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois in Paris and an ownership inscription on the inside lower cover by ?Thiarye, wife of Andre Sale, records her address as rue de la Megisserie in Paris). A note by Claude Sale (born in 1565) on f.2v describes how her father, the author of the previous notes, died on 31 August 1586 in Castillon near Bordeaux. (3) JEAN LUIS GISSEY (born 1681), ‘Officier du Gobelet’, or food taster, for Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie (1685-1712), Duchess of Burgundy and Dauphine of France. (4) LOUIS NICOLAS FRANCOIS GISSEY (born 1713) of Sens: birth records on ff.3-4v. (5) CHARLES HENRI ROBERT DAMILAVILLE (1873-1937): his collection sticker inside upper cover, no 154. (6) MAURICE BURRUS, no 13. Purchased from Rossignol in 1937.

    Calendar ff.1-12, Gospel extracts ff.13-19v, Obsecro te in the masculine ff.19v-23v, blank f.24, Hours of the Virgin, use of Paris, ff.25-86; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.87-103, Hours of the Cross ff.104-107, Hours of the Holy Spirit f.107v-110v, Office of the Dead, use of Paris, ff.111-143v, Doulce Dame f.144-149, Doulx Dieu ff.149v-152; added prayers ff.152v-156v.

    The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: John on Patmos f.13, Annunciation f.25, Visitation f.49, Nativity f.61, Annunciation to the shepherds f.67, Adoration of the Magi f.71, Presentation in the Temple f.75, Flight into Egypt f.78v, Coronation of the Virgin f.81v, David in prayer f.87, Crucifixion f.104, Pentecost f.107v, Funeral scene f.111, Pietà f.144, Trinity f.149v.
    The smaller miniatures are on ff.14v, 16v, 18v, and 19v.

    163 x 110mm. 156 leaves, COMPLETE. 15 lines, ruled space: 63 x 55mm. Illuminated initials throughout, FIFTEEN LARGE MINIATURES within full borders and FOUR SMALL MINIATURES within three-sided borders (occasional small loss of pigment, e.g. to John’s face on f.13). 17th-century French gilt-stamped calf (spine cracked).

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    Pre-Lot Text

    The following two lots provide a fascinating insight into the commercial production of Books of Hours in Paris at the end of the 15th century. The artists responsible for their illumination must have been working from exactly the same patterns and models since the miniatures are compositionally almost identical. Both manuscripts were painted by a follower or workshop of the celebrated Maître François (fl. 1460-80), now generally accepted as identifiable with François Barbier père (see lot 22). An oeuvre of around fifty manuscripts has been reconstructed for the master through comparison to his single documented work from 1475: a two-volume La Cité de Dieu, Raoul de Presles’ vernacular translation of St Augustine (Paris, Bib. Sainte-Geneviève, ms. 246). The light, clear tones, especially in the landscape, the liberal use of gold strokes to highlight, the porcelain-like complexions of the female figures and the swarthiness of the male faces are all reflect the master's individual style and execution.