• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 35


    Price Realised  


    [Flanders, c.1490]180 x 120mm. 78 leaves: 16, 29(of 8, + vii a singleton with miniature, lacking singleton with miniature after iii), 37(of 8, lacking and singleton with miniature after i), 49(of 8, lacking singleton with miniature after ii, viii a singleton with miniature), 58(lacking singleton with miniature before vi and viii), 610(of 8 + iv, vii, singletons with miniatures, lacking singleton with miniature after i), 79(of 8 + ii, singleton with miniature, and lacking singleton with miniature before vi), 88(lacking singleton with miniature after vi), 98, 104, 21 lines written in brown ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 22 horizontals ruled in pink, justification: 115 x 75mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, one-line initials alternately in burnished gold flourished with black or blue flourished with red, two-line initials of burnished gold on grounds and infills of pink and blue and patterned with white, line-endings in red and blue with burnished gold, THIRTEEN LARGE INITIALS on burnished gold grounds with flower infills with accompanying full-page borders of three-quarter burnished metallic bar-borders, scrolling acanthus in blue, pink, metallic and orange and fruit and flowerheads on pink tendrils interspersed with penwork dots, FIVE LARGE MINIATURES WITH SIMILAR FULL-PAGE BORDERS, the miniatures enclosed in bar-borders of liquid gold and pink, and THIRTEEN SMALL MINIATURES WITH SIMILAR THREE-QUARTER BORDERS (lacking one text leaf and probably eight large miniatures, repaired marginal tear touching Pentecost miniature, small marginal hole to f.1, occasional small losses of gold or pigment, affecting some faces, text block partially split in two). Bound by cords, lacking spine and covers, g.e. Modern black cloth slipcase.

    1. Although no evidence for a specific area of localisation is provided by the generalised use of the Office of the Virgin (the Office of the Dead contains Lessons i-iii only, appropriate to the use of Rome), the sparse calendar includes Ursmar (18 April), especially revered in Hainault, and Winnoc (6 November), whose cult was centred on the channel port of Bergues; the litany contains saints revered in Ghent (Amalberga, Livinus, Bavo) and the southern Netherlands. Prayers are in the masculine.
    2. HSA, B2917

    Calendar ff.1-6v; Gospel extracts ff.7-9v; Hours of the Cross ff.10-12v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.13v-15v (lacking end); Mass of the Virgin ff.16-18v; Obsecro te ff.18v-20; O Intemerata ff.20v-21; Suffrages, to Trinity f.21v, Sts John the Baptist f.22, Peter f.22v, Lawrence f.23, Barbara f.23v, Margaret f.24, Anna f.24v; Hours of the Virgin ff.25-54: matins f.25, lauds f.30v, prime f.37, terce f.39, sext f.41, none f.43v, vespers f.46v, compline f.51v; Salve regina misericordie f.54v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.55-64v; Office of the Dead ff.65-77.

    The design and layout of this Book of Hours, with matching borders across the openings with large miniatures, are typical of book production in Bruges. The style of illumination derives from that of the Master of Edward IV, active in Bruges from the late 1470s to the 1490s and named from his work in the volumes commissioned in Flanders for the English king (see T. Kren and S. McKendrick, Illuminating the Renaissance, 2003, esp. pp.295-305). The appealing and colourful compositions in the present Hours place simplified, linear figures in evocative landscapes or detailed interiors. Their strong vertical accents are typical of the Master of Edward IV but the figures lack his characteristically heavy facial features while sharing his predeliction for ruddy flesh tones. At least two hands were responsible for the illumination, with some of the smaller miniatures showing a greater refinement and more delicate colouring. The hand of the large miniatures shares some similarities with an Hours illuminated by three followers of the Master of Edward IV c.1490, now in the Walters Art Gallery (W435, L. Randall, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery, Belgium 1250-1530, 1997, no 284). In the present lot, the form of the borders and the imprecise liturgical evidence might suggest that its illuminators were not active in Bruges itself but in a smaller centre to the south.

    The subjects of the large miniatures are as follows:
    f.13v Pentecost
    f.30v Visitation
    f.43v Presentation in the Temple
    f.46v Massacre of the Innocents
    f.51 Flight into Egypt
    The subjects of the small miniatures are as follows:
    f.7 St John on Patmos
    f.7v St Luke reading at a lecturn, with winged ox
    f.8 St Matthew writing, seated in a landscape, with angel
    f.9 St Mark reading, seated in an interior, with winged lion
    f.18v Pietà, in a landscape
    f.20v St John the Evangelist, holding a chalice, before the Virgin
    f.21v Trinity
    f.22 St John the Baptist
    f.22v St Peter
    f.23 St Lawrence
    f.23v St Barbara
    f.24 St Margaret
    f.24v St Anna

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Special Notice

    No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium.