BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [eastern France, first quarter 16th century]
210 x 145mm. 193 leaves, COMPLETE: 16, 27 (of 8, viii a cancelled blank), 38, 49 (i an inserted singleton), 59 (i an inserted singleton), 6-128, 139 (i an inserted singleton), 14-228, 236, 2411 (xi an inserted singleton). Ruled space: 91 x 66mm. 14 lines, illuminated initials and partial borders throughout. NINETEEN LARGE MINIATURES WITHIN FULL ARCHITECTURAL BORDERS, and FOURTEEN SMALLER MINIATURES with three-sided borders (some warping, cockling and marginal staining, occasional smudging or loss of pigment to the miniatures, e.g. to the Crucified Christ on f.97). Early 18th-century binding gilt-stamped with the arms of NICOLAS-JOSEPH FOUCAULT (lightly rubbed and scuffed, small split to spine).
(1) The calendar is Parisian, but a possible clue to localization in eastern France is given by the saints in the suffrages: St Claude is venerated in Besançon and St Benigne in Dijon. (2) A German inscription on f.3v reads ‘Ober [?]amy fur Ewigheit’. (3) Manuscript records of births and marriages of the de Blaigny and de Colligny families, first half 17th century. (4) FOUCAULT, NICOLAS-JOSEPH (1643-1720), royal administrator in the reign of Louis XIV: his arms stamped on the binding. Foucault collected a significant library which was partly dispersed before his death. (5) EMILE OBERKAMPF DE DABRUN (1834-1914): this manuscript described as being in his possession in Livre de Raison de la famille de Fontainemaire, 1740-1774, 1889.
Blank f.1; Calendar ff.2-13v; Gospel Extracts ff.14-22v; Obsecro te and O Intemerata ff.23-31; Office of the Virgin, use of Rome, ff.32-96v; Hours of the Cross ff.97-100v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.101-104v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.105-127v; Office of the Dead, use of Rome, ff.128-183v; Prayer to the holy Trinity f.184-184v; Suffrages ff.185-191v.
The distinctive style of illumination of this Hours draws heavily on the printed tradition and reveals a strong regional flavor. There are compositional parallels between certain scenes – the Adoration of the Magi and the Presentation in the Temple, for example – and a series of metalcuts by the workshop of Jean Pichore that illustrates a 1506 printed Book of Hours published by Simon Vostre in Paris (Tenschert, Horae B.M.V., I, no 43). The artist relies on bold and angular lines; his figures are somewhat static – but there is a compensating energetic use of color (especially gold) and an engaging use of perspective, with the oversized figures filling the frames. Particularly interesting – and unusual – are the smaller miniatures illustrating the life of Job opening the nine lections in the Office of the Dead. A similar cycle is found in a Tours Book of Hours illuminated by the workshop of Jean Bourdichon (Bibl. Mazarine ms.507). The fact that the artist likely used a Parisian printed hours as a template makes localization tricky, but the presence of St Benigne in the suffrages – a saint almost exclusively venerated in and around Dijon – would suggest a Burgundian connection.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: St John on Patmos f.14; St Luke f.16v; St Matthew f.19; St Mark f.21v; Virgin and Child ff.23; Pietà f.28; Annunciation f.32; Visitation f.45v; Nativity f.59v; Annunciation to the Shepherds f.66; Adoration of the Magi f.72; Presentation in the Temple f.77v; Flight into Egypt f.83; Coronation of the Virgin f.92; Crucifixion f.97; Pentecost f.101; David with his harp f.105; Job on his dung heap f.128; Trinity f.184.
The smaller miniatures are on ff.144v, 145v, 146v, 154, 155, 156, 164, 165v, 166v, 185, 185v, 187, 188v, 191.