• Valuable Printed Books and Man auction at Christies

    Sale 7882

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts

    23 November 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 18


    Price Realised  


    [northern France, 1460s and 19th century]126 x 81mm. 254 leaves, APPARENTLY COMPLETE, 15 lines in brown and black ink in a letter bâtarde between two verticals and 16 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 70 x 44mm, rubrics in red, capitals touched yellow, one-line initials in burnished gold on alternating grounds and infills of blue and red, similar line-endings, two- and three-line initials with staves of blue or dark pink on burnished gold grounds with foliate infills, every two-line initial with accompanying panel border of sprays of blue and gold acanthus and naturalistic flowers on hairline tendrils with burnished gold disks, each calendar page with similar three-line initials and panel border, SEVENTEEN LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES with accompanying initial and two-sided decorated bar-borders within FULL-PAGE BORDERS with naturalistic flowers and fruit and incorporating peacocks, a cockerel, pheasant, owl, swans, drolleries, music-making angels and dancing figures (meticulous overpainting found in most miniatures, full-page borders, some panel borders and initials, some cropping at upper or outer margins, repair to tear across border below miniature of David Praying obscuring some text on verso, short cut in margin of f.163). Mid-19th-century black morocco gilt, silver clasps and catches (extremities lightly rubbed, some scuffing to lower cover).

    1. Although no evidence for a specific diocese is provided by the full calendar, the devotional content and the design and style of illumination suggest an origin in northern France. Prayers in French have been added at the end in a contemporary hand and sewing holes with the imprint of a pilgrim's badge below the suffrage to St John the Baptist are testament to an early owner's devotions. 2. erased 16th-century ?ownership inscription on final leaf. 3. Edward Arnold, The Grove, Dorking, Surrey and his son, Andrew W. Arnold (armorial bookplate; see A Catalogue of the Library formed by Edward Arnold, privately printed, 1921, this manuscript likely no.615); his sale (see 'Catalogue of the Valuable Library largely of French Literature in handsome bindings formed by the Late Edward Arnold and now sold by order of Andrew W. Arnold'), Sotheby's, 6 May 1929, lot 242.
    Calendar ff.1-12; Gospel extracts ff.13-19v; Obsecro te ff.19v-24v; O Intemerata ff.24v-27v; prayers and orations to the Virgin including the Stabat Mater ff.27v-38v; Hours of the Virgin, use of Rome ff.39-97: matins f.39, lauds f.52v, prime f.67v, terce f.72, sext f.77, none f.81, vespers f.85v, compline f.93; Salve regina misericordie vita ff.97-98; Seven Penitential Psalms, litany and orations ff.99-130v; Weekday Hours ff.131-162v: Hours of the Trinity f.131, Hours of the Dead f.136, Hours of All Saints f.140v, Hours of the Holy Spirit f.144v, Hours of the Holy Sacrament f.149, Hours of the Holy Cross f.153v, Saturday Hours of the Virgin f.158; Office of the Dead ff.163-204v; Prayer of the Holy tears ff.205r+v; Suffrages ff.206-241, to Sts John the Baptist, Peter, Paul, John the Evangelist, Andrew, Jacob, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Simon and Jude, Matthew, Barnabas, Innocent, Stephen, Lawrence, Vincent, Sebastian, George, Cosmas and Damian, Christopher, Quentin, Dyonisus, Firmin, Hippolytus, Leodegar, Adrian, Martin, Nicholas, Anthony, Gregory, Ambrosius, Augustin, Jerome, Eligius, Egedius, Lupus, Fursey, Fiacre, Claude, Anna, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, Agatha, Lucy, Cecilia, Agnes, Catherine, Margaret, Christina, Genevieve, Clare, Barbara, Apollonia, Gertrude, All Saints; further prayers and devotions including Seven Last Words of Our Lord and prayer to the Holy Cross ff.241-252v; added prayers in French ff.253-4.

    This is an opulent and richly decorated Hours, all aspects of its production suited to the requirements of a wealthy patron. The extensive cycle of miniatures accompany an elegant script, the flamboyant cadels the work of an accomplished scribe. There is no evidence to suggest that the careful and skilful overpainting, found to varying degrees in most of the miniatures, was prompted by damage, for the manuscript is in extremely good condition. The original compositions are precisely followed but enhanced with brighter colours and sweeter faces to accord with Victorian taste. In fact the provenance of this Hours makes it likely that this is the work of the celebrated illuminator and copyist, Caleb William Wing (1801-75), probably for John Boykett Jarman (d.1864), whose collection 'was made up almost entirely of the lavishly decorated personal prayerbooks produced... at the very end of the Middle Ages, which were most fashionable with small private collectors in the 19th century (see J. Backhouse, 'A Victorian Connoisseur and his manuscripts: the Tale of Mr Jarman and Mr Wing', The British Museum Quarterly, 32, 1968, pp.76-92). Edward Arnold is known to have bought at the Jarman sale (Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, 13 June 1864; see The Arcana Collection, Part I, these Rooms, 7 July 2010, lots 22 and 23) and the nature of the repainting, together with the appearance of the binding, reflects the aesthetic tastes of Jarman and his contemporaries. Although much of Wing's work was restorative, following the flood at Jarman's house in 1864 which affected many of his manuscripts, there is no evidence that the present lot was ever water-damaged. The delicacy of the 15th-century illuminator's hand is still evident in the miniatures (the miniature of David praying appears untouched) and in some of the delightfully drawn animals, birds and figures which inhabit the borders.
    The subjects of the full-page miniatures are:
    f.39 Annunciation
    f.52v Visitation
    f.67v Nativity
    f.72v Annunciation to the Shepherds
    f.77 Adoration of the Magi
    f.81 Presentation in the Temple
    f.85v Flight into Egypt
    f.93 Coronation of the Virgin
    f.99 David praying
    f.131 Trinity
    f.136 Funeral Service
    f.140v All Saints
    f.144v Pentecost
    f.149 Priest displaying the Host for adoration
    f.153v Pietà, the Virgin with the body of Christ, flanked by the Magdalene and John the Evangelist
    f.158 Virgin and Child in glory on a crescent moon
    f.163 The Raising of Lazarus

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