BOOK OF HOURS, use of Utrecht, in Dutch, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Haarlem, c.1455-65]165 x 117mm. 179 leaves: 18, 27(of 6 + vii), 3-68, 74, 8-98, 105(of 4 + v), 11-128, 136, 14-158, 167(of 6 + vii), 17-218, 227(of 6 + i), 238, 7(of 6 + vii, former pastedown), COMPLETE, 19 lines written in a gothic bookhand in black ink between two verticals and 20 horizontals ruled in grey, justification: 83 x 59mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, one-and two-line initials alternately in red or blue, three-line initials alternately in red and blue with flourishing in purple or red to side margin, SIX LARGE PUZZLE INITIALS IN RED AND BLUE WITH EXTENSIVE FLOURISHING IN RED AND PURPLE TO UPPER AND SIDE MARGINS (slightly cropped into flourishing on some leaves, slight cockling to some leaves). Contemporary brown calf stamped in blind with a panel of the Lamb of God in a roundel within a mandorla framed by Siet dat lam Goedes dat boert die sonnen d[er] verl, the symbols of the four Evangelists in the corners, within a triple fillet, two metal clasps and catches (rebacked, the Lamb rubbed on both covers).
1. The Calendar includes saints especially revered in the County of Holland, part of the diocese of Utrecht, with St Bavo, patron of Haarlem parish church in red (2 October). It agrees with the calendars in other manuscripts written by this scribe, identified by Margriet Hülsmann as active in Haarlem c.1455 - c.1465 (for her discussion of seven manuscripts in this hand see 'An identifiable Haarlem scribe active c.1455 to c.1465 in the environment of the Master of the Haarlem Bible', Quaerendo 33, 2003, nos 1 & 2, pp. 119-134, the present Hours pp.120, 125-6).
Bindings with this panel stamp have been attributed to Haarlem c.1450-75, classified by Hülsmann as her type III.a.1, see 'Met Prosper Verheyden op pad: Noord-Hollandse boekbanden opnieuw belicht. Lam Gods-paneelstempels versus penwerkdecoratie' in E Codicibus Impressisque III, Leuven, 2004, pp.97-137, the present lot no. 54 (see also P. Verheyden, 'Noord-Hollandse boekbanden', Het Boek, 31, 1952-1954, pp.197-239).
Several religious houses in Haarlem earned money from book production, among them the Augustinian canons of the Visitation, just outside the town, who belonged to the Windesheim Congregation, the monastic exponents of the Devotio moderna. Vernacular prayerbooks were crucial to its ideal of fostering a direct relationship between the individual and the divine and were also reliable sellers.
2. Charles Aldenburg Bentinck (1810-1891) of India House, Bovey Tracy, Devon: his name with note 'bought at Exeter 1832', f.1, and name alone, f.1v; his interest in manuscripts may have been aroused by the gift to him in that year of the splendid late 16th-century Psalter of John VII of Oldenburg, which had passed by inheritance to the Bentinck family (The Arcana Collection, Part II, Christie's, 27 October 2010, lot 18). The Dutch language and provenance perhaps appealed to a descendant of the first Earl of Portland, who had come from Holland with William III.
3. Major J.R. Abbey (1894-1969): his gilt stamped armorial leather book plate inside upper cover; his name and addresses and date of purchase, January 1943, f.1; 'J.A. 2225 5: i: 43', f.179; his sale Sotheby's, 1 December 1970, lot 2880, page from catalogue pasted to lower cover.
Ruled blanks, first former pastedown ff.1-2; Calendar, for the diocese of Utrecht, with saints especially revered in the county of Holland: Cyriacus (8 August), Hippolytus (17 August) and Jeroen in red (17 August) ff.3-14; ruled blank with rubric for the hours of the Virgin on verso f.15; Office of the Virgin, use of Utrecht ff.16-51: matins f.15, lauds f.23v, prime f.31, terce f.34, sext f.36v, none f.39v, vespers f.42, compline f.47; Hours of Eternal Wisdom ff.52-72v: matins f.52v, lauds f.59v, prime f.62, terce f.63v, sext f.65, none f.66v, vespers f.68, compline f.70; Hours of the Cross ff.73-94v: matins f.73, lauds f.79, prime f.82v, terce f.84, sext f.86, none f.88, vespers f.89v, compline f.92v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.95-117: matins f.95, lauds f.102, prime f.104v, terce f.107, sext f.108v, none f.110, vespers f.111v, compline f.114v; Penitential Psalms ff.118-127; Litany, with Jeroen, Adalbert, patron of the Abbey at Egmond ff.127-137v; prayers before and after receiving the sacrament ff.138-141v; Office of the Dead, use of Utrecht ff.142-177; ruled blanks ff.177v-178v; former pastedown f.179.
The fine penwork is a splendid example of the inventive patterning developed particularly in the northern Netherlands, where proponents of the Devotio moderna argued against excessive luxury and display. The flourishing is a mixture of styles that include 'fountain' and 'thorn and stitch' motifs and that of the 'Haarlem-Canons-Regular-Missal', written in 1447 (see Margriet Hülsmann, p.125). The 'thorn and stitch', typical of the northern part of the county of Holland, is named from the spiky decoration concentrated around the initial and from the short parallel strokes laid over the longer curving lines. The 'beardmen' (e.g. ff. 39v, 47, 59v, 66v, 166v, and on f.63v with a more conventional man's face) and the dog's head on f.70 are also typical for this area. The large leaf motifs and are very like those in a Psalter localised to Haarlem c.1450 (The Hague, KB, ms 133 D 26), while the 'fountains' of curving lines and 'treble clef' forms, as f.36v or f.114v with triplet 'beardmen', are characteristic of Haarlem penwork of the third quarter of the 15th century (see A. Korteweg, Kriezels, aubergines en takkenbossen, 1992, esp. pp.86-91).
The exuberantly curvaceous patterns of delicate red and purple lines splendidly complement, and contrast with, the bold red and blue initials and regular black script.
The six large flourished initials are on ff.16, 52, 73, 95, 118 and 152.