BOOK OF HOURS, use of Paris, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
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BOOK OF HOURS, use of Paris, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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BOOK OF HOURS, use of Paris, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

[Paris, c.1500]
190 x 125mm. 136 leaves: 1-26, 38, 44 (iii and iv singletons, iv with a miniature), 5-118, 122, 13-178, 188, 196, COMPLETE, vertical catchwords along the inner vertical of final versos, 20 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 21 horizontals ruled in pink, justification: 122 x 68mm, rubrics in pink, capitals touched yellow, one-line initials of burnished gold with grounds and infills of blue with white penwork decoration and pink with gold decoration, line-endings of the same colours, two- to four-line initials of blue or red on grounds of burnished gold with ivy-leaf sprays or paired disks of red and blue in the infill, PANEL BORDERS THROUGHOUT mostly with divided grounds with sprays of blue and gold acanthus against unpainted vellum and shaped fields of liquid gold with sprays of naturalistic flowers or fruit, a few with foliage sprays against coloured fields and others against continuous liquid gold, TWENTY-FOUR CALENDAR MINIATURES within full-page architectural borders, FULL-PAGE MINIATURE OF ADAM AND EVE in an architectural border, FOURTEEN LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES with full-page borders and FIFTEEN SMALL MINIATURES (slight wear to the liquid gold grounds of a few borders, sewing holes from pilgrim badges in the lower margins and staining to the tops of ff.134-136). Citron morocco by Capé with multi-coloured onlays to a French 16th-century strapwork design.

PROVENANCE:

1. The style of illumination, the Feasts of the Calendar and the use of both the Offices of the Virgin and the Dead indicate that the manuscript was made in and intended for use in Paris.

CONTENT:

Calendar ff.1-12; Gospel Extracts ff.13-18; Obsecro te and O Intemerata ff.18v-23v; Office of the Virgin, use of Paris ff.25-77: matins f.25, lauds f.43, prime f.52, terce f.57, sext f.60v, none f.64, vespers f.67, compline f.73; Hours of the Cross ff.77v-80; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.80v-82v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.83-96v; Office of the Dead, use of Paris ff.97-129; Suffrages ff.129v-137: to the Trinity f.129v, to Sts Michael f.130, John the Baptist f.130v, James the Great f.131, Sebastian f.131v, Christopher f.132v, Nicholas f.134, Mary Magdalene f.134v, Catherine f.135v, Barbara f.136v.

ILLUMINATION:

This handsome and richly decorated manuscript is a fine example of Parisian book production at the end of the 15th century. By this time Paris was an established centre for the production of printed Hours. Whereas the printed book was seen as a threat in other centres of manuscript production -- there had been attempts to ban their sale in Rouen -- in Paris it served as another arena of employment for illuminators and the greatest Parisian illuminators worked in printed as well as manuscript books. The miniatures of this Hours are by a follower of Jean Pichore. Pichore is known to have published a printed Hours, and his role in the design of cuts for printed books is much discussed. Not only the style of decoration but the form and content could be common to both printed and manuscript books, and some of the features introduced into printed Hours were adopted in manuscript Hours too. The profusion of printed decoration and illustration so readily and cheaply possible with wood or metal cuts seems to have spurred the producers of manuscripts to compete by providing copiously illuminated Hours without their being specially commissioned. The present manuscript is a fine example of this type. Every opportunity for illustration and decoration is taken. As well as the small and large miniatures planned for by the scribe, there are panel borders on every page, marginal scenes of occupations and of the zodiac signs in the Calendar, and an inserted full-page miniature of the Fall of Man (f.24v) faces the opening of the Office of the Virgin. Eve is shown taking the apple from the female serpent twined around the Tree of Knowledge: the action that created the need for the Incarnation of the Son of God to redeem mankind, which is shown in the Annunciation on the facing page (f.25).

Calendar scenes:

Both recto and verso of each month of the Calendar have frames of renaissance architectural forms with putti and swags. An arched opening at the outer edge reveals occupations and zodiac signs in landscape settings. They are: January, Feasting (f.1) and Aquarius (f.1v); February, Warming at a fire (f.2) and Pisces (f.2v); March, Pruning (f.3) and Aries (f.3v); April, Courting couple on horseback (f.4) and Taurus (f.4v); May, Maying (f.5) and Gemini (f.5v); June, Haymaking (f.6) and Cancer (f.6v); July, Harvesting (f.7) and Leo (f.7v); August, Winnowing (f.8) and Virgo (f.8v); September, Treading grapes (f.9) and Libra (f.9v); October, Sowing (f.10) and Scorpio (f.10v); November, Tending hogs (f.11) and Sagittarius (f.11v); December, Baking loaves (f.12) and Capricorn (f.12v).

The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:

f.13 St John on Patmos
f.14v St Luke (small miniature)
f.16 St Matthew (small miniature)
f.17v St Mark (small miniature)
f.18v Virgin and Child in half-length (small miniature)
f.21v Virgin and Child in half-length (small miniature)
f.24v Adam and Eve (full-page)
f.25 Annunciation
f.43 Visitation
f.52 Nativity with the Virgin and Joseph adoring the Christ Child
f.57 Annunciation to the Shepherds
f.60v Adoration of the Magi
f.64 Presentation in the Temple
f.67 Flight into Egypt
f.73 Coronation of the Virgin
f.77v Crucifixion
f.80v Pentecost
f.83 David and Bathsheba
f.97 Job on the Dungheap
f.129v Trinity (small miniature)
f.130 St Michael (small miniature)
f.130v St John the Baptist (small miniature)
f.131 St James the Great (small miniature)
f.131v St Sebastian (small miniature)
f.132v St Christopher (small miniature)
f.134 St Nicholas (small miniature)
f.134v St Mary Magdalene (small miniature)
f.135v St Catherine (small miniature)
f.136v St Barbara (small miniature)
Special notice

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