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PSALTER and Canticles, with Calendar, Litany, and Office of the Dead, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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PSALTER and Canticles, with Calendar, Litany, and Office of the Dead, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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PSALTER and Canticles, with Calendar, Litany, and Office of the Dead, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [Paris, 1390-1400] 200 x 143mm. 152 leaves: 16(of 8, i-ii cancelled blanks), 2-168, 174, 18-198, 206(of 8, vii-viii cancelled blanks), COMPLETE, horizontal catchwords in lower right corners of final versos, traces of leaf signatures in lower right corners of rectos, two columns of 22 lines written in dark brown ink in a gothic liturgical bookhand between 23 horizontal and four vertical lines ruled in dark brown ink, the verticals and the first and last pairs of horizontals extending into the margins, justification: 137 x 97mm, rubrics in red, neat contemporary corrections in margins of f.138v, one- and two-line initials in burnished gold on grounds of blue and pink with white tracery, similar line-endings, nine four-line initials in pink or blue with white tracery on a ground of the opposite colour, filled with coloured tessellation or with sprays of leaves or blossoms on burnished gold backgrounds, the pages with four-line initials also with vertical bar borders of burnished gold and pink or blue sprouting tendrils of spiky ivy leaves in pink, blue and burnished gold, three of these pages also with the borders entwined with green leafy shapes, vines bearing leaves and blossoms, or green and red acanthus leaves, NINE MINIATURES in square frames the width of a column (some smudging or flaking of pigments and gold, eight Calendar initials entirely repainted, miniature on f.54 rubbed and retouched, four leaves with modern vellum repairs to blank corners). 17th-century French red morocco, edges and turn-ins gilt, Dutch gilt end-papers, gilt edges (rebacked, the joints splitting). Modern leather-backed box. PROVENANCE: The manuscript was made for use in Evreux, to judge from the Calendar, Litany, and Office of the Dead. The rather sparse calendar includes a number of feasts of Evreux: Gaudius (31 January), Aquilinus (15 February), Leufridus (21 June), Translation of Aquilinus (18 July), Taurinus (red, 11 August), Landulphus (13 August), and Invention of Taurinus (5 September). Several bishops of Rouen are also included (in brown): Audoenus (26 August), Nicasius (11 October), Mello (22 October) and Romanus (23 October). CONTENT: Calendar ff.1-6; Psalter, with rudimentary liturgical instructions added in the margins in a 15th-century hand ff.7-115v; Canticles ff.115v-126v; Litany, including Taurinus, Aquilinus, Landulphus, Gaudius, Audoenus, and Romanus, and prayers ff.126v-130v; Office of the Dead, use of Evreux ff.131-151v, f.152 blank but ruled. ILLUMINATION: The initials and ivy-leaf borders of the manuscript resemble the ornamentation of the Petites Heures of Jean Duc de Berry and other manuscripts illuminated in Paris for members of his circle. Several of the miniatures are related to compositions attributed by Millard Meiss to Pseudo-Jacquemart: in particular, David playing the bells and the three clerics singing at a lectern echo the poses found in Paris, BnF Ms. fr.13091, the Psalter of Jean de Berry (French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: The Late Fourteenth Century and the Patronage of the Duke, London 1967, figs 80 & 81). In one instance the illuminator makes an interesting reinterpretation away from the usual composition. The Trinity with God the Father seated beside Christ and the Holy Spirit hovering between, which usually marks the opening of Psalm 109, is here transformed by the illuminator. He omits the Dove and substitutes an ermine-robed and crowned King David for Christ: in the final miniature of the cycle the penitent prophet is shown reconciled with his Lord. The subjects of the miniatures are: f.7 David enthroned, with his harp f.23 David standing and pointing to his eyes, God above in a cloud f.33v David standing and gesturing, God above in a cloud f.44 The fool f.54 David in the water, God above f.67 David seated, playing the bells f.78v Three men singing f.91 God the Father and King David seated side-by-side f.131 A funeral, with three clerics and an acolyte singing from a book on a lectern and a group of mourners
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