BOOK OF HOURS, use of Paris, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
176 x 114mm. ii (paper) + 130 + ii (paper) leaves: 16, 29 (of 8, i an inserted singleton), 39 (of 8, ii an inserted singleton), 4-78, 87 (of 6, iv an inserted singleton), 97 (of 6, i an inserted singleton), 109 (of 8, i an inserted singleton), 119 (of 8, vi an inserted singleton), 12-158, 166, 174, COMPLETE, 21 lines written in a bâtarde script in brown ink between two verticals and 22 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 100 x 58mm, text capitals touched yellow, rubrics in blue, one-line initials and line-endings in liquid gold on grounds of red and blue, two-line and four-line initials in blue on liquid gold grounds with infills of red and blue flowers and foliage, EVERY WRITTEN PAGE WITH A PANEL BORDER of acanthus, flowers and fruit on gold grounds, SIXTY CALENDAR MINIATURES depicting the occupations of the month, saints and religious scenes, FIVE SMALL MINIATURES opening the Gospel extracts and prayers, TWELVE SMALL MINIATURES WITH FULL BORDERS depicting saints in the suffrages, FOURTEEN LARGE MINIATURES WITH FULL-PAGE BORDERS and FIVE FULL-PAGE MINIATURES, with facing borders incorporating small miniatures (some rubbing and loss of pigment). 19th-century straight-grain morocco gilt, edges gilt and gauffered (binding lightly scuffed at edges, a small stain on the upper cover).
The Offices of the Virgin and of the Dead are for the liturgical use of Paris, and the style and decoration of the manuscript are consistent with the artistic trends evident in the city at the beginning of the 16th century.
William Henry Smith (1825-1891), MP, English bookseller and newsagent of the family firm W.H. Smith, First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War, and later First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Commons: his bookplate; by descent to the current owners.
Calendar ff.1-6v; Gospel Extracts, Obsecro te and O Intemerata, ff.8-16v; Hours of the Virgin, use of Paris, ff.18-63: matins f.18, lauds f.34, prime f.42, terce f.46, sext f.49, none f.52, vespers f.55, compline f.60; Hours of the Cross ff.65-67; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.68-70; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.72-84v; Office of the Dead, use of Paris, ff.86-117; Doulce Dame and Doulx Dieu ff.118-124; Suffrages ff.124v-130.
A STRIKING AND ICONOGRAPHICALLY RICH BOOK OF HOURS BY ONE OF THE LEADING FRENCH ILLUMINATORS OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. The miniatures are the work of Jean Pichore, active in Paris from 1502 to 1520. Pichore worked as an illuminator for some of the greatest and wealthiest patrons of the day: he is responsible for the first volume of a De civitate Dei painted between 1501 and 1503 for Cardinal Georges d'Amboise (BnF ms lat.2070), the luxurious Chants royaux commissioned in 1517 for Louise of Savoy, mother of François Ier (BnF ms fr.145), and the Vies des femmes célèbres of Antoine Dufour, made for Anne de Bretagne (Musée Dobrée, Nantes, ms. 17). Pichore headed a thriving and successful workshop that influenced not only the stylistic direction of manuscript illumination of the period, but also greatly impacted the models used in printed book decoration. The present Hours bear the hallmarks of Pichore's style: expressive, confidently modelled and delicately shaded figures with finely delineated facial features, the noses pronounced and the cheeks touched with small brushes of pink. Coloured marbled floors convey depth and perspective, and a lavish use of gold embellishes draperies and heightens the detailed architectural backdrops. The miniature depicting Dives in Hell on f.85v is compositionally almost identical to one in a Book of Hours by a follower of the Master of Petrarch's Triumphs at the Library of Congress (Rosenwald 15, f.117), while the Flagellation holds several similarities with a leaf from the Walters Art Gallery (W 468).
Several of the compositions draw on stock models, some dependent upon woodcuts by Dürer, while others were created and recycled by Pichore's own workshop. This reliance is particularly evident in the inserted full-page miniatures, reminiscent in quality and style of a Book of Hours printed in Paris by Simon Vostre in 1508, which was designed and decorated by Pichore himself (see Horae B.M.V.: 158 Stundenbuchdrucke der Sammlung Bibermühle, 1490-1550, II, p.774, no 96).
The lavish decoration of the manuscript -- every page adorned with a lively scatter border -- is matched by its artistic quality: with the exception of the Calendar, Pichore's hand can be recognised in the smaller miniatures, including those in the full-page borders, as well as in the major cycle.
The subjects of the full-page miniatures are as follows:
The Temptation of Adam and Eve f.7v
The Marriage of the Virgin f.17v
The Flagellation of Christ f.64v
Dives in Hell f.85v
The subjects of the large miniatures are:
St John on Patmos, in the borders John being boiled in a pot of oil and his subsequent banishment to the island of Patmos f.8
The Annunciation, in the borders the Virgin at the Temple and her marriage to Joseph f.18
The Visitation f.34
The Nativity f.42
The Annunciation to the Shepherds f.46
The Adoration of the Magi f.49
The Presentation in the Temple f.52
The Flight into Egypt f.55
The Coronation of the Virgin f.60
The Crucifixion, in the borders the Harrowing of Hell and Christ carrying the cross f.65
David and Uriah, in the borders David in prayer and David and Goliath f.72
The Last Judgement, in the borders Job on the dungheap and Job beaten by devils f.86
The Virgin and Child f.118
Ecce Homo f.122.
The remaining small miniatures are on ff.9, 10, 11v, 12, 15, 124v, 125, 125v, 126, 126v, 127, 127v, 128, 128v, 129, 129v, 130.