BOOK OF HOURS, use of Paris, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Paris, c.1480]
165 x 120mm. 156 leaves, COMPLETE. FOURTEEN LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES surrounded by full borders, a verse in Latin from the Vexilla Regis with French translation written in a 16th-century hand on the end flyleaf (scattered holes and repaired damage to the vellum, some offsetting and rubbing of the pigment); English late 18th- or early 19th-century green morocco gilt (some wear to front hinge and edges, loss of one moire inner page).
1) The calendar and illumination indicate an origin in Paris towards the end of the 15th century. The Obsecro te is written in the masculine form and there is an added devotion to St. Francis at the end, which might suggest links to the Franciscan order. 2) A verse from the Vexilla Regis translated into French on the flyleaf in a 16th-century hand. 3) EARLS OF HAREWOOD: the current binding – dating between c.1780-c.1820 – could have been added for Henry Lascelles, 2nd Earl Harewood (1767–1841); thence by descent.
Calendar ff.1-12v; Hours of the Virgin, use of Paris, with Hours of the Cross and Hours of the Holy Spirit intermixed ff.13-68v; Penitential Psalms, ff.69-81v; Litany ff.82-86v; Office of the Dead, use of Paris, ff.87-117v; Gospel extracts, Obsecro te and Joys of the Virgin in French ff.118-136; Suffrages ff.136v-144; O Intemerata ff.144v-147v; Seven Requests ff.148-151v; devotion to St. Francis, with prayer to the Virgin in French ff.152-155v.
The miniatures were painted by a follower of Maître Francois (fl. c.1460-80). The deep folds and solid gold highlighting of the draperies, the angular rendition of the interior architectural details, and the facial types – the prominent profiles, pale skin tones and rosy cheeks – are particularly characteristic stylistic tropes, and similar to that seen in a manuscript copy of La Cité de Dieu, c.1475, illuminated by Maître Francois (The Hague, RMMW, 10 A 11). The borders are close to those in the Hours of Jacques de Langeac (Lyon, Bib. mun. 5154). The association of the artist with the Master of Jacques de Besançon (fl. c.1480-98) can also be seen in the present miniatures – most clearly in the compositional similarity of the Presentation in the Temple miniature (f.54) with that in a Book of Hours produced c.1490 (Bib. nat. Lat. 1366, f.142). Charming iconographical details are scattered throughout the miniatures – the shepherdess fabricating a chaplet (f.45) and the anthropomorphic shield of the soldier in the Crucifixion (f. 34v) – and the palette with occasional vibrant yellow and green tones further distinguishes the work of this illuminator.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: the Annunciation f.13r; the Visitation f.24r; the Crucifixion f.34v ; Pentecost f.37r; the Nativity f.38v; the Annunciation to the Shepherds f.45r; the Adoration of the Magi f.49v; the Presentation in the Temple f.54r; the Flight into Egypt f.58r; the Coronation of the Virgin f.62r; King David in Penitence f.69r; Funeral Mass f.87r; the Trinity f.148r; St Francis f.152r.