THE PECKOVER HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Lyonnais?, c.1490]210 x 155mm. 178 leaves, collation: 18, 24, 37 (of 8, lacking viii), 44, 58-98, 103 (of 4, lacking ii), 117 (of 8, lacking viii), 128-138, 147 (of 8, lacking viii), 158, 167 (of 8, lacking i), 178-248, 253 (of 4, lacking blank iv), catchwords survive in most gatherings, 14 lines in brown ink (the calendar in lines alternately blue, red, or gold) in two sizes in a fine gothic bookhand between two verticals and 15 horizontals ruled in pale red ink, justification: 100 x 75mm, rubrics in red, line-endings with designs in white on a blue ground and liquid gold on a red ground, one-line initials alternately gold on a square field of red with liquid gold ornament or blue with white ornament, or painted with foliate forms on a field of burnished gold, similar, more elaborate two-line initials, FULL-PAGE BORDERS ON EVERY PAGE except the very last page and those with large miniatures, consisting of stylized and semi-naturalistic acanthus and other plants and flowers, OFTEN WITH HIGHLY NATURALISTIC INSECTS, BIRDS AND HUMANS, the calendar with TWENTY-FOUR ROUNDELS CONTAINING THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE MONTHS AND ZODIAC SYMBOLS set within four-sided borders, SIXTEEN SMALL MINIATURES typically six or seven lines high surrounded by full borders, and TEN FULL-PAGE MINIATURES, eight of them in simple gold frames bearing the first few words of the text in 'Colombe-capitals' (with the 'N' usually back-to-front), the two others engulfing four lines of text and an historiated initial, TWO LARGE AND THREE SMALL HISTORIATED INITIALS (lacking four leaves, one probably blank, the others probably with three small miniatures, some miniatures slightly worn or with small losses of pigment, especially the first, occasional minor offsetting). 18th-century French brown morocco gilt with floral and foliate tools, pale blue silk(?) doublures, gilt edges, several silk bookmarks of various colours, added (London, 1830) chased silver clasp with the arms of James Dallaway (corners bumped, sides somewhat rubbed, first and last quires very slightly loose). Blue solander box.
CONTAINING SOME OF THE FINEST MINIATURES BY JEAN COLOMBE, REFLECTING HIS WORK ON THE TRèS RICHES HEURES
1. Apparently written and illuminated in the Lyonnais, or perhaps begun there and finished in Bourges (see below). The prayers use masculine grammatical forms, but one historiated initial depicts a lady at her prayers.
2. Heraldry has been added to the shield held by a bear in two of the borders (f.29r-v); it consists of a medieval merchant's mark flanked by a hunting-horn, a flower, and an ampersand, perhaps a rebus for a name such as 'Cornefleur'. Lyon was one of the most important trading-centres in France at the end of the 15th century.
3. Pierre-Barthlemy Partarrieu (d.1817), Conseilleur at the Court of Bordeaux, who behaved so eccentrically that Napoleon judged it necessary to revoke his position in 1808 (on whom see J. Delpit, 'Un collectionneur bordelais: Pierre-Barthlemy Partarrieu', Tablettes des bibliophiles de Guyenne, 3 (1878), pp.243-308); with a printed slip 'Partarieu [sic], Juge à la Cour de justice criminelle' stuck to f.ii verso.
4. Robert Heathcote (see below), who sold his library to John Dent, who discarded the duplicates in two sales in 1808 and the bulk of his library in 1827 (S. de Ricci, English Collectors of Books and Manuscripts, p.99).
5. Rev. James Dallaway, F.S.A. (1763-1834) (on whom see F.W. Steer, 'Memoir and Letters of James Dallaway, 1763-1834', Surrey Archaeological Collections, 103 (1965), pp.1-48), and F.B. Benger, 'James Dallaway, Antiquary, Vicar of Leatherhead 1803-1834', Proceedings of the Leatherhead and District Local History Society, 2, no 7 (1963), pp.214-9, with a reproduction of the present manuscript): barry of six argent and azure on a chief gules two pallets or overall a tilting spear bendwise proper within an initial letter 'D' engraved on the binding-clasp, hall-marked London 1830; inscribed by him 'This Missal ... was procured from some library in Paris, during the revolution by M. Partarieu; brought to England in 1816 by Mr Robert Heathcote a well known collector; and purchased by me in 1830... [signed] J.D.' (f.ii verso); bequeathed to his wife Harriet (d. after 1863).
6. Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick (1783-1848), F.S.A. and collector of arms and armour; inscribed in pencil 'I bought this of the widow of the Revd J. Dallaway, rector of Leatherhead Surrey'; his sale at Sotheby's, 20 July 1871, lot 1367, bought by Quaritch for £71.
7. Jonathan Peckover (1835-1882), Quaker banker of Bank House, Wisbech (armorial bookplate; inscription signed and dated May 1873); apparently bequeathed to his sister Jane (d.1909), whose name is signed on a label inside the upper cover; presumably bequeathed by her to her brother Alexander (d.1919), by him to his daughter Elizabeth (d.1930), and by her to her son Prof. Lionel Sharples Penrose (d.1972), psychiatrist, medical geneticist, mathematician and chess theorist; signed and dated 'L.S. Penrose 1932' (f.i verso); loaned by him to the Colchester and Essex Museum; returned to his executors after his death (N.R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, II, 1977, p.401) and sold at Sotheby's, 5 December 1978 lot 50, bought by Kempner; subsequently Tenschert, Leuchtendes Mittelalter, I, Katalog XXI, 1989, no 71.
Calendar in French ff.1-12v; Extracts from the Gospels, lacking end ff.13-18v; Obsecro te, lacking beginning ff.19-22; Hours of the Virgin, use of Rome ff.24-86v: matins f.24, lauds f.42v, prime f.55v, terce f.60v, sext f.65, none f.69v, vespers f.74, compline f.82; Hours of the Cross ff.87-91v and of the Holy Spirit ff.92-96v; Suffrages to the Trinity (rubric only), Michael (lacking opening), John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, John the Evangelist, James, Stephen, Laurence, Sebastian, Nicholas, Anthony, Anne, Mary Magdalene, Catherine, Margaret ff.97-104v; Seven Penitential Psalms, lacking opening, followed by Litany and three collects ff.105-124v; Office of the Dead ff.125-178.
This is an unusually complex and interesting volume, which appears to have been written and decorated in stages, possibly in different places. In addition to the presence of several artists in the miniatures, the writing and minor decoration were done by at least two sets of artisans. The scribe of ff.13v-22 and 97-104v writes a very angular prickly script. The rest is written in a less angular script, and from the beginning of the Seven Penitential Psalms there are finer borders and exceptionally fine small initials and line-fillers. Throughout the volume the small initials are painted in alternately early and late 15th-century styles.
The majority of the miniatures are entirely or partly by Jean Colombe, native of Bourges (d.1493?), which might suggest that this was the place of origin of the manuscript, but the styles of the other artists suggest a more complex situation. The miniatures in the calendar and in the sections with prickly script are by the artist of Yale, Beinecke Library ms 435, which is attributed to Lyon in the 1490s or c.1500 on the basis of its similarity to a group of Lyon manuscripts (see catalogue by B. Shailor et al.). The full-page miniatures at the beginning of the two main texts are attributed to another late 15th-century Lyonnais artist, responsible for Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, ms W.457 (see R. Wieck, Time Sanctified, 1988, pl.37, and L. Randall, Medieval and Reniassance Manuscripts ... France, II, 1992, no 174 and fig.304); and the iconography of the Annunciation miniature derives from a Bedford Master composition which is known to have been circulating in Lyon in the 1480s (eg. Sotheby's 13 July 1977, pl. illustrating lot 76; cf. lot 73 in the same catalogue).
Colombe seems almost to have made a speciality of completing unfinished manuscripts: he famously added miniatures to the Très Riches Heures of the Duke de Berry (for which he was apparently paid in 1485); to a Book of Hours illuminated by Jean Fouquet (Pierpont Morgan Library, ms M.834; see J. Plummer, The Last Flowering, 1982, no 42); to another Hours begun in Angers (Plummer, no 54); to the Escorial Apocalypse; and to the Yale Missal (Beinecke, ms 425). It is therefore very tempting to suppose that the present manuscript was begun in Lyon or the Lyonnais by local artists, and completed by an itinerant Colombe (as suggested by François Avril in Avril & Reynaud, 1993, p.179; E. Burin, Manuscript Illumination in Lyon 1473-1530, 2002, pp.11, 19 & 21 and cat.no 40), whose fame was such that he had been summoned to Savoy to work on the Très Riches Heures and the Escorial Apocalypse.
Colombe's miniatures here have clear points of comparison with his work on the Très Riches Heures: the Pentecost scenes are remarkably similar, for example, while the Coronation of the Virgin is one of his favourite compositions (see, for example, F. Avril, 'Les heures de Guyot de Peley', Art de l'enluminure, no 21 (2007), pp.2-55 at pp.4-5 and 48-9).
The subjects of the full-page miniatures are as follows:
f.13 St John on Patmos and his vision of the seven-headed beast
f.24 Annunciation, surrounded by scenes of the Virgin weaving, and the Virgin at the steps of the Temple
f.42v Visitation, with Elizabeth kneeling before the Virgin and three angels behind her; in the landscape a château with moat and drawbridge
f.55v Nativity, the stable interior rendered in dramatic perspective
f.60v Annunciation to the Shepherds, with a shepherdess milking sheep, and a watermill in the landscape
f.69v Presentation in the Temple, set within the nave of a gothic cathedral
f.82 Coronation of the Virgin, with the Virgin and Christ sitting under elaborate giltwood traceried canopies
f.87 Crucifixion, with Mary Magdalene clasping the base of the Cross
f.92 Pentecost, set within a gothic cathedral apse
f.125 Job on the dung-heap visited by four friends; in the background a funeral procession carrying a bier, towards a grave-digger in the foreground
There are twenty-four miniatures in roundels in the calendar, and sixteen other small miniatures: a man feasting; a naked man with a water-pot (Aquarius); a man warming himself by a fire; two fish (Pisces); a man polling with a bill-hook; a ram grazing (Aries); a man giving flowers to a woman in a walled garden; a bull in a landscape (Taurus); a man on horseback with a bird of prey; two naked males figures behind a shield bearing a sunburst (Gemini); a man cutting grass with a scythe; a crayfish(?) in a landscape (Cancer); a man harvesting wheat with a sickle; a lion in a landscape (Leo); a man threshing wheat in a field; a woman holding a palm-branch in a landscape (Virgo); a man treading grapes in a vat; a woman holding a large pair of scales in a landscape (Libra); a man sowing seed in a ploughed field; a scorpion-like creature (Scorpio); a man throwing a rock at a tree to knock down nuts for his hogs; an archer with an animal's hind-quarters (Sagittarius); a man with a large club about to stun a hog; a ram's fore-parts emerging from a shell (Capricorn); St Luke writing f.15; St Matthew examining his pen f.16v; St Mark writing f.18 ; St John the Baptist f.97; Sts Peter & Paul f.97v; St John the Evangelist f.98v; St James f.99; St Stephen f.99v; St Laurence f.100; St Sebastian f.100v; St Nicholas and the three boys f.101; St Anthony reading outside his hermitage f.101v; St Anne teaching the Virgin Mary to read f.102v; St Mary Magdalene f.103; St Catherine f.103v; f.104 St Margaret.
The historiated initials depict: the prophet Isaiah with a scroll, in camaïeu d'or f.24; a half-length cadaverous figure f.125; The Last Judgment f.141v; God in heaven blessing a corpse f.144; an elegant laywoman at her prie-dieu f.147v.
There are many marginal figures and creatures, including dragonflies, wild men fighting bears or lions. Among the most remarkable border details are: birds ff.34-36; grasshoppers ff.42, 52; a large red lobster f.50; a variety of animals f.68-69; jousting knights f.87v; a frog f.99; and a winged beetle f.168.