Workshop of the Master of the Rouen Echevinage
Book of Hours, Rouen, c.1460-80
BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rouen, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Rouen, c.1460-80]
A typically Rouennais Book of Hours, illuminated by the workshop of the Master of the Echevinage de Rouen, one of the leading Rouen illuminators of the 15th century, named for the splendid manuscripts he painted for the Bibliothèque des Echevins in Rouen.
176 x 128mm. ii (paper) + 141 + ii (paper) leaves, complete, 15 lines, ruled space: 94 x 66mm, rubrics in red, illuminated initials and line-fillers throughout, larger initials accompanied by partial borders, 8 large miniatures with full borders (lower corners of ff.1 and 140 repaired, the first miniature a little smudged and darkened, especially to faces, verso of final leaf with traces of adhesion to an earlier binding not affecting text). Early 20th-century brown panelled morocco, spine gilt (slightly rubbed).
Provenance: (1) The style of illumination and the feasts in the calendar (St Romanus on 23 October in gold, the Translation of St Romanus on 17 June in red, the feasts of St Wandrille and St Ouen) indicate that the manuscript was produced in Rouen. (2) 16th-century inscription to lower margins of ff.1, 12v, 94v and 141v 'Paenissiez RR de Marac' [Champagne-Ardenne]. (3) George Becher Blomfield (1801-1885), of Mollington Hall, canon of Chester Cathedral: his armorial bookplate. (4) Bonhams, 28 March 2006, lot 96.
Content: Calendar ff.1-12v; Gospel extracts ff.13-19; Obsecro te and O intemerata f.19-26v; Hours of the Virgin, use of Rouen, ff.27-75; blank f.76; Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.77-94v; Hours of the Cross ff.95-98; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.99-101v; blank f.102; Office of the Dead, use of Rouen, ff.103-132v; Prayers and suffrages in French ff.133-141v.
Illumination: The animated, short-necked figures, the decorative tapestries and the horizontally striated trees set against luminous green hillsides are all features of the workshop of the Master of the Rouen Echevinage (fl.1455-85), the dominant illuminator in Rouen in the second half of the 15th century (see F. Avril and N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1993, pp.170-2). The artist of the present miniatures balances a strong, primary palette to create vibrant, jewel-like compositions.
The subjects of the large miniatures are as follows: Four evangelists f.13; Annunciation f.27; Nativity f.51; Flight into Egypt f.65; David in Prayer f.77; Crucifixion f.95; Pentecost f.99; Burial scene f.103.