BOOK OF HOURS, use of Utrecht, in Dutch, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
143 x 107mm. ii + 181 leaves: 1-78, 87(of 8, lacking ii), 98, 109(iv an inserted singleton), 11-148, 157(of 8, lacking i with large illuminated initial and border), 168, 177(of 8, lacking v with large illuminated initial and border), 18-228, 237(of 8, viii cancelled blank), 17 or 18 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 18 or 19 horizontals ruled in brown or purple ink, justification: 88 x 62mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, one- and two-line initials alternately in red or blue, three- to five-line initials with blue or red staves with reserved decoration and red or purple penwork grounds, infills and flourishing, some with green or burnished gold in the infills, five-line initials of burnished gold on blue and purple or purple and orange penwork grounds, or of blue staves with white decoration on red penwork grounds with red and gold foliate infills, all with accompanying border sprays of tendrils with flowerhead and foliate terminals in burnished gold and colours, four frame-borders for full-page paste-in engravings, with FULL-PAGE BORDERS, THREE LARGE BURNISHED GOLD AND PAINTED INITIALS, one of blue with highlighting in white on an extensive burnished gold ground, the infill with a scrolled green stem of five red and blue flowers, with accompanying border of elaborate gold stems and foliage decorated with blue and red flowerheads, and the others of burnished gold and blue on a green and red penwork ground, the infills with flowers within interlocking circles in red and liquid gold, accompanied by similar borders, one with the five wounds of Christ represented by red and gold flowerheads (lacking four paste-in engravings, light marginal soiling, f.17 torn in gutter). Dutch 16th-century panelled calf over wooden boards, gilt and stamped in blind with a central panel of interlaced strapwork within a frame of repeated balusters, surrounded by a roll-tooled border with putti climbing among tendrils, spine in five compartments stamped in blind with flowerheads and foliage, brass hinge from fore-edge clasp on front cover (gilding worn, lacking clasps and catches, extremities rubbed and upper corners lacking). Brown morocco box.
1. Convent of Bethany in Arnhem: the inscription 'bethanien' on f.19 and f.178v in a late 15th- or early 16th-century hand. The female scribe, presumably a sister at the convent, asks for our prayers on f.178v. The name of an early, possibly the first owner has been largely erased, f.179: 'Dit boeck heuet wegehoert der Cec..ere Joffere van W..estm Cecilie moedr did heuet sij hoer gegeue dat sij vor hoer bidde sal Sij sterf op sce Gregori dach int iare ons here m vc en- xxxi Wes ziel moet in vrede ruste'. It is not clear whether the owner or Cecilie's mother, who gave her the book, died in 1531. Sister Cecilie, presumable a nun at Bethany, died in 1567: Suster Cecilie is gestoruen op vrydach voer palmen den xxi marcij ao vc lxvii.
2. Gerbrich Bensynckx, the wife of Henrick Vaeckx: inscription on f.179 in a 16th-century hand: 'Gerbrich Bensynckx henrick vaeckx huisvrowe'. Another inscription, almost entirely erased, begins: 'did boek hort toe'.
3. Emma Pierpoint Chambers: inscription on f.2v, 'To Emma Pierpoint Chambers on Sunday, July 15th. 1849 This missal was presented by her affectionate father and friend Richard Chambers J.L.S of Castle St. Leicester Square London and North Callingham in the County of Nottingham'.
4. Montagu, Dukes of Manchester: printed label inside front cover 'Kimbolton Castle, No. 6673.Chap.'
5. William Foyle (1885-1963); armorial leather bookplate inside front cover; sold Christie's, 11 July 2000, lot 68.
Extract from Gospel of St John f.1r&v; instructions on leap years and fasting ff.2-4; Calendar ff.5-16v; Hours of the Virgin, use of Utrecht ff.18-63v: matins f.18, lauds f.26v, prime f.37v, terce f.41v, sext f.45, none f.48v, vespers f.52, compline, lacking opening f.58; Short Hours of the Cross ff.65-74; preface detailing the indulgences attached to the following prayers f.74v; Prayers and devotions ff.76-111v: beginning with the Five Wounds, the Seven Last Words, to the Trinity, the Virgin, Prayers to be said at various points during Mass, to the guardian angel, an Apostle, Three Kings, Erasmus, the 10,000 martyrs, the 11,000 Virgins, Catherine, Barbara, Margaret, Anne; Penitential Psalms, lacking opening, ff.113-123; Litany ff.123-129v; Geert Grote's Prologue to the Office of the Dead ff.130-131; Office of the Dead, lacking opening, ff.131v-178v; Appeal to pray for the female scribe f.178v.
The illumination is by the Masters of Margriet Uutenham, named from the Hours of Margriet Uutenham (The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Illumination, Utrecht, Rijksmuseum Het Catharijneconvent, 1989, no.89). Their activity has been localised to Arnhem from c.1460, a deduction confirmed by the provenance of these Hours, which are described as 'highly significant' evidence for identifying the Masters with nuns of the convent of Bethany (U. Weekes, Early Engravers and their Public, 2004, pp. 156-7, figs 155-6, pls 52 and 54). They seem to have specialised in decorating books with paste-in engravings or miniatures by other hands. Engravings of the Mass of St Gregory remain in the Uutenham Hours and an Hours in Berlin (Staatsbibliothek Ms. Germ oct. 87), while an Hours in Munich (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Ms. Cgm 115) has lost one print from a decorated frame and border in the manner of this Hours. It is possible to identify one of the prints originally pasted in the present manuscript from the irregular shape of the painted frame on f.64v. The shape and measurements correspond exactly with the Crucifixion by the Master of the Berlin Passion (Lehrs III, p.80, no.30), allowing for the top of the cross with INRI sign that extended beyond the rectangular field of the print. The Masters of Margriet Uutenham used rich blues and purple-reds offset by lighter greens and lavish quantities of burnished gold. Bold shapes are combined with delicate tracery infills or border tendrils to create designs with an immediate impact which then repay closer study. Although not as richly decorated as the Uutenham Hours itself, this is a fine and characteristic example of the Masters' work.
Empty frames are on folios: f.17v, 64v, 75, 112v.
Illuminated initials on ff.18, 65, 76.