BOOK OF HOURS, use of Paris, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[northern France, probably Paris, 1460s]
106 x 73mm. Paper endleaf (now detached) + 167 leaves, COMPLETE: 112, 2-208, 214 (iv a flyleaf), prickings visible in outer margins, horizontal catchwords on final versos, guide words in lower margins of calendar leaves, 16 lines written in black ink in a lettre bâtarde between two verticals and 17 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 55 x 37mm, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials in burnished gold on alternating grounds of blue and dark red with white decoration, similar line-endings, each two-line initial accompanied by panel borders with blue and gold acanthus sprays with naturalistic flowers and fruit and gold leaves on hairline tendrils, FOURTEEN LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES WITH FULL-PAGE BORDERS of similar form, with thin bar-borders in burnished gold and inhabited with a peacock, snails, dog, birds, and a blank heraldic shield on f.13 (some smudging or rubbing with pigment loss, most noticeably to Annunciation and Flight into Egypt miniatures, occasional stains, one panel border particularly affected). 17th-century English morocco elaborately gilt (slightly bumped, extremities worn). Modern carrying case.
The calendar, liturgical uses and style of illumination indicate an origin in Paris; [Samuel or James?] Steele, London, gifted to Mrs Alexander Sand[ers]son, Dundee, 12 June 1826 (inscription on endleaf and margin inscribed on f.13; exhibited, 'The Royal House of Stuart', 1888-9, The New Gallery, Regent Street, described as the Book of Hours used by MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS on the scaffold (paper label on front pastedown, 'Stuart Exhibition London 1888-9 67 23, reg no. 310' and inscription on endleaf).
Parisian Calendar ff.1-12v; Office of the Virgin, use of Paris ff.13-66v; matins f.13, lauds f.24, prime f.37, terce f.43v, sext f.48, none f.52, vespers f.56, compline f.60v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.69-89; Gospel extracts ff.90-97v; Obsecro te ff.98-102v; O Intemerata ff.102v-107; Office of the Dead, use of Paris, ff.109-148; Suffrages and prayers to be said at various times ff.149-167: including St Christopher f.149, St Lawrence f.150v, St Fiacre f.152v, St Anthony f.153, St Mor f.154, St Sebastian f.154v, St Bernard f.156, St Genevieve f.157v, St Anna f.160, St Nicholas f.162 and prayers to be said on each day of the week.
An appealing, diminutive Book of Hours with decorative borders and an elegant script elaborated with cadels. The compositions of the miniatures are familiar from the manuscripts produced in the workshops of Maître François, whilst the overall style reflects the Master of Jean Rolin II's widespread influence on Parisian illuminators.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: Annunciation f.13, Visitation f.24, Nativity, f.37, Annunciation to the Shepherds f.43v, Adoration of the Magi f.48, Presentation in the Temple f.52, Flight into Egypt f.56, Coronation of the Virgin f.60v, David praying f.69, St John on Patmos f.90, St Luke f.92, St Matthew f.94, St Mark f.96v, Burial service f.109.