BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rouen, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [Rouen, c.1470].
114 x 80mm. ii + 178 + ii leaves, bound too tightly to collate, but APPARENTLY COMPLETE, modern pagination (126 marked twice), written space: 68 x 47mm, catchwords, THIRTEEN LARGE MINIATURES with full borders and ELEVEN HISTORIATED INITIALS (occasional staining or wear to the margins). Later 19th-century brown morocco by R. D. Canape.
(1) The inclusion of Marian antiphons and prayers reflects a personalisation for the original owner – perhaps a woman, though the Obsecro te is in the masculine. The Rouen usage, along with the presence of Sts Mellonius and Romanus, both bishops of Rouen, make a commission from that city likely. (2) A prayer to St Claude in Latin has been added to the final leaf, f.178v, in a 16th-century French hand. (3) Erased ownership inscription in French, 1606, f.178v. (2) LUCIEN GOUGY, antiquarian bookseller; his sale, pt. IV, 22 October 1935, lot 1015.
Calendar, in French, ff.1-12v; Gospel extracts ff.20-23v; Obsecro te ff.24-28; O Intemerata f.28v; Marian hymns, including the Alma Redemptoris, variations of the Salve Regina and ‘Inviolata’ and the Regina coeli, ff.29-30v; further prayers ff.31-33; Hours of the Virgin, use of Rouen, with the Commemoration of the Saints ff.35-92; Penitential Psalms ff.93-106v; Litany ff.107-114v; Hours of the Cross ff.115-124; Hours of the Holy Spirit (Sext and None out of order) ff. 125-130v; Office of the Dead, use of Rouen, ff.131-178v.
The moon-faced figures with abbreviated necks and the decorative tapestried walls – both borrowings from the work of the Master of the Rouen Echevinage (fl.1455-85) – with the horizontally striated trees, luminous green hillsides and strong blue tones are close to typical Rouen workshop productions from the second half of the 15th century. However, the present illuminator is distinguished by the depth of detail he conveys in these small-scale hours. Notable also is the skill with which he balances a strong palette to create vibrant, jewel-like miniatures. Delightful marginal details include a pair of naked knights hobby-horsing around, and further imaginative drolleries abound.
The subjects of the large miniatures are as follows: Annunciation f.35v; Visitation f.45v; Holy Trinity f.56; Nativity f.62; Annunciation to the Shepherds f.68; Adoration of the Magi f. 72; Presentation at the Temple f.76; Flight into Egypt f.80; Coronation of the Virgin f.87; David in Prayer f.93; Crucifixion f.115; Pentecost f.125; Funeral Mass f.131.