BOOK OF HOURS, use of Sarum, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
110 x 80 mm. 184 leaves, bound too tightly to allow confident collation, apparently complete textually but with no calendar and likely missing eight inserted miniatures, foliated sporadically in upper right corners, and in lower left corners of rectos, followed here, ruled in very pale brown ink with two verticals and 19 horizontals, justification: 65 x 45 mm, written in brown ink in a formal gothic bookhand with 18 lines per page, rubrics in red, TWENTY-ONE FULL-PAGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES SURROUNDED BY FULL BORDERS OF STYLISED ACANTHUS AND SEMI-NATURALISTIC FLOWERS AND FRUIT, each facing a page with a five-line foliate initial and full border, FIFTEEN SMALLER MINIATURES AND NINE HISTORIATED INITIALS, three- and two-line initials in gold on grounds of red and blue with white ornament with gold ivy-leaf sprays extending into the margin, one-line initials in gold on grounds of red and blue with white ornament, line-filers in gold, blue, red, and white in the Litany (generally thumbed throughout, including many miniatures, with occasional paint-loss, several miniatures bound out of place, a few single leaves becoming loose, fore-edges of ff.115-121 repaired with vellum, decoration occasionally cropped). 19th-century purple blind-tooled calf, gilt title on spine, marbled endpapers (text-block partly detached from binding).
The style of the miniatures and borders shows that the book was made in the Southern Netherlands, probably Ghent; the choice of texts and the English saints in the litany (Oswald, Sexburga, Milburga) show that it was intended for the thriving English export market. The saints invoked in the litany who were especially revered in the southern Netherlands (Quentin, Lambert, Vedast, Bavo, Amand, Walbert, Aldegunde) do not point to any particular place of production. They are perhaps more indicative of Ghent than of Bruges, where production of books of Sarum use seems to have been concentrated. The book reached England since Thomas Becket's name has been effaced from a prayer and the litany, in accordance with Henry VIII's proclamation banning his cult in 1538.
'Edeth B' 16th? century (f.39v).
Rev. William Maskell (1814?-1890), medievalist: signed on f.ii verso.
Sir William Tite (1798-1873): architect, inserted note signed and dated March 1862, his sale 18 May 1874, lot 1493.
Henry Hucks Gibbs (1819-1907), 1st Baron Aldenham: signed by him (f.ii) and with the armorial bookplate of 'Aldenham House, Herts' (see Helen Rudd, Catalogue of the Aldenham Library, 1917, p.207 no 2: 'No. 2' in pencil on bookplate); his sale 22 March, 1937, lot 183.
Charles F. Cutts (1871-1949), 'Bought July 28, 1937, at Dawson's, Los Angeles, Calif.' (f.ii).
Office of the Virgin, use of Sarum ff.2-44: matins f.2, lauds f.10 followed by memoriae to the Holy Spirit, Trinity, Cross, Michael, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, Andrew, Stephen, Lawrence, Thomas Becket (effaced), Nicholas, Mary Magdalene, Catherine, Margaret, All Saints, and for Peace, ff.16v-23, prime f.25, terce f.30, sext f.36, none f.36, vespers f.38, compline f.40; the Fifteen O's ff.46-52v; added prayer, with MIDDLE ENGLISH rubric (as in Huntington Library, HM 1344): 'When thou begynnyst to praye thus begynne knelynge.' Discedite a me maligni ff.52v-53; devotions to the Trinity, Barbara, Catherine, Mary Magdalene, Margaret, Helen, Christopher, Anthony Abbot, Anne, John the Baptist, John the Evangelist, the Holy Sacrament, an elevation prayer attributed to Boniface VI [sic] carrying 1,000 years indulgence, ff.54-77; prayers to the image of Christ, the Cross, Christ's head crowned with thorns, the wounds in his left and right hands, his side, his left and right feet, the image of the Virgin Mary, and John the Evangelist, ff.78-81; Seven Joys of the Virgin beginning Gaude virgo virginali ff. 83-84v; Seven Joys of the Virgin beginning Virgo templum trinititatis carrying an indulgence of 100 days, ff.86-88v; prayer attributed to Bede on the Seven Last Words ff.90-93; a farsed version of the Salve regina ff.95-99v; prayers O intemerata, Obsecro te, both using masculine forms, and Ave mundi spes Maria ff.101-107v; Seven Penitential Psalms ff.109-116; Fifteen Gradual Psalms, the first 12 given by cue only, ff.116-118; Litany ff. 118-126; Office of the Dead, use of Sarum ff.128-150v; Commendation of Souls ff.152-165v; Psalms of the Passion ff.166-171; a long rubric and a prefatory prayer for a male reader 'famulo tuo .N.', ff.171-172v, introducing the Psalter of St Jerome ff.173-184v.
The illumination is in an accomplished version of the style of the Masters of the Beady Eyes (Maîtres aux yeux bridés), named from their technique of delineating eyes with firm dark lines and a beady dot. Although their work relates to that of the earlier Masters of the Gold Scrolls, localised to Bruges, the Masters of the Beady eyes were centred on Ghent from about 1450 to 1470. The miniatures are finer than many in this style, more skilfully drawn and more elaborately painted with more detailed settings, although the Masters's characteristically thin washes are used for some landscapes (see N. Morgan and S. Panayotova, A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and in the Cambridge Colleges, I ii, The Meuse Region, the Southern Netherlands, 2009, nos 181, 183, 185 and 192).
The book's format encourages close looking, which is rewarded by the detail present even in the small miniatures and historiated initials. Such finely crafted volumes obviously appealed for their workmanship and additionally, for a Book of Hours, their easy portability. This richly illuminated book is a fine example of the texts and images that were produced so successfully to satisfy the demands of the English market.
It is likely that eight more miniatures were supplied to mark the opening of devotions. Some of the remaining miniatures were relocated to compensate so that they now accompany inappropriate texts.
The subjects of the full-page miniatures are:
Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane f.1v
Betrayal and Arrest of Christ f.9v
Christ Before Pilate f.24v
Christ Carrying the Cross f.35v
Christ blessing, full-length, an orb at his feet, adored by an angel f.45v
Throne of Mercy Trinity, between two adoring angels f.53v
St Margaret and the Dragon f.56v
St Mary Magdalene f.58v
St Helen and the True Cross f.60v
St Barbara and the tower f.62v
Coronation of the Virgin f.64v
St Christopher f.66v
St Anthony Abbot f.68v
St Anne, the Virgin Mary, and the Christ Child, between two angels f.70v
St John the Baptist f.72v
St John the Evangelist on Patmos f.73v
The Virgin and Child, raised to heaven on a crescent moon f.82v
The Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple f.85v
St Jerome kneeling, with his lion, his cardinal's hat above his head, before an altar on which is a statue of the Virgin and Child f.89v
The Annunciation f.94v
The Virgin and Child Enthroned, surrounded by four adoring angels f.100v
The Last Judgement f.108v
The Raising of Lazarus f.127v
A female Soul being raised by angels from its grave to heaven f.151v
The subjects of the small miniatures are:
The Dove of the Holy Spirit f.16v
Throne of Mercy Trinity f.17
St Michael fighting a devil f.18
Sts Peter and Paul f.18v
St Andrew f.19
St Stephen f.19v
St Lawrence f.20
St Nicholas and the Three Boys f.20v
A group of saints f.22
The Patron kneeling before an altar, with his Guardian Angel f.22v
The subjects of the historiated initials are:
The Three Crosses f.78
A bust of Christ f.78v
The left hand of Christ f.78v
The right hand of Christ f.79
The Five Wounds of Christ f.79v
The left foot of Christ f.79v
The right foot of Christ f.80
The Virgin and Child with an angel f.80
The Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist f.80v