PRAYERBOOK OF HENRICUS YSENDIJC, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM, [Brussels, c.1460 and Lille, c.1475]
129 X 85 mm. iii paper + 234 leaves + iii paper. FIVE SMALL AND THIRTY-FOUR LARGE SEMI-GRISAILLE MINIATURES, TEN LARGE COLOURED MINIATURES, ALL BUT EIGHT OF THE LARGE MINIATURES WITH COLOURED FULL BORDERS (lacking at least seven leaves, some with miniatures, slight wear to some miniatures and borders, text or initials worn on a few leaves, staining to ff.146-148, trimmed into some borders). Old red velvet (rebacked). Brown morocco slipcase.
1) HENRICUS YSENDIJC: his name appears twice in the prayer, f.186v, which mentions monastic as well as secular services. The prayers and the first illuminator suggest contacts with Augustinian houses near Brussels of the Windesheim Congregation at the centre of the Devotio moderna. Mistakes in Latin and the idiosyncratic placing of miniatures could indicate an amateur scribe, perhaps Ysendijc himself. 2) CLAUDE DE MENOSTEY, RECEIVER OF THE ARTILLERY FOR CHARLES THE BOLD, DUKE OF BURGUNDY 1470-1477: records of the births in Aalst of his children in 1478 and 1481 n.s., f.14, with godparents from families like the van Immerseel and de Lannoy. 3) H. DU PRÉ: to cut edge of f.1 and perhaps curtailed. 4) ALLAN HEYWOOD BRIGHT: armorial bookplate inside upper cover.
Calendar ff.1-12; ruled blanks ff.13-16; prayers and hymns, with some groupings around themes like the sufferings of Christ, the Mass, invocations for protection, the Virgin, suffrages to saints, ff.17-234; the general confession attributed to Arnold of Rotterdam (van Geilhoven, d.1442), canon regular at Groenendael near Brussels is ff.176v-179.
This is a fascinating and very individual compilation of devotions, some unusual or in significantly variant forms, often with lengthy rubrics to elucidate their contemporary significance.
The coloured miniatures of the Apostles, probably lacking St Philip, show the stylistic traits of the Master of Johannes Gielemans, named from a collection of Brabantine saints’ lives written between 1470 and 1486 by Gielemans, an Augustinian at the Rode Klooster outside Brussels (Vienna, ÖNB cod. s.n 12706-12707). Previously known as the Master of Fernando de Lucena from a manuscript produced for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, the Master was centred on Brussels (see Bousmanne and Delcourt, Miniatures flamandes 1404-1482, 2011, pp.202-3). The borders around the coloured miniatures and on text pages throughout the book are probably by the same hand as the more elaborate borders in a collection of treatises illuminated by the Master between 1450 and 1461 (New York Public Library, Spencer 17, see J.J.G. Alexander et al., The Splendor of the Word, 2006, pp.407-412).
Although the semi-grisaille miniatures are integral, they seem to have been painted in a later campaign. Most have borders in keeping with those associated with the Gielemans Master but on f.42 the miniature has a gold frame decorated with fleur de lys, the hallmark of the Master of the Grisailles Fleurdelisées, active in Lille c.1460-1480 for bibliophiles like Louis of Gruuthuse. His oeuvre has not been assembled around one specific manuscript and presents some stylistic diversity (Bousmanne and Delcourt pp.372-377; I. Hans Collas and P. Schandel, Manuscrits enluminés des anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux, 1, Manuscrits de Louis de Bruges, 2009, pp.164-173). At least two hands can be discerned in this prayerbook: the very accomplished hand of f.42 and the more robust hand of f.86. A devotional book is an important addition to the largely secular works attributed to the Master and its range of miniatures may help to distinguish him from his associates.
If the commissioner was Claude de Menostey, the Receiver of the Artillery might well have turned to Lille, the centre of the Burgundian financial administration. Possibly shown at work on f.42, de Menostey certainly owned a book that brought together work by two talented illuminators whose significance is only now emerging.
The subjects of the large coloured miniatures are: St Peter f.139, St Paul f.141, St Andrew f.142, St John the Evangelist f.142v, St James f.145, St Matthew f.147, St Thomas f.148, St James the Less f.149v, St Bartholomew f.150, St Simon Zelotes f.151
The subjects of the large semi-grisaille miniatures are:
A cross on an altar f.30v, the Trinity f.36, scribe at a desk f.42, the empty Cross in a landscape f.49v, Pope Benedict XII at prayer f.64, man praying before an image of the Trinity f.65, Pieta f.86, St John the Baptist f.92v, Elevation of the Host f.104v, St Bernadino f.133v, St Michael f.134v, St Ursula and her companions before the Pope f.136, Christ washing the feet of the Apostles f.138v, St Jerome f.153, Crucifixion f.155v, St Sebastian f.158, St Erasmus f.160, St Adrian f.162v, St Anne holding the Virgin and Child f.164, St Anthony Abbot f.165, St Nicholas f.166, St Catherine f.168, St Barbara f.170, St Apollonia f.173v, St Christopher f.174, a monstrance on an altar f.189, the Presentation in the Temple f.194, the Virgin standing with the Child f.196v, the Virgin seated with a book f.198, the Virgin restraining the Child f.199, the Virgin suckling the Child f.203v, the Virgin seated with the Child standing f.206, Annunciation f.209v, the Virgin under a baldachin f.220v.
The small semi-grisaille miniatures are on ff.53, 54v, 56, 57v, 61v