BOOK OF HOURS, in Latin, Calendar in French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Burgundy, c. 1490]
163 x 114mm., II + 115 leaves (of ?118, lacking 3 folios between 83 and 84 including one miniature), 21 lines, ruled in pink, justification 98 x 56mm., written in brown ink in a bâtarda, rubrics in red, one-, two- and three-line initials in gold or contrasting monochrome on dark pink or blue infilled with foliage sprays in gold, similar line-fillers and some five-line initials, others with monochrome staves and foliage infill on a gold ground, outer panel-borders of acanthus, fruit and flower sprays on most pages have grounds of reserved parchment, some with bands or ovals of gold, red, blue or grey, 1 full border similar, (first Calendar border cropped), SIXTEEN SMALL MINIATURES WITH THREE-SIDED BORDERS of similar type, FIFTEEN LARGE MINIATURES, ELEVEN WITH ARCHITECTURAL FRAMES AND BAS-DE-PAGES SCENES, imprint from pilgrim badges on folio 1, modern brown morocco.
1). The use of the Office of the Virgin is that said by Madan to be possibly Netherlands, the Calendar (Desiderius, 23 May; Claudius, 6 June; Medard, 8 June; Philibert, 20 August; Benigne, 24 November), however, and the presence of St. Benigne in the Suffrages, where he is the only saint represented in a large miniature with a full border, indicate that the manuscript was made in Burgundy, probably for use in Dijon, the city of which St. Benigne was patron. The style of illumination confirms this origin.
2). Jeanne Joly. He ex-libris on f.1 and her signature on f.117v are written in a cursive script of c. 1600.
Calendar (ff.2-8); Gospel Extracts (ff.9v-14); Obsecro te (ff.15-17v); Prayer on the Passion, Domine ihesu xpe adoro te in cruce pendentem (ff.18-19); Suffrages (ff.20-26v), Christopher (f.20), Michael (f.20v), John the Baptist (f.21), John the Evangelist (f.21v), Peter and Paul (f.22), Benigne (f.23), Catherine (f.24), Mary Magdalene (f.24v), Margaret (f.25), Barbara (f.26); Office of the Virgin (ff.28-66), Lauds (f.35v), Prime (f.44), Terce (f.47v), Sext (f.51), None (f.54v), Vespers (f.58), Compline (f.62v); Hours of the Cross (f.67); Hours of the Holy Ghost (f.70); Seven Penitential Psalms (ff.73-81); Litany, lacking end, probably 2 folios (ff.81-83v); Office of the Dead, lacking opening folio (ff.84-114v); Prayers to Sebastian, Antony, Denis, Roch and Anne in a 15th-century land on folios originally left blank (ff.115-117v). Blank folios: 27r & v, 66v and 72v.
Illuminated by the Master of the Burgundian Prelates (possibly Hennequin Cougny) and his workshop. Manuscripts in this style were first grouped together by Nicole Reynaud and, besides Books of Hours, included liturgical manuscripts made for eminent ecclesiastics at Autun, Langres and Dijon at the end of the fifteenth century. John Plummer (Last Flowering, p.75) added the present manuscript to the group, when it was in the possession of Lathrop C. Harper of New York.
The miniatures of this manuscript are typical of this distinctive and effective style of illumination. Except for the pale flesh of the principal figures the colours used are somewhat sober. Settings and drapery are ususally modelled with near-vertical hatching and highlighted and outlined with liquid gold. The most individualistic aspect of the style is the integration of camïeu d'or elements into otherwise conventionally represented scenes when groups of figures are drawn in gold on areas of dark brown, for example the soldiers in the Crucifixion (f.67) and the disappointed suitors in the Marriage of the Virgin (f.35v).
THE SUBJECTS OF THE LARGE MINIATURES ARE:
folio 1. Coronation of the Virgin. Christ seated beneath a canopy blesses the kneeling Virgin, an angel holding a crown hovers above her, a group of seraphim look on from behind a gothic screen (by a different hand)
folio 9v. St. John on Patmos writing
folio 14v. Descent from the Cross
folio 18. Mass of St. Gregory
folio 23. St. Benigne
folio 28. Annunciation, with the Marriage of the Virgin in the bas-de-page
folio 35v. Visitation, with the Meeting at the Golden Gate in the bas-de-page.
folio 44. Adoration of the Christ Child by Joseph and Mary, with three Shepherds in the bas-de-page
folio 47v. Annunciation to the Shepherds, with a herd of cows in the bas-de-page
folio 51. Adoration of the Magi, with the Journey of the Three Kings in the bas-de-page
folio 54v. Presentation in the Temple, with a family bringing an infant, a child and a sacrificial lamb in the bas-de-page
folio 58. Flight into Egypt, with the Massacre of the Innocents in the bas-de-page
folio 62v. Coronation of the Virgin, with a group of angels in the bas-de-page.
folio 67. Crucifixion, with Christ Carrying the Cross in the bas-de-page
folio 70. Pentecost, with the Dove of the Holy Ghost in the bas-de-page
folio 73. King David in Prayer, with David slaying Goliath in the bas-de-page
THE SMALL MINIATURES ARE:
folio 11. Luke writing
folio 12. Matthew writing
folio 13v. Mark writing
folio 15. Pietà
folio 18. Mass of St Gregory
folio 20v. St. Michael
folio 21. St. John the Baptist
folio 21v. St. John the Evangelist
folio 22. Sts. Peter and Paul
folio 24. St. Catherine
folio 24v. St. Mary Magdalene
folio 25. St. Margaret
folio 26. St. Barbara
folio 89v. St. Jerome
folio 95. Job on his Dunghill, mocked by his wife
folio 99v. Job on his Dunghill, taunted by a demon
N. Reynaud, 'Un peintre de la fin du quinzième siècle, le Maître des prélats bourguignons', Etudes d'art français offertes à Charles Sterling, Paris, 1975, pp. 151-163
Y. Zaluska, Manuscrits enluminés de Dijon, Paris, 1991, no. 268, pl. CXVIII
J. Plummer, The Last Flowering: French Painting in Manuscripts, 1420-1530, New York, 1982, nos. 97 & 98