BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[France, probably Paris, c.1460]
195 x 136mm. i + 141 + i leaves: 112, 28, 36, 4-98, 106, 11-128, 137(ii bound out of sequence), 147(of 8, original iv now bound as 13/ii), 15-188, COMPLETE, horizontal catchwords at lower edge of some final versos, 15 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 16 horizontals ruled in pink, justification: 93 x 63mm, rubrics in dark pink, versal initials touched yellow, one-line initials of burnished gold on blue or dark pink grounds with white tracery and infills of the contrasting colour, line-endings of the same colours, some in the form of flowerheads, two-line initials of dark pink or blue with white tracery against grounds of burnished gold with ivy-leaf sprays in infills, tendrils with gold trefoils and foliate terminals, three-line initials of the same type or with infills of fruit or flowers, every page with a two-line initial with a panel border of hairline tendrils with gold trefoil terminals and naturalistic flowers in green, blue, red and dark pink, THIRTEEN LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES with text and miniature surrounded by three-sided baguette with fruit or floral decoration on burnished gold, with full-page borders with sprays of acanthus and hairline tendrils with gold trefoil and foliate terminals, and incorporating birds, especially peacocks and finches, all with hummocky grassland along lower edge (seven of the miniatures retouched, some initials rubbed, one panel border rubbed with loss of gold, some borders with tiny losses of pigment). 16th-century panelled goatskin roll-tooled in blind, with a border of interlace around 4 bands of standing saints (modern endleaves loose, worn, rebacked and lacking 2 clasps and catches, hinges split, endleaf detached).
1. The style of illumination suggests that the manuscript was made in Paris, and the feast of St Geneviève (3 January) is entered in gold in the Calendar. There are no specific indications of early ownership, and the provision of Obsecro te in the feminine form and O Intemerata in the masculine may be an astute piece of business bet-hedging.
2. Etienne de Meaux, seigneur de Châtillon (fl.1692-1732): armorial bookplate 'EX BIBLIOTECA DE MEAUX' inside upper cover, corresponding with Olivier, 277
3. Francis Gibson: ownership inscription on front endleaf, his coat of arms and motto sketched on f.141v and the year of his birth, 1805, noted beside 5 March on f.3
4. ?Joseph Sams: a pencil inscription Joseph Sams Bib. written on an inserted ?19th-century description of the manuscript
A report and valuation of the book, at £150, by I.A. Herbert inside front cover
Calendar ff.1-12v; Gospel extracts ff.13-18; Obsecro te ff.18v-22; O Intemerata ff.22-26; Hours of the Virgin ff.27-80: matins f.27, lauds f.36, prime f.48, terce f.53, sext f.57v, none f.62, vespers f.66v, compline f.74v; Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.81-103v; Hours of the Cross ff.104-106v, end on misplaced f.98; Hours of the Holy Spirit f.107v-109v, beginning on misplaced f.98v; Office of the Dead ff.110-141
The six miniatures that are without retouching are work of high quality and were painted by two illuminators, one of them working in a style closely related to that of the Coëtivy Master and the other -- the painter of the David in Penitence -- the Master of Jean Rolin. From the precise similarity of the border of f.81 with those of the Missal of Jean Rolin (Lyons, Bib. Municipale Ms 517) a date around 1460 seems likely. These two artists represent the two main artistic strands active in Paris in the middle of the century; it is unusual to find such a collaboration between the two.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.13 St John on Patmos (St John repainted as a reading woman)
f.27 Annunciation (Virgin's robe and Gabriel's mantle repainted)
f.48 Nativity (two small areas of repair on Virgin's robe)
f.53 Adoration of the Magi
f.57v Annunciation to the Shepherds
f.62 Presentation in the Temple
f.66v Flight into Egypt
f.74v Coronation of the Virgin (Virgin's hair and robe, the angel's head, God's arm and the sky repainted)
f.81 David in prayer
f.98v Pentecost (figures repainted)
f.104 Crucifixion (figures repainted)
f.110 Burial Service, (pall-covered coffin converted into a kneeling female figure, face of one priest and one mourner repainted)