BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
197 x 135mm. 180 leaves: 1-26, 38, 44, 5-68, 77(of 8, lacking v), 88, 95(of 8, lacking ii, iv, v), 107(of 8, lacking iv), 117(of 8, lacking ii), 127(of 8, lacking vii), 138, 147(of 8, lacking i), 158, 167(of 8, lacking i), 178, 187(of 8, lacking iii), 19-258(28/8 blank cancelled), horizontal catchwords in lower right corner on last versos (mostly cropped), 15 lines written in brown ink in a gothic liturgical bookhand between two verticals and 16 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 103 x 66mm, rubrics in red or blue, long rubrics in alternating lines of red and blue, calendar in red, blue and burnished gold, text capitals touched yellow, one- and two-line initials in burnished gold on pink and blue grounds with white tracery, similar line-fillers, three- or four-line initials in pink or blue with white tracery and ivy-leaf infill on burnished gold grounds, each page with an outer border of burnished gold ivy leaves and red and blue blossoms on black hairline stems, two pages with similar full borders, THREE LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES in colours and liquid gold on pages with full borders of gold ivy leaves on fine black stems interspersed with sprays of flowers and acanthus, SMALL MINIATURE OF FEMALE OWNER on page facing the Annunciation (lacking 10 leaves with miniatures, first and last pages slightly darkened, occasional minor flaking of pigment, a few smudges, hole to margin of last leaf). 16th-century gold-blocked calf over pasteboard reused from an earlier binding (rebacked), front pastedown from a 14th-century vellum manuscript of a scholastic text, back inside cover with offset from a manuscript pastedown now removed and remains of leather from an earlier blind-stamped binding. Brown morocco box by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
1. The Calendar and Litany are for Paris, and the Hours were perhaps made for the noble woman, wearing costume of c.1450, shown kneeling on f.24v facing the miniature of the Annunciation. She may, however have been a slightly later addition as the prayers are in the masculine.
2. Brother Franciscus...: name and other 15th-century pen-trials on front pastedown
3. Jeanne Senot, 1621: inscription on last leaf
4. Louise Brunet, of Beaune: signature 'Brunet' on last leaf; 17th-century inscription on last leaf (Ces presentes heures viennent de la succession de demoiselle Louyse Brunet vefue de fut Mons. Du Gay maitre des comptes e greffier en chef de la chancelerie a Beaulne laquelle deceda lan 1627 en sa maison a Beaulne out sont a present les Jacobines)
5. ?Sotheby's, 16 July 1945, lot 655
Calendar, in French, with a saint for every day and including St Geneviève in gold (3 January) and Ste Courone (11 August) ff.1-12v; Gospel sequences ff.13-18; Obsecro te... ff.18v-22; O intemerata... ff.22-24; Office of the Virgin use of Rome, interspersed with the Hours of the Cross and the Hours of the Holy Spirit, matins, lacking end ff.25-44v, lauds, lacking beginning and end ff.45-56v; Hours of the Cross, matins lacking beginning f.57-v; Hours of the Virgin, prime, lacking beginning ff.58-63v, terce, lacking beginning and end ff.64-68v, sext, lacking beginning ff.69-74v, none ff.75-80v, vespers, lacking beginning ff.81-89v, compline, lacking beginning ff.90-95, addenda ff.95v-104v; Penitential Psalms and Litany including St Geneviève, lacking beginning ff.105-121v; Office of the Dead use of Rome, lacking beginning ff.122-180
After miniatures were removed the lacunae in the text were replaced in the margins by a hand probably of the mid-17th century.
The miniatures are by the Master of Jean Rolin; active in Paris c.1445-1465, where he collaborated with the Dunois Master and became familiar with patterns current from the Dunois Master's predecessor, the Bedford Master. The miniatures here all derive from Bedford Master compositions but the painting has the greater definition, the firmer contours and the reliance on line to model and detail that are typical of the Rolin Master. His figures have a sadly anxious expression from their downward slanting eye sockets and mouth lines. This is countered by the bright colouring, where blue and red predominate.
The miniature borders are characteristic of those in the Master's manuscripts with their delicately painted flowers and flowing acanthus. Their form suggests a date c.1450, close to the Missal of Jean Rolin II (Lyons, Bib. municipale Ms 517) where the border and the Crucifixion could be by the same hand: F. Avril and N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peinture en France 1440-1520 (1993), pp.38-45. On the smaller scale of this Hours, the Rolin Master sets detailed foreground figures and motifs against more abstracted distances with a fine sureness of touch.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.13 John on Patmos
f.24v Portrait of the female owner kneeling at a prie-dieu
f.75 Presentation in the Temple