BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Besançon, third quarter 15th century]Illuminated by Guillaumme Hugueniot.
205 x 142mm. 120 leaves: 112, 2-58, 64(of 8, lacking iii-vi, including two miniatures), 78 810, 9-138, 1410, 154(of 8, iv-vi cancelled blanks), 17 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 18 horizontals ruled in pink, justification: 113 x 73mm, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials of burnished gold with grounds alternately of pink or blue and infills of the other colour, ELEVEN LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES above four-line initials with staves of blue or pink against grounds of burnished gold with foliate sprays in the infills, and accompanied by FULL-PAGE BORDERS with an inner frame on three sides made up of sprays of fruit and flowers against a ground of liquid gold and an outer border with hairline tendrils with gold leaves, disks and flower terminals between delicate acanthus sprays, with rabbits, birds and amiable grotesques perched about the sprays of fruit and flowers, SMALL MINIATURE with marginal spray (miniature and border on f.35 rubbed and smudged, slight abrasion of lower half of f.60). Original kermes-stained tawed doeskin over wooden boards with remains of 16th-century blue velvet recovering (extremities rubbed and lacking added bosses, cornerpieces, clasps and catches). Blue morocco box by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
1. The manuscript was clearly made in Besançon. The feasts in red in the Calendar are restricted to those universally celebrated with the exception of Sts Ferreolus and Ferrutio (16 June), the principal patrons of Besançon. In the Litany the first eight saints listed as confessors -- Stephen, Agapitus, Ferreolus and Ferrutio, Epiphanius, Isidorus, Germanus, Antidius, and Linus -- were especially venerated in the city, either as a result of their ministry there or because their relics were deposited there. Obsecro te is in the feminine form and the book is likely to have been intended for the lady represented by the figure kneeling at her devotions in the border below the Annunciation (f.21).
2. Pierre de Foissy, seigneur de Chamesson and Guillemette de Dinteville: the birth of their son in 1505 is recorded on the lower pastedown.
3. De la Chaussèe family: partially erased record of the birth of a son François written in a late 16th- or early 17th-century hand on f.120. It seems likely that the preceding cancelled leaves also carried records of this family.
4. Professor Viktor Goldschmidt; purchased from his estate in 1933
5. Kurt Trier, of Frankfurt then Seattle: his purchase from the Goldschmidt estate, the subsequent seizure of the manuscript by the Nazis, its deposit in the Frankfurter Stadtbibliothek (their stamp now erased from the margin of f.1), and restoration to Kurt Trier are recorded in the sale catalogue entry inserted inside the upper cover.
Calendar ff.1-12; Mass of the Virgin ff.13-20v; Office of the Virgin, use of Rome ff.21-59v: matins f.21, lauds f.35, prime f.44, sext f.47 (lacking terce and the opening of sext), none f.49, vespers f.52, compline f.57; Hours of the Cross ff.60-62v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.63v-66v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.67-82v; Office of the Dead ff.83-112; Fifteen Joys of the Virgin ff.112-115; Obsecro te followed by the first three lines of O Intemerata ff.115v-118
This delightful Book of Hours is the work of the illuminator Guillaume Hugueniot who was paid in 1472 for illumination in the last three volumes of the Postilla of Nicholas of Lyra made for Guy Bernard, Bishop of Langres (Paris, BnF, lat. 11976-11978). His work has, until now, been recognised in only two other manuscripts, the Hours of Pierre de Bosredont (New York, Pierpont Morgan Lib. Glazier 55) and a Boccaccio with the arms of René II of Lorraine (Rouen, Ms 3045), and two leaves from a Book of Hours in the Musée Cluny: F. Avril & N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France 1440-1520 (Paris, 1993), pp.181-184.
His is a highly decorative style; there is often an attention to involved detail, whether landscape or furnishings, surfaces are patterned and the whole is portrayed in crisp definition in clear, bright colours and highly burnished gold. The inclusion, almost profusion, of appealing creatures in the borders is almost a signature of his work. The present manuscript is an important and charming addition to his oeuvre.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.13 Virgin and Child enthroned and accompanied by music-making angels, with rabbits, a bear and two grotesques in the border
f.19v Christ carrying the Cross (small miniature)
f.21 Annunciation, with a kneeling woman at prayer, accompanied by her dog, below the text, and a naked child on a hobby horse, a peacock and another bird and a rabbit in the other borders
f.35 Visitation (rubbed and smudged), with rabbits and a parrot in the border
f.44 Nativity with the Virgin and Joseph adoring the Christ Child, a bird and a rabbit in the border
f.49 Presentation in the Temple, with birds and rabbits in the border
f.52 Flight into Egypt, with birds and animals in the border
including a monkey holding a swaddled baby directly below the Virgin
f.57 Coronation of the Virgin, with animals and birds in the border
f.60 Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John the Evangelist, a rabbit and a bird in the border
f.63 Pentecost, with birds and animals in the border
f.67 David in Penitence, with birds and animals in the border
f.83 Funeral service in a chapel, rabbit and bird in the border