BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Hainaut, probably Mons, c.1460]
154 x 112mm. 144 leaves: 1-26, 3-68, 76(of 8, lacking ii & vii), 86(of 8, lacking ii & vii), 9-148, 152(of ?8, lacking central leaves), 16-198, 206, possibly lacking inserted leaves with miniatures before folios 13 and 65, 19 lines written in black ink in lettre bâtarde between two verticals and 20 horizontals ruled in red, justification 88 x 63mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched yellow, one-line initials alternately of blue flourished red and burnished gold flourished black, two-line initials with staves of pink or blue against grounds of burnished gold infilled with leaf-sprays of the other colour, line-endings of the same colours, PANEL BORDERS with sprays of acanthus and naturalistic flowers and hair-line tendrils with berries, leaves, flowerheads, golden disks and trefoils on every page with a two-line initial, EIGHTEEN FULL-PAGE BORDERS of the same forms around three-sided fillets of burnished gold and also including birds, beasts, huntsmen or the coat of arms of the original owner, FORTY-SIX SMALL MINIATURES in frames of burnished gold (thumbing to borders of folios 13 and 65, minor spotting and smudging to some borders and 10 miniatures, loss of inner corner of folio 14 and of lower margin of folio 121). French 18th-century mottled calf, spine in seven compartments gilt-tooled with flowers and sprays (defective at foot of spine, upper joint split at head, extremities rubbed). Brown cloth box by N. Reid.
1. The coats of arms in the borders of folios 13, 35v, 65 and 79v are those of Esneval (paly or and azure, a chief gules), de Dreux (checky or and azure, a border gules), de Chappes (azure, a cross fleuretty or) and of de Dreux impaling Esneval. Gauvain de Dreux married Jeanne d'Esneval in 1404 and was succeeded by Robert II de Dreux, Vidame et Baron d'Esneval (1406-1478): the original owner may have been a member of his family. The presence of St Waldetrudis (twice), her husband Count Vincent (in red, 14 July) and her sister Adelgundis in the Calendar, their appearance in the Litany, the rare suffrage to Waldetrudis and the presence of Ghislain (in red, 9 October) in the Calendar point, like the style of illumination, to the origin of the manuscript in Mons, although it may not have been intended for use there.
2. An inscription in the lower margin of the final verso reads 'Ce livre A partien a Nicolace ?Le fraye'. The name from a similar inscription has been excised from folio 121.
Calendar ff.1-12v; Office of the Virgin, use of Rome f.13-61: matins f.13, lauds f.26, lauds of the Office of the Cross f.34v, prime f.35v, prime of the Cross f.38, terce f.39, terce of the Cross f.41v, sext f.42v, sext of the Cross f.45, none, lacking one leaf f.45v, none of the Cross f.47v, vespers, lacking two leaves f.48, vespers of the Cross f.52, compline lacking end and most of compline of the Cross f.52v, variants of the Office of the Virgin f.56; Hours of the Holy Spirit f.61-64; Seven Penitential Psalms ff.65-73v; Litany ff.73v-79; Office of the Dead, use of Rome, lacking end of lauds ff.79v-105v; prayers of St Augustine, prayers to Christ, Verses of St Bernard, prayers at Mass, lacking opening ff.106-117v; prayers to the Virgin opening with O Intemerata ff.118-129; Suffrages ff.129-144: to Saints John the Baptist f.129, Peter and Paul f.129v, Andrew f.130, James f.130v, John the Evangelist f.131, Thomas f.131v, Philip and James f.132, Bartholomew f.132v, Matthew f.133, Simon and Jude f.133v, Luke f.134, Mark f.134v, Michael f.135, Sebastian f.135v, Adrian f.136, Quentin f.136v, Nicholas f.137, George f.137v, Hubert f.138, Eligius f.138v, Anthony Abbot f.139, Francis f.139v, Bernardino f.140, Mary Magdalene f.140v, Catherine f.141, Barbara f.141v, 142v Apollonia f.142v, Waldetrude f.143.
With golden initials and panel borders on every page, intense colour in miniatures and foliage, and pert, angular little figures, this is a highly decorative and appealing style. It can be found in other Books of Hours whose production can be localised to the diocese of Cambrai in the third quarter of the 15th century. It seems particularly to be associated with books made for female patrons with a devotional link with the convent founded by St Waldetrudis at Mons: L. Randall, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery, III (1997), nos 247 (W.193) 277 (W.272).
The iconography or composition of several of the present miniatures almost exactly repeat those of historiated initials of W.193, for example the Raising of Lazarus (Randall, fig. 476), or the small miniatures of W.272 (Randall, fig. 521), for example the exceptionally unusual scene of St Waldetrudis flanked by her daughters. All three books appear to be the work of the same illuminator. In all of these he paints only small miniatures or historiated initials, any full-page miniatures were insertions in unrelated styles and probably from a different centre. Walters 193 is the closest in border style and date to the present manuscript, and has just two inserted miniatures. A Missal for the use of Mons with the arms of Antoine de Bourgogne, le Grand Bâtard, (BL, Harley Ms 2967) may also be by this illuminator. It has recently been discussed as one of a group of works produced for members of the court of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy by followers and associates of the Mons scribe-illuminator Jacquemart Pilavaine: D. Vanwijnesberghe, 'L'identification du portrait "Froiment" de Rogier van der Weyden', Revue de l'Art, 139, 2003, pp.30-33.
The full-page borders contain birds, animals and huntsmen and the recto for each month of the Calendar has a roundel with the zodiac sign. The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.13 Annunciation, f.26 Visitation, f.34v Arrest of Christ, f.35v Nativity with Virgin, Joseph and angels in adoration of the Christ Child, f.38 Christ before Pilate, f.39 Annunciation to the shepherds, f.41v Flagellation, f.42v Adoration of the Magi, f.45 Christ carrying the Cross, f.45v Presentation in the Temple, f.47v Crucifixion, f.48 Flight into Egypt, f.52 Deposition, f.52v Massacre of the Innocents, f.61 Pentecost, f.65 King David praying at an altar, f.79v Raising of Lazarus, f.118 Virgin clothed in the sun and standing on a crescent moon, f.129 St John the Baptist, f.129v St Peter and Paul, f.130 St Andrew, f.130v St James, f.131 St John the Evangelist, f.131v St Thomas, f.132 Sts Philip and James, f.132v St Bartholomew, f.133 St Matthew, f.133v Sts Simon and Jude, f.134 St Luke, f.134v St Mark, f.135 St Michael, f.135v St Sebastian, f.136 St Adrian, f.136v St Quentin, f.137 St Nicholas, f.137v St George, f.138 St Hubert, f.138v St Eligius, f.139 St Anthony Abbot, f.139v St Francis, f.140 St Bernardino, f.140v St Mary Magdalene, f.141 St Catherine, f.141v St Barbara, f.142v St Apollonia, f.143 St Waldetrudis