BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
159 x 112mm. iii(of iv, i partially cancelled, ii as pastedown) + 140 leaves (including loosely inserted miniature) + i (pastedown), modern foliation, followed here: 16(v & vi singletons), 26, 37(of 8, lacking i), 47(of 8, lacking ii, loose miniature inserted after i), 58, 67(of 8, lacking vi), 7-108, 112, 127(of 8, lacking i), 138, 147(of 8, lacking vi), 15-198, 203(of 4, i a cancelled blank, iv as pastedown), 4 lacking leaves probably with miniature, 17 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 18 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: 92 x 60mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched yellow, one- and two-line intials of burnished gold with grounds and infills of crimson and blue with white decoration, similar line-endings, four-line initials, similar or of blue staves with floral infills on a gold ground, with accompanying three-sided borders of blue and gold acanthus and naturalistic flowerhead sprays, THREE LARGE MINIATURES WITH SIMILAR FULL-PAGE BORDERS with divided grounds, one loose FULL-PAGE MINIATURE within architectural frame, SIX SMALL MINIATURES with similar three-sided borders (penultimate gathering partially detached, some smudging to initials, some borders lightly rubbed, signs of wear through use to most miniatures, with areas of pigment loss or rubbing, marginal stains to a few leaves, loose miniature with fold marks, rubbed.) Contemporary panelled calf over wooden boards, tooled in blind with vertical rolls of scrolling foliage, the upper board set with 2 metal pins (lacking clasps and catches, some wear with loss).
1. Both offices of the Virgin and of the Dead are for the use of Rome. The style of illumination and presence of Geneviève, the patroness of Paris, twice in the calendar, including her special feast on November 26, show the origin of the book in Paris. Geneviève also heads the female saints in the Litany.
2. This Hours clearly played an essential role in the devotional life of its early owners. Several of them have added prayers and inscriptions; the feast of Saint Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, has been added to the calendar (29 July), and the prayer written in French on the final gathering bears traces from a pilgrim's badge.
Calendar, in French ff.2-13v; Gospel extracts (lacking opening) ff.14-18; Obsecro te ff.18-21; Hours of the Virgin: [matins, f.22, replacement leaf, opening, to first psalm], lauds f.31, prime, lacking opening f.42, terce f.45, sext f.48, none f.50v, vespers f.53v, compline f.59v, nocturns, prayers for advent etc ff. 63-76v; additional prayers in a different hand f.77; Hours of the Cross, lacking opening ff.78-79v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.80-82v; Penitential Psalms and Litany, lacking end ff.83-97v; Office of the Dead, lacking opening ff.98-136; Suffrages ff.136v-139v: to the Trinity f.136v, St Michael f.137, St John the Baptist f.137v, St Sebastian f.138, St Nicholas f.138v, St Catherine f.139; additional prayers in a different hand ff.140-141v.
The style of illumination indicates that this Hours was produced in Paris, showing the influence of the Master of Jacques de Besançon (whose dated works range from 1485 to 1498). The added miniature of the Annunciation has been supplied from a slightly later Hours, and resembles the work of illuminators active in Bourges. The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f. 22 Annunciation
f. 53v Massacre of the Innocents, a woman holding out her dead child before Herod
f.83 Bathsheba bathing
f.137 St Michael Archangel
f.137v St John the Baptist
f.138 Martyrdom of St Sebastian
f.138v St Nicholas Resuscitating the Three Boys
f.139 St Catherine