BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
177 x 125mm. 98 leaves: 1-128, 132, likely lacking gatherings at beginning, catchwords at centre bottom of lower margin mostly cropped, 16 lines written in black ink in a lettre bâtarde between two horizontals and 17 verticals ruled in red, justification: 115 x 80mm, rubrics in red, one-line initials of liquid gold on grounds alternately of red or blue with gold decoration, two- and three-line initials alternately of blue or red against grounds of the other colour and with frondy decoration in liquid gold, TWELVE LARGE MINIATURES ACCOMPANIED BY FULL-PAGE BORDERS mostly with sprays of fruit and flowers and blue and gold acanthus and including birds, the first folio with a border of diagonal bands of blue and red with sprays of foliage in liquid gold (possibly some retouching to first miniature). 17th-century French stamped calf semé with flames around a central medallion with AD MAIOREM GLORIA DEI (rubbed and rebacked, lacking clasps).
A BOOK OF HOURS BY THE MASTER OF JEAN DE FOIX
The non-specific nature of the liturgical evidence means that the style of illumination offers the only indication of the origin of the manuscript and suggests that it was made in the Languedoc. Inside the front cover is the engraved ex libris of G. de Berny - presumably the Gerard de Berny whose library was sold at Pierre Chretien, Paris, 27 November 1958 - and the leather ex libris of Aimé Laurent.
Office of the Virgin, use of Rome ff.1-51: matins f.1, lauds f.10v, prime f.20v, terce f. 24, sext f.27, none f.30, vespers f.33, compline f.37v; Hours of the Cross ff.51v-53v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.54-56v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.57-73; Office of the Dead, use of Rome ff.74-98v.
It is likely that the manuscript originally opened with a Calendar, which may have been followed by Gospel Extracts.
With the exception of the opening Annunciation, the miniatures in this Hours are the work of an artist active in the region of Toulouse, who is primarily known for his illuminations in the splendid Missal written for Jean de Foix, Bishop of Comminges (BnF, Ms Latin 16827). He illuminated two other manuscripts for Jean de Foix (including a Psalter sold in these rooms 29 November 1999, lot 13) and has been described as an artist of 'grand talent' whose work and influence has been recognised in various manuscripts made in Toulouse at the end of the 15th century. He was still active there in 1501-1502 when he contributed to the illumination of the Annales des capitouls (Toulouse, Arch. munic., chronique 179): F. Avril & N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France 1440-1520 (Paris, 1993), pp.399-401. His is a handsome style painted in subdued colours with intricate and delicate highlighting in liquid gold.
The subjects of the full-page miniatures are as follows:
Annunciation f.1; Visitation f.10v; Nativity with the Virgin and Joseph adoring the Christchild f.20v; Annunciation to the Shepherds f.24; Adoration of the Magi f.27; Presentation in the Temple f.30; Flight into Egypt f.33; Virgin kneeling before God the Father f.37v; Crucifixion with the Virgin and John the Evangelist f.51v; Pentecost f.54; David in a landscape kneeling and praying to a fiery angel f.57; Job on his dungheap f.74.