BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rouen, in Latin, Calendar in French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
92 x 65mm. 172 leaves and a later painted title leaf tipped in on 17th- century flyleaf, apparently COMPLETE, 14 lines, ruled in red, justification 53 x 31mm., written in black ink in a bâtarda, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials of gold on grounds of blue or pink, with contrasting infill and white pen-work decoration, line-fillers similar, the two-line initials with sprays of hairline stems with gold disks into the margin, three-line initials of blue on a ground of burnished gold infilled with foliage spray of red and blue, TWENTY LARGE MINIATURES WITH FULL BORDERS of sprays of flowers and acanthus interspersed with hairline tendrils with gold leaves (oxidisation or slight loss of impasted pigment mainly in flesh tones in some miniatures), late 17th-century red morocco covers panelled in gilt, spine in 5 sections, raised bands gilt, gilt edges, joints slightly rubbed (lacking clasps), modern red morocco slip-case.
1). Made for a man, most likely in Rouen, whose initial, 'A', and emblem, a tassel, are painted throughout in both miniatures and borders. He may also be portrayed as the leading mourner in the Funeral Service (f.126).
2). Gordon A. Block Jnr., bookplate
Calendar (ff.1-12); Gospel Extracts (ff.12-21); Obsecro te (ff.21-26); O Intemerata (ff.27-32); Office of the Virgin (ff.33-90v), Lauds (f.46v), Prime (f.64), Terce (f.71), Sext (f.75), None (f.79), Vespers (f.83), Compline (f.85v); Hours of the Cross (ff.92-96); Hours of the Holy Ghost (ff. 96v-100); Seven Penitential Psalms (ff.100v-116v); Litany (ff.116v-121v); Office of the Dead (ff.126-161v); Suffrages of Saints James (f.162), Antony (f.163v); Catherine (f.165), Barbara (f.166v), Apollonia (f.168), Christopher (f.169v), Sebastian (f.171v).
Blank folios: 63v, 91r & v.
Illuminated by the Master of the Geneva Latini, the most influential illuminator in Rouen in the third quarter of the fifteenth century. A number of closely related manuscripts are illuminated in this style and can be associated with the Master and his workshop. He is sometimes, confusingly, called by other names - Jacob Teneyken, the Master of the Rouen Echevinage and the Master of the Bouquechardière - but is most commonly known after a copy of Bruno Latini's Trésor in Geneva (MS fr. 160).
The lavish Books of Hours attributed to the Master include two that are particularly relevant to the present manuscript: the Hours of Rouen use owned by Antiquariat Heribert Tenschert in 1989 (Leuchtendes Mittelalter, Katalog XXI, no. 74) and the Hours of Rouen use from the Dyson Perrins Collection (Sotheby's, 9 December 1958 lot 30). Both are of the same unusually small format as the present manuscript, and the miniatures of the latter are very closely reflected by those of the Geneva Latini Master in the Tenschert Hours (for example the Flight into Egypt, Curcifixion and Pentecost). Nothing in the decoration of either of the other Hours matches the delightful personalisation of the present manuscript, where the owner's intial and emblem painted in gold are scattered over miniature and margin.
The style of the borders and initials suggest that this manuscript was painted before the other small Hours. Its decoration is comparable to that of the Grand Coustumier de Normandie (Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.457) described by John Plummer as probably made around 1460. The present manuscript is an unusually personalised and early work from the illuminator who played a major role in the development and success of manuscript illumination in Rouen.
THE SUBJECTS OF THE MINIATURES ARE:
folio 13. Quadripartite miniature of the four Evangelists
folio 33. Annunciation
folio46v. Visitation, an angel watching
folio 64. Adoration of the Chirst child by Mary and Joseph
folio 71. Annunciation to the Shepherds
folio 75. Adoration of the Magi
folio 79. Presentation in the Temple
folio 83. Flight into Egypt
folio 85v. Coronation of the Virgin, a harp-playing angel in the foreground
folio 92. Crucifixion
folio 96v. Pentecost
folio 100v. King David in Prayer
folio 126. Funeral Service, with possible portrait of the owner
folio 162. St. James
folio 163v. St. Andrew
folio 165. St. Catherine
folio 166v. St. Barbara
folio 168. St. Apollonia
folio 169v. St. Christopher
folio 171v. St. Sebastian
John Plummer, The Last Flowering: French Painting in Manuscripts, 1420-1530, New York, 1982 nos. 87 & 88.