BOOK OF HOURS, use of Sarum, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Rouen, c. 1445]
165 x 177mm., 138 leaves, including a final blank (due to rebinding impossible to collate, but lacking a number of leaves), 16/18 lines, ruled in red, justification 102 x 70mm., written in brown ink in a gothic textura, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials in gold on red and blue ground with whirl tracery, 5 font-line initials on gold ground with foliate decoration and three-quarter borders of gold ivyleaves on hairline stems, 62 pages with similar outer panel borders, 7 LARGE MINIATURES, in arched compartments within three-quarter baguette frames, and borders of gold ivyleaves and painted flowers, cropped, recent calf binding.
PROVENANCE: The calendar is typically of Rouen, including St. Audoenus in gold (26 August) and in the Litany, St. Austreberta (10 February) also in the Litany.
Early ownership inscriptions of Pauline and Philipine de Zient?, later of Francois de la Motte and Jehan Aubin of Courville.
Calendar (f.1), Obsecro te (f.13), O intemerata (f.16v); Gospel Sequences (f.20), Hours of the Virgin, Matins (f.25), Lauds (f.34), Prime (f.49), Tierce (f.55), Sext (f.59), None and portions of Vespers and Compline lacking without miniatures, f.74 blank, Penitential Psalms (f.75); Office of the Dead (f.89); Quinze joies (f.131); Sept requestes (f.135).
The miniatures, although at one time attractive, have been defaced, as a later owner tried to erase the disfigurement that had been painted on most of the faces, possibly by a child. In the Funeral Service the added spectacles are still visible on the face of one of the mourners but elsewhere the areas of flesh have been removed. In the Adoration of the Christ Child this was successfully achieved, revealing the original underdrawing but other miniatures have smudging around some of the figures' heads and hands.
Illuminated by the Talbot Master. This illuminator worked in Rouen during the second quarter of the fifteenth century while the city was occupied by the English. He illustrated a Book of Hours for John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife Margaret Beauchamp (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum MS 40-1950), and the so-called Shrewsbury Book dated 1445, (London, BL, Royal 15.E.VI) that Talbot presented to Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI. The present manuscript, also designed for use by an English client, can be dated to the same period. His miniatures rely for effect upon simple, strong compositions and bold patterning..
THE SUBJECTS OF THE MINIATURES ARE:
folio 25. Annunciation
folio 34v. Visitation
folio 49. Nativity
folio 55. Annunciation to the Shepherds
folio 59v. Adoration of the Magi
folio 75. David at Prayer
folio 89. A funeral service