BOOK OF HOURS, use of Thérouanne, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
160 x 120mm, i + 197 + i leaves: 16, 27(vii a singleton), 33(i a singleton), 49(i a singleton), 512(uncertain, perhaps i, vii, xi & xii singletons), 6-108, 119(viii a singleton), 129(v a singleton), 139(vi a singleton), 144(i a singleton), 159(i a singleton), 16-178, 189(i a singleton), 19-228, 237, 24-258, all miniatures on singletons, 12 lines in black ink written in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 13 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 62 x 100mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, line-endings of burnished gold on divided grounds of pink and blue with white decoration, one- to three-line initials in burnished gold on blue grounds with pink infills or pink grounds with blue infills, all with white decoration, two-line initials with hairline tendrils with foliate terminals in burnished gold in the margin, the TWO THREE-LINE INITIALS WITH FULL BORDERS of hairline tendrils with burnished gold foliate and painted flower terminals between sprays of flowers and acanthus with vertical bars in burnished gold to left and right, some with bars also below text, FOURTEEN FOLIATE INITIALS WITH FULL BORDERS of similar design, four lines high with staves in blue or pink with white on grounds of burnished gold, TEN FULL-PAGE MINIATURES WITH BORDERS, seven with arched tops, all in frames of burnished gold, the borders of hairline tendrils with burnished gold foliate and painted flower terminals, most between sprays of flowers and acanthus (lacking five miniatures, the remainder affected by rubbing, offsetting or smudging, some thumbing of margins, tears or holes in some margins, original repairs on ff.48, 60). French, probably Parisian, binding of c.1560: gold-tooled calf over pasteboard, decorated to a Turkish design, centre-and-corners of blocked arabesque ornament, the field decorated with gouges, hatched tools, stars and dots; spine with raised bands, the compartments filled with some of the same tools, edges gilt, vellum endleaves (spine broken, repair to corners and joints, some wear to covers).
1. The illumination shows that the manuscript was made in Bruges. The use of the Hours of the Virgin is that of Thérouanne, as is the short Office of the Dead, but the Calendar fails to honour the patrons of Thérouanne, distinguishing instead St Vaast, the patron of Arras, in red (6 Feb and 1 Oct). The French spellings are those of the southern Netherlands or northern France; the inclusion of the Quinze joyes and Cinq plaies is more typical of French than Netherlandish Hours. Prayers are predominately in the feminine.
2. The prayers with miniatures to St Louis and St Bernadino were added in Bruges, while the added devotional diagram with Dutch and Latin text with a note on the verso in Dutch is probably of north Netherlandish manufacture, possibly made for export.
Calendar with an entry for every day, major feasts in red ff.1-12; added devotional diagram f.13; added prayer to St Louis, f.15; Gospel Extracts, with the rubrics for Matthew and Mark confused ff.18-25; Hours of the Cross ff.27-31; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.33-38; Office of the Virgin use of Thérouanne ff.39-107: matins f.39, lauds f.52, prime f.67, terce f.75, sext f.80, none f.86, vespers f.92, compline f.102; Seven Penitential Psalms ff.110-126v; Litany ff.126v-132; short Office of the Dead use of Thérouanne ff.135-170v; Quinze joyes ff.171-177v, Cinq plaies ff.177v-181; added prayer f.181r&v; Obsecro te ff.182-186v; O intemerata ff.187-190; prayers ff.190v-192v; added prayer to St Bernadino ff.194r&v; added prayer to St Sebastian f.195v-196v
The original miniatures are by two very different hands. The three Passion miniatures can be associated with Claes Brouwer, the illuminator who worked on a History Bible in Utrecht in 1431 and then moved to Bruges where he stamped some of his and his assistants' miniatures with a gothic b, see lot 54. The bright colours, the simplified figures in tubular draperies and the schematic landscapes are all typical of his work, as are the burnished gold or patterned sky areas. His convention for eyes, which are indicated by straight dark lines, tends to give all his figures a meditative and sorrowful expression, particularly appropriate to Passion scenes. The second artist, with his gold patterned backgrounds, fits very much into Bruges conventions, as for instance in the menacing figure of Christ at the Last Judgement flanked by two swords instead of one sword of justice balanced by the lily of mercy. Since all the miniatures are on inserted single leaves, as was usual in Bruges for Books of Hours, it was easy to assemble miniatures by more than one hand to complete a book to the required level of illustration. Clearly, the other Hours of the Virgin would have opened with miniatures, although the remaining three are a mixture of the two conventional series, either of the Passion or of the Infancy-Virgin cycles; no comparable mixtures are cited in Vanwijnsberghe's study of the illustration of the Hours of the Virgin in pre-Eyckian Flemish manuscripts (Flanders in a European Perspective: Manuscript Illumination around 1400 in Flanders and abroad, M. Smeyers and B. Cardon eds, 1995, pp.285-296) but see lot 54.
Not long after the original volume was compiled, prayers with miniatures to St Louis of France and St Bernadino were added on extra leaves at the start of the book and on blank pages of the final gathering. Both miniatures are by members of the Gold Scrolls Group, also active in Bruges and named from their hallmark patterned backgrounds, as seen here. The representation of St Bernadino must be one of the earliest in the Netherlands, since he died in 1444 and was canonised in 1450. His cult, which pre-dated his canonisation, could have spread with his Order, the Franciscans, or with members of the large ex-patriate Italian community in Bruges. The artist had no knowledge of Bernadino's actual appearance, with sunken cheeks and scanty hair, but knew his IHS monogram and his symbol of the three mitres for the three bishoprics he had refused. His Franciscan habit may have encouraged the artist to consult patterns of the stigmatisation of St Francis, which could also have provided the Leo-like brother in attendance on Bernadino. The chubby-cheeked Bernadino re-appeared in a miniature by Willem Vrelant of the later 1450s in Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, Ms W240 (L. Randall, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery, III, Belgium 1250-1530, 1997, cat.248).
The devotional diagram could have been obtained in Bruges, although it is probably of north Netherlandish manufacture. The drawing of St Sebastian could have been the work of the scribe of the added poem, not perhaps a professional.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.14v St Louis of France (added)
f.17v St John the Evangelist
f.26v Christ on the Cross between the Virgin and St John
f.85v Presentation in the Temple
f.91v Descent from the Cross
f.109v Last Judgement
f.134v Coffin draped with fleur de lys before an altar with mourners and clerics
f.193v St Bernadino (added)
f.13 Devotional diagram: between ihesus and maria in blue display script on red penwork, a clock face with trefoils with burnished gold centres on a green ground in the corners; around the face, the words Je wacht die ore Je en weet waneer sal comen die heer (Watch the time You know from that when the Lord will come) where the pointing, human hand emerges from a burnished gold heart; around the whole, the words Vigilate omnes et orate nescitis enim quod tempus sit vigilate ergo/nescitis enim quod dominus dominorum veniet sero/an media nocte an gallicantu an mane ne dum venerit repente/inveniat vos dormientes; bordered by hairline tendrils with painted disks in blue, red, green, pink and yellow (added).
f.195v St Sebastian, small ink drawing touched with red (added).
Large illuminated initials with full borders: ff.15, 27, 33, 39, 52, 67, 75, 80, 86, 92, 102, 110, 135, 171, 177v, 182