BOOK OF HOURS, use of Thérouanne, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM.
[?Thérouanne, c.1460-80]176 x 140mm. 107 leaves: 16, 2-78, 84, 9-138, 143(of 4, iv cancelled), 156(of 8, vi & viii cancelled), modern foliation, prickings visible in outer margins of the majority of leaves, 17 lines written in black ink in a round gothic bookhand between two verticals and 18 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 116 x 78mm, versal initials touched yellow, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials of burnished gold on grounds of blue or dark pink with contrasting infill and white pen decoration, every two-line initial with accompanying panel border of blue, gold, pink and red acanthus, and sprays of naturalistic flowers or fruit interspersed with hairline tendrils with gold ivy-leaf terminals and disks, 12 LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES WITH FULL-PAGE BORDERS, each with large initials of blue and dark pink with flowerhead infills on burnished gold grounds, gold and pink bar-borders, the borders similar to panel-borders, some inhabited with fantastic creatures or birds (areas of 19th-century overpainting evident in five or more miniatures, marginal dampstaining of flyleaves touching first and last folio, some fading of ink, miniatures slightly cropped at upper margin). 19th-century black morocco gilt over wooden boards, upper and lower covers stamped with Virgin and Child in mandorla, metal clasps (tear at foot of spine, small loss at head, some worming to pastedowns).
1. The style of illumination is consistent with the work of illuminators active in or around Thérouanne or Saint-Omer in the region of Artois. The saints included in the Calendar and Litany are those celebrated in the areas close to Thérouanne. The prayer Obsecro te is in the masculine.
2. An inscription on the first leaf in an 18th-century hand shows that the manuscript was once held at the monastery in Isny, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
3. William Beckford of Fonthill (1760-1844) -- Alexander Douglas, 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852) -- Royal Library, Berlin, sold Sotheby's, 23 May 1889 (lot 81) and subsequently, 25 July 1938 (lot 141).
4. Ben and Myrtle Kirby (bookplate pasted inside upper cover).
Calendar, in French ff.1-6v; Hours of the Cross ff.7-10v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.11-14v; Hours of the Virgin, use of Théouranne, ff.15-58v: matins f.15, lauds f.24v, prime f.33v, terce f.38, sext f.41v, none f.45, vespers f.48v, compline f.54v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.59-74v; Office of the Dead, use of Thérouanne, f.75-99v, followed by prayers to be said for men f.99v, for women f.99v, for fathers f.100, for mothers f.100, for all Souls, f.100; extract from Gospel of St John ff.100v-101v; Obsecro te ff.102-105; suffrages to St John the Baptist f.105, to St Nicholas, f.105v, St Anthony f.106, St Sebastian f.106v, to St Quentin f.107, St Barbara f.107v.
This handsome and extensively illustrated Hours contains the work of an illuminator with a distinctive hand, seen in his fluid style, use of fine cross-hatching to suggest form and shadow, and of gold highlighting to delineate folds in drapery. Figures are skilfully drawn with detailed features and placed in elaborate settings. Compositional and stylistic features, and the pale palette in both miniatures and borders, are very similar to those in a Book of Hours Leuchtendes Mittelalter III, Katalog Antiquariat Heribert Tenschert XXVII, no. 27. The miniatures have been associated with the style of the 'prince d'enluminure', Simon Marmion, active in Valenciennes from 1458, and whose workshop carried out commissions for the Abbey of St Bertin at Saint-Omer and for the Bishop of Thérouanne. In spite of areas of later overpainting in some of the miniatures (most noticeable in the faces in the Crucifixion, Pentecost, Nativity, in the angel in the Annunciation to the Shepherds, and the background in the Presentation in the Temple), this is an attractive manuscript with particularly appealing and imaginative borders incorporating birds, fantastic creatures and varied flowers and fruit.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.38 Annunciation to the Shepherds
f.41 Adoration of the Magi
f.45 Presentation in the Temple
f.48 Flight into Egypt
f.54 Massacre of the Innocents
f.59 David praying
f.75 Raising of Lazarus