BOOK OF HOURS, use of Troyes, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[northern France, final quarter 15th century]
167 x 118mm. i + 150 + iii leaves: 1-26, 310, 4-178, 182, 198, 206, COMPLETE, modern pencil foliation below text on versos, 19 lines written in brown-black ink in a lettre batârde between two verticals and 20 horizontals faintly ruled in brown, text justification: 99 x 61mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched yellow, one-line initials of liquid gold on grounds alternately of blue or red with liquid gold decoration, line-endings of two types, either knotty branches of liquid gold outlined and shaded with red or bars of red or blue with gold patterning, two-line initials of pink with white foliate decoration against grounds and infills of liquid gold or liquid gold and red with fruit or leaf spray in the infill, three- to four-line initials with staves of pink or red with white or gold foliate decoration against grounds and infills of gold, red or blue with a spray of flowers or fruit or an insect in the infill, PANEL BORDERS THROUGHOUT, with sprays of acanthus and naturalistic flowers and fruit against grounds of liquid gold, and including a grotesque, bird, beast or insect, those of the Calendar containing TWENTY-FOUR marginal miniatures, SIX SMALL MINIATURES accompanied by full-page borders and THIRTEEN ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES accompanied by full-page borders of similar type but with cavorting putti, grotesques, insects or, in one case, shepherds and their sheep (small tear in lower margin f.36, occasional offsetting from borders affecting some Calendar miniatures, minor spotting or darkening of a few margins, slight flaking of pigment from the Virgin's face on f.57). Modern red velvet (small crack at head of upper joint). Red morocco box.
1. The use of the Offices of the Virgin and of the Dead are for the diocese of Troyes and the feast of St Sabinianus of Troyes is in gold in the Calendar and he, Sts Mastidia, Syria and Maura, all especially venerated in Troyes, are included in the Litany. An early owner added notes and prayers and a treatment for fever in French and Latin on the additional, otherwise blank, ruled leaves at end.
3. Henry Cunliffe: his armorial bookplate inside front cover
4. Claude Augustin de Cosson: sold for him Sotheby's 27 March 1950, lot 64
Calendar ff.1-12; Passion of Christ according to John ff.13-22; Gospel Extracts ff.23-27v; Office of the Virgin use of Troyes ff.28-70: matins f.28, lauds f.36v, prime f.45v, terce f.50, sext f.53v, none f.57, vespers f.60v, compline f.66; Hours of the Cross ff.70v-76v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.77-81v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.82-97v; Office of the Dead use of Troyes ff.98-130; prayers to the Virgin opening with Obsecro te and O Intemerata ff.130v-139; Suffrages ff.139v-150v: to Sts Michael f.139v, John the Baptist f.139v, John the Evangelist f.140, Peter f.140v, James f.141, Apostles f.141, Stephen f.141v, Lawrence f.142, Christopher f.142, Sebastian f.143, Martyrs f.144, Nicholas f.144v, Claude f.144v, Anthony f.145v, Sabinianus f.146, Lupus f.146v, Siria f.147, Helena f.147v, Mastidia f.147v, Mary Magdalene f.148v, Katherine f.148v, Margaret f.149, Barbara f.149v, Virgins f.150
This extensively decorated Book of Hours is a good example of the type of manuscript produced to satisfy the demand for devotional books from the prosperous middle classes at the end of the 15th century. It is unlikely that it was a special commission, and the provision of lively grotesques, animals and children in the borders of every page would have made -- and make -- a particularly attractive feature.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows:
f.1 Agony in the Garden
f.23 St John on Patmos
f.24v St Luke (small miniature)
f.25v St Matthew (small miniature)
f.27 St Mark (small miniature)
f.36 Visitation (small miniature)
f.45v Nativity with the Virgin and Joseph in adoration of the Christ Child
f.50 Annunciation to the Shepherds
f.53v Adoration of the Magi
f.57 Presentation in the Temple
f.60v Flight into Egypt
f.66 Coronation of the Virgin, with the Virgin kneeling before God enthroned and wearing a papal tiara who, with the help of an angel places a crown upon her head
f.70 Lamentation over the body of Christ
f.82 David and Bathsheba
f.98 Job on the Dungheap
f.130v Virgin and Child in half-length (small miniature)
f.133v Virgo lactans (small miniature)
The Calendar borders contain scenes of the occupations of the months and signs of the zodiac.