BOOK OF HOURS, use of Utrecht, in Dutch, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
130 x 90mm. 234 leaves: modern pencilled foliation (with errors) followed here, 15 lines written in brown ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 16 horizontals ruled in pale red, justification: 75 x 50mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, one-line initials alternately of burnished gold with brown pen-work or blue with red pen-work, line-fillers in pink and blue with burnished gold dots, two-line initials of burnished gold on blue and pink grounds with white tracery and bar borders of burnished gold, pink and blue, four-line initials similar but with three-sided borders and sprays of leaves or flowers formed of burnished gold dots on brown ink stems, six large initials (5-9 lines) of blue or pink with white tracery on shaped burnished gold grounds, infill of ivy leaves or tessellation in the opposite colour, with full borders of scrolling ivy in burnished gold, pink and blue (lacking all miniatures and one large initial, minor rubbing to borders, a few stains, small hole in f.101 touching three or four words on each page). 19th-century French black morocco, edges gilt (extremities rubbed, sewing split at front hinge and bookblock separating into two).
1. The use is of the diocese of Utrecht to which the northern Netherlands belonged. The mistake in writing Sarijs for Marijs in the Calendar (Jan 19) makes it likely that it was produced in Zwolle, where a series of Hours was written from a faulty exemplar, perhaps in the scriptorium run by the Brethren of the Common Life.
2. Musée Napoleon: inkstamp on back flyleaf
3. William Morris (1834-1896): autograph inscription 'William Morris Kelmscott House July 4th 1895' and bookplate on endleaf, pencilled note in Sydney Cockerell's hand, 'Bought at Sotheby's, July 4, 1895'
Calendar, with a saint for every day, including Utrecht feasts in red: Pontianus (January 14), Servatius (May 13), Boniface (June 5), Odulf (June 12), Lebuin (June 25), Lambert (September 17), Willibrord (November 7), Lebuin (November 12) ff.1-13; Office of the Virgin use of Utrecht, matins ff.14-26, lauds ff.26-38, prime ff.38-43, terce ff.43-47, sext ff.47-51, none ff.51v-55v, vespers ff.55v-64, compline ff.64-70v; Hours of the Cross ff.71-88; Hours of the Eternal Wisdom ff.89-120v; Mass for the Dead ff.121-126v; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.128-151; Penitential Psalms and Litany, including Saints Lebuin and Odulf ff.152-179; Office of the Dead, lacking beginning ff.180-234v
A DECORATIVE MANUSCRIPT OWNED BY WILLIAM MORRIS
The opulent borders and initials are in the Court Style, named from manuscripts produced for the court of the Counts of Holland at The Hague in the early 15th century, probably in centres like Utrecht and Delft as well as at The Hague itself (The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Illumination, Utrecht, Rijksmusem Het Catharijneconvent, 1989, pp.25-44). Around the large initials, thick pink and blue stems link large rounded foliate motifs in gold and colours, while the smaller initials have regularly spaced foliate and flower motifs with burnished gold linked by hairline tendrils. The opening of the Office of the Virgin is marked by placing the stems within a bar border of burnished gold; the lesser importance of the other texts is signalled by vertical bars in gold and paint from which the stems spring to curve round the margins. A similar hierarchy, employing similar motifs, is followed in the Hours of Margaret of Cleves, Countess of Holland of c.1400 (Golden Age, no.1) but the stiffer forms in this Hours suggest a later date and a more provincial centre. This is an early and richly illuminated Hours from the Zwolle group.