BOOK OF HOURS, use of Utrecht, in Dutch, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
192 x 140mm. ii + 113 + ii leaves: 1-26, 39 (i a singleton with miniature), 4-68, 79 (vi a singleton with miniature), 84, 99 (i a singleton with miniature), 109 (v a singleton with miniature), 118, 125 (v a singleton), 13-158 probably lacking an inserted singleton with miniature before f.90, signature marks in lower outer corner of some final versos, a few gatherings with horizontal catchwords in inner lower corner, 20 lines written in brown ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 21 horizontals ruled in purple, justification: 113 x 73mm, prickings visible, rubrics and underlining in red, text capitals touched red, one-line initials alternately of red or blue, two-line initials in gold on divided grounds of red or blue with white tracery, line-endings in the Litany of gold and blue toothed diagonals, three- and four-line initials in blue with white tracery on burnished gold grounds with infills containing flowerheads or a row of books, with accompanying blue and gold baguettes along the left side of the text and borders to the upper and lower margins decorated with painted sprays of foliage, fruit and flowers with ink tendrils and gold discs, FIVE LARGE HISTORIATED INITIALS with staves of blue with white tracery on cusped gold grounds, with accompanying red, blue and burnished gold three-sided bar-borders and full-page borders of scrolling acanthus, flowerheads and fruit, including birds and beasts, and, in one case, a human figure, FOUR FULL-PAGE MINIATURES with similar full-page borders, with single birds in the outer margins and single animals in the lower margins -- a lion, elephant, hare and a camel (lacking one miniature leaf from before f.90, dampstaining affecting edges of folios). Original brown calf over boards, blind-stamped with a diapered panel with flowers, fleurs de lys and an Agnus dei with a banner to each corner (worn at corners and edges; partly rebacked, lacking two clasps).
1. Made for use in Delft, c.1460-70, possibly for the daughter of Dodijn Ianszoon vander Sluys, who added neatly written obits, dating from 1460-1495, in the Calendar for her father (27 August 1495), her mother, 'Lijsbeth dodijns wijf' (January 1 1474), her brothers 'Jan Dodijnszoon' (2 August 1466), 'Symon Dodijnzoon' (July 30 1472) and 'Martijn Dodijnszoon' (April 25 1489), her sister 'Margriet Dodijns dochter' (22 October 1484), her (step?-)sister 'Marigen doen dochter' (September 16 1495), her husband, 'Ian Vesijl' (April 12 1494), her grandmother, 'Machtelt Meester Ian vander Sluys wijf' (August 12 1460), and two grandfathers, 'Ian vander Sluys' (November 26 1461) and 'Ian die Wit van Bolgersteyn' (April 1 1479).
2. Margriete vanden Eijnden: she signed her name in a 16th-century hand on the inside upper cover and added an obit dated 8 March 1569 for Jacob vanden Eijnden, Raet ende advocaet vant gemeen lant van hollant. The 16th-century record on the first endleaf of a payment from a widow (?), resulting from a lawsuit with her husband's children, to the advocaet van hove tot Brussel may relate to Jacob Eijnden's official position.
3. Geoffrey Pring: Sotheby's 3 December 1951, lot 6
Calendar ff.1-12v; Office of the Virgin use of Utrecht ff.14-50v: matins f.14, lauds f.21v, prime f.29v, terce f.33, sext f.35v, none f.39v, vespers f.41, compline f.46v; Short Hours of the Cross ff.52-58, Short Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.60-71v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.73-89v; Office of the Dead (short form) ff.90-112; Communion Prayers and Prayer to a Guardian Angel ff.112-113v
The illumination is by one of the Masters of the Delft Half-Length Figures, named from the frequency of this motif in their illuminated borders. Here, the half-lengths appear only in some of the historiated initials but the borders are enlivened by the alert animals and birds typical of the group. Both miniatures and borders are from the same hand, also responsible for the illumination of a Delft Hours now in The Hague KB Ms 131 G 8, allowing for a stronger and richer palette in this Hours (The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Illumination, Utrecht, Her Catharijne convent, 1989, no.60). The borders are similar in design and identical in their framing and some figures are repeated, as with the two souls in purgatory shown in an initial. The artist enjoyed creating balanced compositions where his crisply modelled figures are given symmetrical architectural settings. His comparatively thin paint and linear modelling encouraged a rapid execution which gives an added vivacity to his appealing work.
The subjects of the full-page miniatures are:
f.72v Last Judgment
The subjects of the historiated intials are:
f.52 Man of Sorrows emerging from a Sarcophagus
f.60 Gnadenstuhl Trinity
f.73 David in Penitence before an altar
f.90 Two Souls in Purgatory