BOOK OF HOURS, use of Utrecht, in Dutch, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Eastern Netherlands, possibly Arnhem, c. 1470]
145 x 102mm., 198 leaves, collation: 1-26, 3-118, 128+1, 138, 143, 154, 166, 178+1, 184+1, 1912, 204, 2114, 228+2, 23-258, 266 [lacking short gatherings before 12 and 14, and some folios before f.155 and at end], 18 lines ruled in black, justification 85 x 53mm., written in brown ink in a hybrida, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials in alternating red and blue, 25 three- or four-line initials of burnished gold on a blue ground, infilled pink with sprays of green and gold leaves on hairy tendrils into the margin, EIGHT LARGE INITIALS ON CUSPED GROUNDS OF BURNISHED GOLD infilled with fruit or flowers, a golden bar around the text and a border with hairline stems with flowers, golden leaves and disks, and peacocks, 6 of these facing a page with a blue or pink frame and a foliate border, one facing MINIATURE OF THE LAMB OF GOD in a burnished gold corona with an inscription, minor rubbing of the gold in some initials and borders, late 19th-century vellum (rebacked).
The Office of the Virgin is use of Utrecht and the Calendar includes in red many northern Dutch saints: Servatius (13 May), Odulf (12 June), Lebuin (25 June and 12 November), Lambert (17 September) and Willibrort (7 November).
Calendar (ff.1-12); Office of the Virgin (ff.13-60v), Lauds (f.23v), Prime f.33), Terce (f.37), Sext (f.40v), None (f.44), Vespers (f.47v), Compline (f.54); Office of Eternal Wisdom (ff.61-84v); Hours of the Holy Spirit (ff.86-101v, lacking Compline); Short Hours of the Holy Cross (ff.103-123v, lacking Compline); Seven Penitential Psalms (ff.125-134); Litany (134-144v); Prayers (ff.146-154v); Vigil for the Dead (ff.155-159v, end only); Long Office of the Cross (ff.161-198v, lacking end). From folio 121 to the end the pencil foliation is behind one.
Illuminated by one of the Masters of Margriet Uutenham, a group of artists thought to have produced only decorative illumination. They sometimes painted non-figurative miniatures, such as the wounds of Christ, but otherwise engravings were pasted in, coloured and provided with frames and border, as was the case with the present manuscript and the Hours of Margriet Uutenheim after which these illuminators were named. In a few examples miniatures made elsewhere were inserted, the most splendid being those of 1475 by the panel-painter the Master of Bartholomew in the Hours of Sophia van Bylant (Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum).
In the present manuscript the only miniature supplied by the illuminator of the initials and borders is the Lamb of God (f.124v). The inserted miniatures or engravings are unlikely to have been a set as the frames to hold them are of varying sizes. The rich colours and abundant use of cusped gold and hairy rinceaux terminating in gold balls or petals is a customary feature of this style.
The folios with large initials with borders are: 13 and 16; with large initials, borders and facing frames: 86, 90, 103, 146 and 161; the miniature with the Lamb of God: 124v.