BREVIARY, use of Basel, in Latin and German, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
218 x 146mm. 306 leaves including pastedowns, remainder with modern foliation 1-304: 18(of 10, ix and x cancelled blanks), 2-1412, 1511(of 12, lacking xii), 16-2512, 2611(of 12, xii cancelled blank), catchwords in lower margins of most final versos, 23 lines written in black ink in several gothic bookhands between two verticals and 24 horizontals ruled in grey, justification: 148 x 85mm, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials in red or green, nine large flourished initials, one large green initial with acanthus border framing three roundels (lacking one leaf after f.174, rubric smudged f.15, slight wear to margins, worm holes etending to f.32). Contemporary pink stained pigskin over unbevelled wooden boards, metal attachments for two clasps, pink stained leather fore-edge tabs (wormed, upper joint split, lower joint split at foot and head, tabs worn).
1. The book was written for, and probably by, members of one of the Dominican houses in Basel, the first foundation of 1233 or the later house at Klingenthal. The calendar includes in red the Basel feasts of the translation of Mary Magdalen (19 March) and the dedication of the cathedral (11 Oct) and many Dominican saints as well as commemorating in black the benefactors of the Order (5 Sept) and its members (10 Oct).
2, Louis George Xavier Hippolit de Glutz, de Blotzheim, de Soleure, 1777: inscribed on f.1.
3. Theodor, Freiherr von Cramer-Klett in Hohen-Aschau (1874-1938): armorial bookplate inside upper cover. Heir to a great industrial fortune, Cramer-Klett was also a major benefactor of the Benedictines in the foundation of Ettal in Bavaria.
List of feasts contained in first section f.1v; Calendar for Dominicans of Basel ff.2-7v; blank f.8; selected feasts from the Sanctoral, starting with Corpus Christi and the Nails and Lance, then running from Sts Barbara to Blaise ff.9-162v; Sts Catherine of Siena, Anne and the Transfiguration (lacking end), written in a second hand ff.162v-174; Offices of the Compassion of the Virgin (lacking opening) and St Dorothy, written in a third hand ff.174-183; St Joseph, the separation of the Apostles, written in a fourth hand ff.183v-197v; ruled blank f.198; prayers for saints not already commemorated, from Ambrose (4 April) to Gregory (12 April), returning to the first hand ff.199-207; Offices of the Virgin and Mary Magdalen ff.207-215; Communal, Lord's Prayer, Creed and Te deum ff.207-239v; liturgucal Psalter with hymns and some offices, benedictions ff.240-299; further psalms in a fifth hand ff.299v-303.
This Breviary was carefully compiled to meet the needs of its users. The celebration of St Joseph is especially noteworthy. The Dominican saints, Thomas Aquinas and Vincent Ferrer had promoted the cult of Joseph as the husband of the Virgin and foster-father of Christ and it was only in 1479 that his feast became universal. Manuscripts for the use of Basel are rare. The Reformation there was marked by iconoclasm of particular thoroughness and only one book for the Use of Basel has appeared at auction since 1975: the Benedictional sold in these rooms 11 July 2000, lot 33.
The three roundels in the acanthus border on f.183v show St Joseph with his flowering wand, beside the High Priest and an unsuccessful suitor; Joseph being told by an angel of the true nature of the Virgin's pregnancy; Joseph standing with the Virgin on either side of the Christ Child.