BREVIARY, use of Rome, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Veneto, second half 15th century]145 x 100mm. i + 558 + i leaves, foliated i-x, 1-548: 1-1610, 178, 188(of 10, ix and x cancelled), 19-3310, 348, 35-3810, 399(of 10, ix cancelled), 40-4610, 478, 48-5610, 577(of 8, viii cancelled blank), apparently COMPLETE, catchwords in lower margins of final versos, 25 or 26 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand in two columns between four verticals and 26 or 27 horizontals ruled in grey or stylus, rubrics in red, one-line initials in red or blue, two- and three-line initials in red flourished with purple or in blue flourished in red, FIFTEEN LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS, TWO HISTORIATED on gold grounds with coloured staves with acanthus terminals extending into the margins (slight wear to margins, small tears to margins of ff.3, 97; added rubrics at end badly faded). Contemporary north Italian goatskin over wooden boards, tooled in blind, metal corner-pieces, central bosses and attachments for four clasps, spine in five compartments with later title gilt (upper cover and spine scuffed).
1. The Roman Calendar is not indicative of any one locality but the style of the initials suggests that the Breviary was written and illuminated in the Veneto; the Psalter is for secular rather than monastic use. The presence of St Bernadino in the Calendar indicates a date after his canonisation in 1450; the feast of Our Lady of the Snows spread beyond Rome during the later 15th century. Soon afterwards the Calendar was adapted to Venetian Use and among many other additions is a prayer for the Translation of St Mark, f.548, the patron of Venice. The additions, annotations, early foliation and indexing show that the volume was carefully maintained as a functional book.
2. Monogram FG(?) on ff.1 and 548v; PR inside lower cover; annotated with initials inside upper cover Bought at Vienna in 1852, when Venice was part of the Austrian Empire.
3. Cutting from catalogue pasted on first leaf: lot 1206 in an American sale.
4. Robert Hoe (1839-1909): armorial book plate inside upper cover, name pencilled on first folio; his sale Anderson Auction Company, New York, May 1, 1911, lot 2118, cutting from catalogue pasted to first leaf.
5. Thomas Jefferson Coolidge Junior (1863-1912) of Manchester, Mass., or his son of the same name (1893-1959): armorial bookplate inside upper cover.
6. Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass.
Roman Calendar, with additions for the use of Venice and erasures ff.i-viv; added index of psalms and hymns ff.vii-ix; ruled blanks ff.ixv-xv; Liturgical Psalter, secundum consuetudinem Romane curie, and Hymns ff.1-107v; rubrics for celebrations according to the day of the week on which Christmas falls ff.108-110v; Temporal, secundum consuetudinem Romane curie, ff.111-340; Sanctoral ff.341-495v; Communal, secundum consuetudinem Romane curie, ff.496-520; feast of the dedication of a church ff.520-522v; Office of the Virgin, secundum consuetudinem Romane curie, ff.522v-527v; Office of the Dead, use of Rome, ff.527v-531; added index f.531; ruled blank f.531v; Offices of our Lady of the Snow, the Transfiguration, St Catherine, Corpus Christi, the Visitation ff.532-538; Te matrem dei laudamus, added ff.538-539; additional rubrics ff.539-544; Psalter of St Jerome, added, ff. 544v-548; added prayers on f.548r and v.
The illuminated initials are painted in rich combinations of purple, blue and green on generous grounds of burnished gold. They mark the divisions of the Psalter, the opening of the Temporal, the offices of the Nativity, Corpus Christi, the Assumption of the Virgin and All Saints and the opening of the Communal (ff.1v, 11v, 21, 30v, 38, 46, 65v, 77v, 111, 131v, 299, 449v, 478 and 496). The initial at the opening of the Psalter shows the penitent David conversing with God; St Paul appears with his sword at the opening of the Temporal. With its wide margins and handsome binding, this Breviary is a fine example of a text essential for all priests.