BREVIARY, use of the Camaldolese Order, in Latin ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
136 x 95mm. i + 465 leaves, modern pencilled foliation 1-464, followed here, skipping a leaf after f.109 and numbering two leaves 454, penultimate leaf corrected to 464, final leaf unnumbered: 17(vii a singleton), 2-2010, 213(uncertain, lacking one leaf, probably also cancelled blanks), 22-2910, 307(of 10, i-iii cancelled blanks), 31-4710, 488(of 10, ix-x cancelled blanks), centrally written catchwords on final versos in Temporal and Sanctoral, two columns of 30 lines in black ink written in a gothic bookhand between four verticals and 31 horizontals, ruled in violet, justification: 77 x 25-7-25mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched yellow, flourished and illuminated initials throughout, two-line initials alternately in blue flourished with red or in red flourished in violet, flourishes extending generously into margins, three-line initials with staves of burnished gold on grounds of blue with white decoration and with divided infills of green and pink with white decoration, KL of calendar four lines high with staves of burnished gold on grounds of blue with white decoration with divided infills of pink and green with white decoration, four- to six-line initials in text with staves of pink, blue, green and yellow on grounds of burnished gold with infills of blue with white foliate patterns, both with sprays of acanthus and flowers in green, pink and blue extending into margin with hairline tendrils and gold disks, FOUR LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS four- to seven-lines high with staves of pink, blue, green and yellow on grounds of burnished gold with infills of blue with white foliate patterns, one with a full border and three with three-sided borders of pink, blue and green acanthus motifs among penwork with burnished gold circles, ELEVEN HISTORIATED INITIALS with full-page or partial borders, the first incorporating the arms of a branch of the Colonna family, neat corrections and additions in some margins (ink spotting to page-edges slightly marking outer margins of a few folios, water damage to rubrics and text worn on some folios). Red velvet over wooden boards (water damaged and stained). Brown morocco gilt case.
A DATED BOOK ILLUMINATED BY THE MASTER OF THE HAMILTON XENOPHON
1. Written by Dom Bernadino de Venetiis in 1470. The use is Camaldolese, the Benedictine order reformed by St Romuald, and the Calendar and offices indicate one of their Florentine houses, perhaps S. Salvatore. In the Calendar in red are the Benedictine Sts Scholastica (10 February) and Benedict (21 March), as well as Romuald (19 June) and Salvator (9 November). There are offices with twelve lessons for the Florentine patrons Sts Zenobius, Virianus, Reparata and Miniato; Virianus, Zenobius and Reparata also appear in the Litany where Romuald is written in display script. The illuminator was active in Florence, perhaps employed by someone from the Colonna family: the Colonna crowned column argent appears on f.8 but on gold, not gules as borne by the main branches of the family. The person using the two lions gules to difference has not yet been identified.
2. Added prayers to Sts Apollinaris and Severus, f.464v, both bishops of Ravenna, suggest a subsequent owner with connections to Ravenna; added inscription erased from f.464.
Calendar ff.1-6; Breviarium secundum ordinem Camaldolensem, Temporal, the final words for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost have been written at the foot of f.199v by a slightly later hand ff.8-199; Liturgical Psalter secundum ordinem Camaldolensem ff.200-251v, with Canticles f.251v-259, and Litany ff.259-261; Hymns ff.261-279; Sanctoral, from St Andrew to St Saturnin, followed by the dedication of a church ff.281-436; Communal ff.437-459; Office of the Virgin ff.459v-460; Tabula officii ff.460-464; added prayers to Sts Apollinaris and Severus f.464v
The text is essentially complete: the final leaf of the Temporal, with only a few written lines, was removed, probably when blanks were cancelled, and the missing text added to preceding verso.
On f.436v, Ego dompnus bernadinus de veneciis complevi istud breviarium manibus meis sub anno domini M.cccc.lxx. and the wish Mando ego lect[ori] Christo roget ore fid[eli].../Ut det script[ori] post mortem gaudia c[eli] arranged so that the letters in [ ] appear only once. The Camaldolese convent in Florence of S. Maria degli Angeli had been producing luxuriously illuminated books since the fourteenth century, commercially as well as for their own use, and other Camaldolese houses were also engaged in book production. The breviary contains the cycle of offices which clerics were obliged to recite daily: the fine parchment used here enabled the entire text to be bound in one manageable and portable volume.
The illumination is by the Master of the Hamilton Xenophon, named from Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, MS 78 C 24, a copy of the Latin translation of the Cyropaedia produced in Florence after 1475 under the stylistic influence of Francesco d'Antonio del Cherico. The Master worked for the Cathedral of Florence and for patrons outside the city, like Federigo da Montefeltro of Urbino. This Breviary is particularly close to two Books of Hours, one in Liverpool University Library and one in the Huntington Library, San Marino, MS 1132, with the arms of the Morelli family of Turin. His activity has not been traced much beyond the decade of the 1470s and the Colonna Breviary provides a secure date from which to assess other works. It shows his style at its most vigorous and lively, with daringly twisted figures and intricately constructed borders inhabited by putti and birds. (For the Master see: A. Garzelli, Miniatura fiorentina del Rinascimento 1440-1525, 1985, I, pp.156-163, II pls 468-499.)
The large initials with three-sided borders are on ff.200, 261 and 437; the full-page border with roundel of St Scholastica is on f.381v.
The subjects of the historiated initials are as follows:
f.8 a prophet, with full-page border with two putti either side of the Colonna badge in the lower margin and seven bust-length figures in medallions of varying shapes, the lower two probably Sts Romuald and Benedict
f.127v Resurrected Christ, with full-page border
f.141v lower limbs of the ascending Christ, with partial border
f.146 Dove of Pentecost, with partial border
f.152v Trinity as a triple-headed bust, with partial border
f.156 Corpus Christi, the Host over a chalice, with partial border
f.281 St Andrew, with full-page border with a roundel of two doves drinking from a chalice
f.299 St Sebastian, with full-page border inhabited by a putto and a bird
f.323 St Benedict, with full-page border inhabited by putti and birds
f.345 St Romuald, with full-page border
f.418v All Saints, with full-page border