HORAE, use of Paris, in Latin and French. [Paris: Thielman Kerver for Guillaume Eustace, 20 June 1500].
PRINTED ON VELLUM. 8° (169 x 111mm). Collation: a-m8 (a1 title with device, a1v almanac, a2r blank, a2v-5r calendar, a5v prayer 'ante ceteras', a6r-7v Gospel sequence [St. John and the Poisoned Cup, 3 small miniatures], a8r-b3v Passion according to St. John [Betrayal, 8 small Passion scenes], b4r-e1v Hours of the Virgin [Visitation, Annunciation to the Shepherds, Adoration of the Magi, Presentation in the Temple, Massacre of the Innocents, Death of the Virgin], e2r-6r Hours of the Cross and of the Holy Ghost [Crucifixion, Pentecost], e6v-f4r Seven Penitential Psalms [David in Penitence with Death and other figures], f4v-h1r Office of the Dead [Death Threatening a Man and Woman], h1v-i2v Sequence of prayers to God the Father, Christ and the Virgin, including Obsecro te, O Intemerata, Stabat Mater, 5 prayers of St. John the Evangelist, and Missus est Gabriel [Trinity, 8 small miniatures], i3r-k2r Suffrages [19 small miniatures], k2v-6r prayer on the 5 wounds of Christ, and various prayers in French [Mass of St. Gregory, 3 small portraits], k6v-8v Office of Our Lady of Pity in French [one small Pietà], l1r-m1v Seven Penitential Psalms in French, and other prayers [one small scene], m1v-5r Hours of St. Genevieve and of St. Barbara [3 small miniatures], m5v-7r prayer of the Three Kings, prayer of St Roch [Magi, one small miniature], m7v-8 table of contents, m8v blank). 92 leaves (of 96, lacking a1, b4.5 and c7). Calendar printed in red and black, first incipit in red. 32 lines. Type: 95B.
21 ADDITIONAL VELLUM LEAVES written in a lettre bâtarde in an early 16th-century French hand, containing various prayers. One leaf bound at beginning with 5 prayers, the first devoted to Christ, beginning 'O benignissime domine iesu christe respicere digneris super me miserum peccatorem', and continuing on first blank page of printed book; 20 leaves at end: fo.1 Benedictions [Holy Grail], prayers devoted to Christ, 3r prayer devoted to the Virgin, beginning 'Ave domina sancta maria mater dei regina celi porta paradisi' [the owner of the manuscript kneeling at a prie-dieu with her book of hours praying to a vision of the Virgin and Child enthroned in glory surrounded by seraphin and cherubin], 3v prayers to St. Eustace, St. Benoit, St. Anthony [7 small miniatures], 5v prayer to the 3 Marys [large miniature of the Three Marys], 6r prayers to St. Agnes, St. Catherine of Siena, 1000 Virgins, 7 prayers of St. Bernard [2 small miniatures], 10r Fifteen Oes of St Bridget and other prayers [Christ with Passion Instruments]. 29-32 lines per page. (Manuscript text rubbed on 3 pages, miniature of St. Anthony smudged, probably through repeated devotion, slight rubbing or flaking on 9 large and one small miniature, most borders trimmed.) 18th-century French black morocco gilt, wide roll-tooled border on sides, gilt spine, gilt patterned endpapers, gilt edges (spine repaired, hinges renewed).
19 LARGE AND 56 SMALL MINIATURES IN GOLD AND COLOURS BY THE MASTER OF PHILIPPE DE GUELDRE, the large miniatures either with bas-de-page or extending full-page beneath the illusionistic device of the text on a scroll, and with a variety of borders, including jewelled, architectural, and historiated, all text pages with branch-like bar border in liquid-gold with red-brown outline, small miniatures within gold frame, occasionally architectural, 2- to 4-line initials in blue with white patterning, often floriated, on alternating magenta or gold ground, liquid-gold one-line initials, paragraph marks and line-filler on alternating red, magenta or blue ground, yellow capital strokes.
A DE LUXE BOOK OF HOURS COMMISSIONED FOR AN UNIDENTIFIED BUT UNDOUBTEDLY NOBLE, FEMALE FRENCH PATRON. Without divulging the identity of its original owner, the volume was expressly created for a woman of high status. She is depicted here, dressed in rich robes, kneeling in prayer at a prie-dieu with her Book of Hours open before her. The volume was illuminated by an artist favoured by French nobility: the Master of Philippe de Gueldre. He is named for his work in a manuscript of Ludolphus of Saxony, Vie du Christ (Lyons, BM, ms.5125), illuminated for the duchesse Philippe de Gueldre, second wife of René, duc de Lorraine and 'king of Sicily'. For another female patron, Louise de Savoie, countess of Angoulême, he illuminated a number of de luxe printed books by the Parisian printer Antoine Vérard, as well as manuscripts. He enjoyed the favour of other royal and noble patrons, such as Louis XII, Charles VIII, and prime minister Cardinal Georges d'Amboise. For Jacques de Daillon, Seigneur and Baron de Lude, he contributed to the illustration of a manuscript of La Fleur des histoires by Jean Mansel (see Foyle part I, lot 88).
This volume was conceived as a special copy. Its base is an edition printed at Paris by Thielman Kerver for Guillaume Eustace in 1500, however, even this mechanised process has been specially adapted so that not only have the metalcuts been omitted in preparation for an artist's original work, but the text usually found on the first three pages (title with printer's device, anatomical man, almanac) and the last page (printer's device) has been intentionally omitted; these pages contain instead additional prayers written in lettre bâtarde. Printed Books of Hours, particularly those on vellum, were often illuminated, with the artist painting over the printed wood- or metalcuts. It is highly unusual, however, to find a printed Book of Hours in which spaces have been left for original work by an illuminator, as in the present copy. We have found no comparable example mentioned in catalogues describing Books of Hours, such as Lacombe, Mortimer Harvard French, Davies, Murray French, Brunet Heures, or Van Praet.
This volume is an exceptional example of the successful joining of the manuscript tradition with the new technology of printing. It demonstrates a flexibility in the printing process not usually recognised, the acceptance of a hybrid production among the highest circles of patrons, and the great beauty resulting from a combination of both arts.
See F. Avril and N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à Peintures en France, 1440-1520, nos. 152-155; Mary Beth Winn, 'Antoine Vérard's Presentation Manuscripts and Printed Books,' Manuscripts in the Fifty Years after the Invention of Printing, Warburg Institute Colloquium, 1982, ed. J.B. Trapp, London: 1983, pp.66-74; and 'Books for a Princess and Her Son: Louise de Savoie, François d'Angoulême, and the Parisian Libraire Antoine Vérard,' Bibliothèque d'humanisme et Renaissance, XLVI, 1984, pp.603-617; Les Manuscrits enluminés des Comtes et Ducs de Savoie, 1990.) H 8838; Brunet Heures 284; CIBN H-205; Lacombe 80-84; Van Praet I, 242, VI, 242bis; Goff H-357.