LECTIONARY FOR THE SANCTORAL AND COMMUNAL FROM A BREVIARY, for the use of Uzès, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
170 x 120 mm. ii + 132 leaves + ii: 12(of 8, lacking i-vi), 2-158, 165(uncertain), 178, 185(uncertain), original foliation in roman numerals, beginning on second leaf and omitting final leaf, vertically written catchwords along right vertical ruling in lower margins of final versos, few signatures, two columns of 28 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand in two sizes of script between four verticals and 29 horizontals ruled in violet, the first horizontal extending across the page, justification: 104 x 33-8-33mm; prickings in side and lower margins, rubrics and foliation in red, neat emendations in some margins, text capitals touched yellow, one- and two-line initials and paragraph marks alternately of burnished gold flourished with violet or blue flourished with red, three-line initials with gold staves on grounds of red and blue with white decoration, TWO LARGE FOLIATE INITIALS in blue, orange and white on grounds of burnished gold, joining a gold bar to left of text column and surrounded by FULL-PAGE BORDERS of hairline tendrils with terminals of burnished gold disks and green and pink flowers, between blue and gold acanthus and flowersprays in pink, green, liquid gold and silver, the second incorporating a coat of arms and a vase with AVE, within an outer frame of gold and an inner framing line ruled in pink to meet the bar (tarnishing to silver in borders). Modern green morocco stamped in blind.
THE MISSING SECTION OF THE ONLY MANUSCRIPT BREVIARY KNOWN FOR THE USE OF UZèS
1. Coat of arms, per fess, argent, gothic a and b azure; azure, a mullet or, owner associated with the cathedral of St Theodoret, Uzès: the Sanctoral includes a double feast with nine lessons and octave with lesson for 'St Theodoret priest and martyr, in whose honour and name the venerable church of Uzès was built' ff.91-94, 94v; a double feast with nine lessons and octave for St Firmin, bishop of Uzès, 'patron of the city of Uzès' ff.87-88v; six lessons, vigil and octave for St Ferreol, bishop of Uzès and patron of one of its abbeys ff.7-8.
2. McLeish and Sons, Booksellers, 22 Little Russell St, London WC1: undated typewritten description loose in manuscript; small reproduction of f.119 presumably cut from a catalogue
Sanctoral Lectionary, for the use of Uzès, from the feast of St Stephen (26 Dec) to the feast of the Conception of the Virgin (8 Dec), ending with an apparent afterthought, the feast of St Peter Martyr (23 April) first unfoliated leaf and ff.1-118v; Communal Lectionary ff.119-130
This is the missing section of the Breviary for the use of Uzès of 277 leaves (Sotheby's, 3 July 1984, lot 74), containing Calendar naming 1472 as the current year, Ferial Psalter with Canticles and Litany, Hymns for the Temporal and Sanctoral, Capitula for the Temporal, Sanctoral and Communal, Collects for Temporal, Sanctoral and Communal and Lessons for Temporal. These end with a gathering of six leaves, with offsets on the final verso, f.277v; the first two leaves of the Sanctoral Lectionary must be the final two leaves of this gathering.
It is not clear when the manuscript was divided. A note in Spanish on f.2 of the section sold at Sotheby's indicates a subsequent Spanish owner but there is no definite information on its provenance before the sale of the collection of L.F. Boekenoogen of Amsterdam, by Mensing, Amsterdam, 9 April 1940, lot 927.
No other manuscript Uzès Breviaries were known when the first section of the manuscript was sold in 1984 and none has since appeared at auction. The churches of Uzès suffered badly during the 16th-century wars of religion and the only text available for comparison is a printed Breviary of 1493, thought to survive in a unique copy (A. Claudin 'L'imprimerie à Uzès au XVe siècle', La bibliographie moderne, 1899). Like the manuscript, the printed Breviary has Hymnal, Capitulary, Collectary and Lectionary in distinct units, an unusual convention found also in Breviaries from the Provençal dioceses of Nîmes and Carpentras (V. Leroquais, Les bréviaires manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de la France, I, p.LV).
Large initials mark the first lessons in Sanctoral and Communal, which occur at different intervals so that the layouts of the two pages with full borders are not identical, first unfoliated leaf and f.119v, where the coat of arms, integral to the border decoration, is balanced by the flower vase in the side margin. There are numerous flourished initials throughout the volume, which is generally in very fresh condition. The illumination can be dated to 1472, or immediately afterwards, since the same hand seems to have been responsible for all the large initials and borders throughout the whole Breviary. This is, therefore, a rare example of securely localised and dated Provençal illumination. The manuscript need not have been made in Uzès itself, although the presence there of King René of Anjou's painter, Nicolas Froment, suggests that the city was capable of supporting scribes and illuminators.