BOOK OF HOURS, use of Tours, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[probably Tours, c.1470]
166 x 110mm. 104 leaves: 16, 2-88, 94, 10-148, apparently COMPLETE, modern pagination 1-208, followed here, 17 lines written in a gothic bookhand in brown ink between 2 verticals and 17 horizontals ruled in violet, justification: 99 x 65mm, rubrics in red, two-line initials of burnished gold on divided grounds of pink and blue patterned with white, capitals alternately in blue and gold, and blue and gold line-fillers, FIVE LARGE MINIATURES with arched tops above three-line initials with fruit- or flower-sprays in the infill and accompanied by full-page borders of acanthus, flower and fruit sprays in gold, blue, green, red and pink interspersed with hair-line sprays with gold disks and leaves, ONE HISTORIATED AND SEVEN FOLIATE ILLUMINATED INITIALS, four-lines high, with two-sided borders of similar type (slight smudging, some borders a little trimmed, a few small losses of surface pigment to miniatures on pp.41, 129). English 19th-century red morocco gilt, fleur-de-lys and rosette tools set in central frame, spine gilt in six compartments, edges gilt and gauffered (front board detached, rubbed). Modern morocco-backed box.
1. Both the Office of the Virgin and the Office of the Dead are for the use of Tours, whether or not the manuscript was made in that city it is likely to have been intended for use in that diocese.
2. Johan. C. Jackson, 1853; inscription on opening folio of the Calendar.
3. William Robert Hay MA: his armorial bookplate inside upper cover.
Calendar pp.1-24; Obsecro te pp.25-31; Gospel extracts pp.31-40; St John pp.31-33; St Luke pp.34-36; St Matthew pp.37-39; St Mark pp.39-40; Office of the Virgin pp.41-124, matins pp.41-59, lauds pp.60-76; from lauds interspersed with the Hours of the Cross pp.77-78 and the Hours of the Holy Spirit pp.79-80; Office of the Virgin pp.81-124, prime pp.81-89, terce pp.90-95, sext pp.96-101, none pp.101-106, vespers pp.107-117, compline pp.118-124; blank ruled leaves pp.125-128; Penitential Psalms pp.129-149; Litany pp.150-158; blank ruled leaf p.160; Office of the Dead pp.161-208.
The style of these miniatures is not instantly localisable: the decorative gilding of fabrics is evocative of Rouen illumination, while the compositions, such as King David kneeling before an altar in an interior, are familiar from Parisian manuscripts. One individual and remarkable feature of the illustration is the depiction of an emotional response in the couple facing Death -- both react with open-mouthed horror in a way rarely attempted in 15th-century illumination.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: Annunciation p.47; Crucifixion p.77; Pentecost p.79; David kneeling in prayer p.129; Death taking a man, watched by the man's wife p.161.
A historiated initial with the Virgin and child in half-length on page 25.