ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT BOOK OF HOURS AND CALENDAR with 15 illuminated miniatures
Illuminated liturgical manuscript in Latin, written in bâtarde script (letter batarde) in brown ink, 20 lines (Calendar in 18), recto and verso, on vellum. (125x90 mm), (HORAE B.M.V.)
17th-century gilt ornately decorated brown morocco binding, spine attractively tooled with gilt vinework design.
France: Central France ( Bourges? or Tours?) c.1440-50
76 leaves, apparently complete except for blank end leaves. With fifteen arch topped miniatures above (generally) three or four lines of text and surrounded by full borders of stylized flowers, foliage and vinework with birds, insets, and zoomorphic drolleries, all in colors and a combination of gold leaf and liquid gold. One five-line and one four-line divisional initial in blue on red ground with gold highlighted decoration; numerous one- and two-line initials in liquid gold on blue and red ground throughout. Line extenders in blue and/or red with liquid gold decoration.
Contents: Calendar, 1r-12v; Gospel Lesson from John 13r-14r; Antiphon for Holy Trinity and Sufffrages 14v-18v; Hours of the Virgin, 19r-48v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany, 49r-58v; Office of the Dead and Suffrage for Saint Barbara, 59r-76r; Salve Regina 76r-76v.
Miniatures: St John on Patmos, 13r; Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, 16v; Annunciation to the Virgin, 19r; Visitation, 25r; Crucifixion, 31r; Pentecost, 32r; Nativity, 33r; Annunciation to the Shepherds, 36r; Adoration of the Magi, 38v; Presentation in the Temple, 40v; Slaughter of Innocents, 43r; Coronation of the Virgin, 45r; David in Prayer, 49r; Job and Friends, 50r; Martyrdom of St. Barbara, 75v.
An attractive example of a medieval manuscript book of hours with a rich suite of miniatures including the Nativity cycle, possibly executed for a lady named Barbara, given the prominence of the miniature of St. Barbara. Absence of Saints Genevieve and Denis in the calendar, and the inclusion of some less renown saints point to a production site in Central France rather than in Paris. The well-executed miniatures are enhanced by the lavish use of gold highlights and charmingly inhabited borders. Margins trimmed in rebinding just entering the top or outer border of several miniatures, light staining from devotional use; early repair to outer corner of a few leaves, occasional minor soiling and wrinkling of vellum.