Description: Book of Hours, use of Paris, Latin & French.
Illuminated Manuscript on vellum
[Paris: middle of the fifteenth century]
Quarto: 19.5 x 12.5 cm. 144 (of 148) leaves, unsigned, with vertical catchwords, mostly in gatherings of 8: I (6), II (6), III (7 of 8, lacking f. 6), IV-XVIII (8), XIX(5 of 8, lacking folios 6,7,8). With an additional gathering ¶ (7 of 8, lacking f. 1). A sixteenth-century Hours of the Cross is bound before the calendar.
This manuscript is bound in an ornate, possibly Parisian, binding, ca. 1590, of brown morocco elaborately gilded. The boards are gold-ruled in compartments with triple fillet borders. The central compartment and spine are decorated with a dense pattern of oval wreathes, each bearing a monogram ("DD", "AV" or "AR") or a dove within a sunburst, and small roses at the interstices. At the center of each board is a larger, empty, wreathe-like cartouche. The outer compartments of the boards are filled with scrolling vine-work, with roses at the midpoints and lilies at the corners.
Most text leaves in seventeen lines (106 x 76 mm.), ruled in red ink, written in a gothic liturgical book hand, in brown ink, in two sizes, with capitals touched in yellow, rubrics, line-fillers, one- and two-line initials in burnished gold on brown backgrounds, eight large initials in blue with white-line flourishing, with infill of flowers on burnished gold grounds and partial panel borders of acanthus, fruit, floral and foliate sprays.
There are FIVE FULL-PAGED MINIATURES in arched compartments above four lines of text and illuminated initials, all surrounded by rinceaux borders of acanthus, flowers (including a fine rosebush), strawberries and a single grotesque, all with small black dots on parti-coloured gold grounds. The subjects of the miniatures are: 1. The Annunciation: the Virgin kneeling at a prie-dieu, Gabriel entering from the right, in an interior. 2. The Crucifixion: Christ on the Cross with the Virgin, St. John and a female saint to the left, Jews and soldiers to the right, in a landscape. 3. Pentecost: the Virgin and Apostles kneeling before an altar, tongues of fire descending from above, in an interior. 4. King David: David kneeling, the bust of God in the sky, in a landscape. 5. Job: Job seated on the dung heap, in conversation with the Devil disguised as a man in regal dress, holding a flail, the three friends in the distance, in a landscape.
Location of Origin: Europe
Dimensions: Quarto: 19.5 x 12.5 cm.
Primary Classification: Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Maps : Manuscripts : Illuminated Manuscripts
Provenance: The births of two members of the Fleury family are recorded on Fol, 147v; Jehan in 1498, mentioning Harencourt, and Pernelle, in 1502, assisted by Pierre Pala, the priest of Abenville, Anne d'Izi and Jehan de Fleury, his cousins. Owned in the late sixteenth century by a member of the Ricard Family possibly Aleanor wife of Jacques de Ricard, the births of whose various children are recorded on the paper flyleaves at the front of the manuscript. The first birth, of a daughter Anne, who died young, takes place at Nemours, south of Paris, the second at Nanteau-sur-Essone, the third at Montingny-sur-Loire and the fourth at Harencourt. Aleanor is more than likely the 'AR' of the binding.