BOOK OF HOURS (Use of Paris); illuminated manuscript on parchment with thirty-three miniatures by the workshop of the Master François (active in Paris, c. 1460-1480) and another Parisian painter
by Catholic Church
WITH PAINTINGS TYPIFYING PARISIAN BOOK PRODUCTION AT THE END OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY, THIS RICHLY ILLUMINATED BOOK OF HOURS HAS ALSO BEEN PERSONALIZED FOR AN EARLY FEMALE OWNER. Illuminated manuscript on parchment in Latin and French, France, Paris, c. 1480-1490, two miniatures added, Paris, c. 1500-1510. 155 x 100 mm. 198 folios, with two leaves inserted at a later date (ff. 27 and 173), ruled in light red ink, written in brown ink in a Gothic liturgical script on up to 15 lines (justification 92 x 55 mm.), rubrics in pale red, line-fillers in pink and blue highlighted in white with burnished gold besants, a few line-fillers in "bois écotés" (branch-like line-fillers), some line-fillers in brushed gold on red or blue grounds, one small initial in grey highlighted in white on a gold ground with floral motif (f. 173v), 1- to 2-line initials in burnished gold on pink and blue grounds highlighted in white, 3-line initials in pink or blue with white tracery on burnished gold grounds, with flower infills or vine leaves, most folios with illuminated bracket borders with colored acanthus leaves and flowers, fruits on liquid gold grounds or reserved grounds, a few borders featuring birds, beasts, and zoomorphic figures, NINETEEN SMALL MINIATURES and FOURTEEN LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES (with the exception of later miniatures on ff. 27v and 173, of square format) set in FULL ILLUMINATED BORDERS similar to bracket borders, but for those on ff. 27v and 173, which have colored acanthus leaves, flowers, and zoomorphic figures set on liquid gold grounds. BINDING: Modern red morocco, spine with five raised bands, gilt fillet frame on front and back cover, parchment pastedowns. ILLUSTRATION: This Book of Hours is a fine example of team work, with two major hands and two added later miniatures, likely taken from another Book of Hours. As for the two first artists, very different in style, working alongside, or at least collaborating with, one another, the association of artists working on the same book is quite frequent in Parisian manuscripts, especially towards the end of the century. The artist responsible for all the large miniatures but for the two later additions shows the influence of the Master François and the Master of Jacques Besançon (active c. 1480-1500), now identified respectively as François Le Barbier, father and son. This influence is particularly visible in idiosyncratic architectural settings, as in the Pentecost miniature (f. 116v); the typical green and blue columns to either side of some miniatures (as in ff. 28 and 84); certain familiar compositions, including the Coronation of the Virgin (f. 84) and Crucifixion (f. 111); and smaller details like the small tufts of hair on male figures' foreheads. The artist responsible for the small miniatures in this book was influenced by Jean Colombe and his workshop (active c. 1465-1493). Our artist imitates Colombe's characteristic female types, with their oval faces, pale complexions, and downcast eyes. Finally, there are two added miniatures, likely included by the second owner, a woman shown kneeling in prayer in a large miniature depicting the Annunciation (f. 27v). These miniatures have been painted in the style of the Master of Philippe of Guelders, active in Paris c. 1495-1510. PROVENANCE: Made in Paris, based on the style of the large miniatures and the book's liturgical use. A second female owner appears to have customized the book, with two added miniatures, one depicting her. More recently, part of a continental European collection. CONDITION: In excellent condition. Full description and photographs available (BOH 129).
(Inventory #: BOH129)
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