BOOK OF HOURS (Use of Rome); illuminated manuscript on parchment with five historiated initials and eight illuminated initials, all with illuminated borders
by Catholic Church
A SMALL AND INTIMATE BOOK OF HOURS WRITTEN AND ILLUMINATED FOR FRANCISCAN USE. Illuminated manuscript in Latin on parchment, Italy, Lombardy (Milan? Ferrara?), 95 x 70 mm., 212 folios, perhaps missing at least one quire after the calendar and with two quires bound out of order, written in a small rounded bookhand in at least three hands, red rubrics, 2- to 4-line red or blue initials with contrasting penwork, eight 6-line illuminated initials with burnished gold and red, blue and green acanthus leaves on pages with three-quarter borders of small ornamental flowers and burnished gold discs on fine hairline stems, five 7- to 6-line HISTORIATED INITIALS on grounds of burnished gold with similar three-quarter borders and on f. 13 a more elaborate full border. BINDING: Modern calf-binding, in good condition, broken brass clasp. ILLUSTRATION: Books of Hours associated with the Franciscans are a phenomenon in Italy that deserves further study. The style of the decoration and the palette, with dark blue and magenta predominating, is typical of northern Italian artists. The dense foliage, compactly conceived, with fillers of gold and black lines, are often found in productions of Ferrara and Modena. On the other hand, the figure of King David with his blond hair, the cross isolated on a landscape ground, the dove hovering alone in an initial, and the skull lying on the ground closely resemble those found in Books of Hours produced in the milieu of the Master of the Vitae Imperatorum. The artist and decorators have accomplished a successful union of tendencies in Lombardy and Emilia Romagna. Five historiated initials: f. 13, Virgin and Child, with the Symbol of the Holy Name appearing within a wreathed medallion in the lower margin; f. 95, David praying; f. 121v, Crucifix; f. 137v, Dove as the Holy Spirit; and f. 144, Skull. PROVENANCE: Written and illuminated in northern Italy on the basis of the style and decoration, certainly for Franciscan use as demonstrated by the saints in the calendar and litanies. Likely owned by an Observant Franciscan, since the symbol of the Holy Name of Jesus, popularized by Bernardino of Siena (d. 1444, canonized 1450), appears on f. 13. Harold Graham, "N.Y., USA, Jan 2 1877," his name and date written on the front flyleaf. Private Continental collection. CONDITION: f. 1, outer corner damaged, a few stray scribbles in calendar, initials on ff. 13 and 94v are smudged as a result of devotional use. Full descriptions and photographs available (BOH 55).
(Inventory #: BOH 55)
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