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    A Handsome Fifteenth-Century Catholic Illuminated Manuscript Book of Hours, Made for Benedictine Monks

    [Catholic Church]. [Benedictine Monks]. Book of Hours. [Paris: n.d., ca. 1600]. Text in Latin, text near end of book in French. Ninety-three leaves on vellum. The calendar is in French and follows the calendar for Paris of the Middle Ages (Le Calendrier Parisien à la fin du moyen age: d'apres le breviare et les livres d'heures. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1933). Some feast days in gold and red indicate Benedictine use (for example, Joannis ante portam latinam (May 6), Bonifacii et soc. eju m. XII (June 5). Manuscript lacking a few leaves (probably three). Leaves ruled in red. Written in sixteen long lines in quires of eight. Catchwords at center (bas de page) on fols. 23v, 31v, 39v, 48v, 64v, 79v. Fol. 79v has a catchword with decorated grotesque. The script written as follows: 1r - 88r written in gothic book-hand; 88v - 89r are blank; 89v - 92r written in cursive; 92v - 93r is blank; 93v written cursive in a different hand than the previous cursive leaves. Contents as follows: First flyleaf (on later paper) written in manuscript: "Brantz Mayer/Decemb. IV/ MDCCCXXXIV"; fols. 1r - 12v : calendar (in French) beginning with the Feast of the Circumcision (twelve double-line illuminated initials on filigreed blue and red background, and with fifty-two single-line illuminated initials on similar backgrounds); fols. 13r - 16v : gospel lessons (in Latin), rubrics are red, the four incipits begin with a double-line illuminated initial on filigreed blue and red background; fols. 13r - 14r : John (1:1-14, gospel lesson for Christmas day); fols. 14v - 15r : Luke (1:26-38, gospel lesson for the Feast of the Annunciation); fols. 15r - 16r: Matthew (2:1-12, gospel lesson for the Feast of the Epiphany); fol. 16r,v : Mark (16:14-20, gospel lesson for the Feast of the Ascension); fols. 17r - 57v : the Offices (including Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Hours of the Holy Spirit, Vespers, Compline, Oratory at Compline, Omnipotens ut supra, Sext, Prime, Vespers in Latin: fol. 17r begins with invitatory ("Ave Maria gratia plena...") (fols. 25v, 35v, 38v, 41r, 45r, 47r, and 51r have three-sided illuminated borders with multi-colored floral motifs); fol. 58r Penitential Psalms (lacking first leaf of Penitential Psalms); fols. 68r - 72v : Litanies (in Latin); fols. 73r - 85r : Office of the Dead (in Latin); fols. 85v - 88r : Obsecro Te (in Latin, beginning with a four line foliate initial in red and blue with white filigree on gold background); fols. 88v - 92r : Orison to the Cross in French in ninety-four long lines added later (later fifteenth-century?); fols. 92v - 93r blank; fol. 93v prayer [?] in thirteen lines added later in French. Bound in late nineteenth-century vellum over boards, with clasps (fasteners lacking). Binding rubbed, some minor occasional thumbsoil in text, fol. 92 has a short, jagged tear at the top not affecting text. A very good example.

    Provenance: Brantz Mayer (1809-1879) was a historian and author who worked as the Corresponding Secretary of the Maryland Historical Society. He owned many manuscripts on various subjects, and his papers are now at the University of Maryland, or the Special Collections of Duke University.
    Sinclair, French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages, p. 64.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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