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54

PROPERTY OF THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA

Book of Hours, Use of Reims, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1440]
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 80,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
54

PROPERTY OF THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA

Book of Hours, Use of Reims, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1440]
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 80,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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London

Book of Hours, Use of Reims, in Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [northern France (Paris), c.1440]
164 leaves (plus two vellum endleaves at front and back), 180mm. by 125mm., wanting single leaves after fols.53 and 75, else complete, 14 lines in brown ink in a professional gothic bookhand (written space: 91mm. by 64mm.), capital letters touched in yellow, rubrics in red, one-line initials and line-fillers in gold on blue and red grounds with white penwork, 2- to 4-line initials in red or blue on burnished gold grounds decorated with blue, red and green ivy leaves, with border panels of single-line foliage terminating in gold ivy leaves, with coloured acanthus, flowers and strawberries, sixteen three-quarter page miniatures by the Master of the Munich Golden Legend with decorated and illuminated text-frames on three sides and full-borders as before (fols.13r, 15r, 17r, 19r, 21r, 33r, 44v, 50v, 57v, 61v, 69r, 82r, 99v, 109r, 157r and 161r), some enclosing human figures (fols.21r, 50v, 57v, 61v, 69r and 82r) a peacock, a magpie, storks nesting (fol.21r) and a golden crown (fol.15r), the space below the miniature and text but within the text-frame on fols.15r and 21r with the word ‘droit’ in brightly burnished gold letters, probably part of a personal motto, early twentieth-century English dealer’s description pasted to front endleaf, miniatures on fols.13r, 157r and 161r with small pigment losses, borders rubbed in places, some stains and a red wax mark in the border of fol.1r, else in excellent condition, eighteenth-century French red morocco over pasteboards with two brass clasps, spine rebacked with earlier spine overlaid, thongs attaching front board now split with board held in place by leather (that also split at bottom and board now loose)
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Provenance

1. This Book of Hours was a grand personal commission, illuminated in Paris c.1440 by the Master of the Munich Golden Legend, for the woman named Margaret, who appears in a red dress and a black headdress kneeling before her patron saint, Margaret of Antioch, on fol.157r, and the Crucifixion on fol.161r. The Use of the book is that of Reims, and she presumably lived there, but sent to Paris to have her commission executed by an artist of the highest quality. The word “droit” appears in brightly burnished gold letters at the foot of the text on fol.15r and 21r, and was probably her personal motto.

2. Alfred Edward Newton (1864-1940), American author, publisher and book collector: his printed bookplate on front pastedown.

3. Florence Foerderer Tonner (1883-1972) of Torresdale, Philadelphia, avid collector of prints and William Blake paintings for her private museum built within the mid-nineteenth-century family home (Glen Foerd house, listed on the American National Register of Historic Places). She bequeathed the collections and estate to the Lutheran Church of America, and the present volume is sold here on their behalf.

Catalogue Note

text

The book comprises: a Calendar (fol.1r); the Gospel Readings (fol.13r); the Hours of the Virgin, with Matins (fol.21r), Lauds (fol.33r), Prime, erroneously announced as ‘Lauds’ (fol.44v), Terce (fol.50v), Sext (fol.54r), None (fol.57v), Vespers (fol.61v), Compline (fol.69r); a prayer in French to the Virgin with a lengthy red rubric ascribing it to Pope Innocent (fol.76r); the O intemerata, written in the female form ‘michi peccatrici’ (fol.79r); the Penitential Psalms (fol.82r) followed by a Litany; the Doulce Dame (fol.99v); the Office of the Dead (fol.109r); prayers in French verse to St. Margaret of Antioch: “Dune vierge lit on. Qui Marguerite ot nom … ” (fol.157r) and to the Virgin: “Au temps quen crois le fils pendoit …” (fol.161r).

 illumination

This sumptuously decorated manuscript was illuminated by the prolific Master of the Munich Golden Legend (fl. in Paris, c.1420-1460), one of the great commercial illuminators of Paris in the period following that of the Bedford Master, with whom he collaborated on the sublime Sobieski Hours (Windsor, Royal Library). He is named after a copy of the text now in Munich, dating to c.1420 (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibl., Cod.gall.3). A manuscript in private hands shows St. Mark writing “domi(nu)s con(radu)s tolien(sis)” and it has been suggested that the artist’s name might be Conrad of Toul  (E. König, Das Pariser Stundenbuch an der Schwelle zum 15. Jahrhundert, 2011, pp.139-48). His work can be easily distinguished by his habit of outlining areas of colour and indicating facial features in black. The fine modelling of faces in this manuscript is remarkable, as are the softly cascading draperies and dramatic skies with golden clouds.

The miniatures comprise: (1) fol.13r, St. John on Patmos, writing in gold on a scroll, between his attribute the eagle and a hairy naked devil; (2) fol.15r, St. Luke writing at a desk, as his attribute the ox looks on; (3) fol.17r, St. Matthew seated in a gothic interior, writing while his attribute, an angel holds his scroll; (4) fol.19r, St. Mark seated at a desk writing, as his attribute, a smiling lion, looks in through the window; (5) fol.21r, the Annunciation to the Virgin  within a rich gothic interior; (6) fol.33r, the Visitation of the Virgin and St. Elizabeth before a rocky landscape; (7) fol.44v, the Nativity; (8) fol.50v, the Annunciation to the Shepherds, one playing a bagpipe; (9) fol.57v, the Presentation in the Temple; (10) fol.61v, the Flight into Egypt; (11) fol.69r, the Coronation of the Virgin, with her and God the father with large burnished gold haloes; (12) fol.82r, King David kneeling in prayer; (13) fol.99v, the pregnant Virgin visiting Elisabeth; (14) fol.109r, a burial with tonsured monks and mourners in a courtyard as a workman lowers the body in a simple shroud into the grave; (15) fol.157r, St. Margaret of Antioch being devoured by the dragon, and emerging from its side, before the original owner kneeling in prayer; (16) fol.161r, The Crucifixion, before the original owner in prayer.

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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