114 leaves, 150mm. by 113mm., wanting a leaf or so at end, else complete, collation: i-ii6, iii-xiv8, xv6 (mostly single leaves rebound together in correct order), xvi2 (added later), single column, 14 lines in a late gothic hand in black ink, rubrics in red, one- and 2-line initials in burnished gold on variegated blue and pink grounds with line fillers to match, larger 3- and 4-line initials in blue or pink with white tracery and foliage infill, all on burnished gold grounds (some initials with scuffing to gold), panel borders of rinceaux terminating in coloured flowers and gold leaves on pp.47, 70, 73, 83, 89, 95, 102, 111, four three-quarter page miniatures within panel frames of flowers on gold on three sides, all within full borders as before (pp.25, 67, 121, 165), some minor scuffing and thumbing to miniatures, lower border of first two leaves cut away, first few leaves with offset from facing leaf, some gatherings loose, binding detached from upper part at front, else good condition, late eighteenth-century gilt-tooled brown leather over pasteboards, metal clasps
1. Written for a female patron (Obsecro te in female form: "famule tue" on p.161) most probably in Le Mans: St. Julian of Le Mans (27 January) in Calendar.
2. M.J. Lounet, his sixteenth- or seventeeth-century ownership inscription in calligraphic red letters at the base of the final leaf.
3. Madeleine de Mailloc (most probably the daughter of François de Mailloc, baron de Cailly-en-Caux, Normandy, who married François Achard, seigneur du Pin, in 1617): seventeenth or eighteen-century ownership inscription inside front board..
4. Col. J. Hamilton Leigh (1867-1944), explorer, big game hunter and horse breeder: his stag bookplate at end.
5. Ampleforth MS.274; given in 1946 by Miss Norah Dawson of Holme Park, Ashburton.
The manuscript comprises a Calendar (p.1); Office of the Virgin Mary, with Matins (25), Lauds (47), Prime (67), Terce (83), Sext (89), None (95), Vespers (102), Compline (111); Penitential Psalms (121), with a Litany (145); Obsecro te (157); Office of the Dead (165; completed with two additional leaves in sixteenth or seventeenth century).
Illuminated by a follower of the Talbot Master, one of the principal manuscript artists in Rouen during its occupation by the English at the end of the Hundred Years' War. The artist takes his name from the two manuscripts prepared by him for John Talbot, first earl of Shrewsbury, commander of the English forces (one given to Margaret of Anjou as she passed through Rouen in 1445 on her way to marry Henry VI of England; now BL. Royal MS.15.VI).
The miniatures comprise: (1) p.25, the Annunciation to the Virgin by an angel in dull-gold robes, all before a gold, blue and red tessellated background; (2) p. 67, the Crucifixion; (3) p.121, Judgement Day with Christ on a rainbow, flanked by two red angels; (4) p.165, a funeral with hooded mourners and tonsured priests singing from a choirbook on a lectern before the coffin.
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