Lot 113
  • 113

Book of Hours, Use of Rennes, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [France (Brittany), second quarter of the fifteenth century]

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
25,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Vellum
129 leaves, 175mm. by 138mm., single leaves wanting after fols.12, 17 and 38, else apparently complete, collation impractical after last rebinding, single column, ruled in pink for 12 lines of brown ink in a single late gothic bookhand, one- and 2-line initials in gold on blue and pink grounds heightened with white penwork, decorated borders of acanthus leaves and more realistic foliage (2 on each text page), twelve small Calendar miniatures (each approximately 40mm. square), thirty large illuminated miniatures framed in gold, with full decorated borders of foliage and fruit, and above coloured 3-line initials on gold grounds enclosing ivy-leaf sprays (fols. 30r, 42r, 43r, 46r, 47r, 48r, 49r, 50r, 56r, 57r, 58r, 62r, 63r, 64r, 67v, 68v, 69v, 73v, 74v, 75v, 76r, 79v, 80v, 81v, 87r, 88r, 89r, 90r, 111r, 114r), glue-traces on fol.29 of miniature once pasted in (now missing), some smudging and occasional flaking to miniatures, minor discolouration to a number of leaves, modern brown leather over pasteboards



1. Most probably written and illuminated for a noble woman from Brittany: the Obsecro te on fol.15r is in the feminine form: famule tue; and the Calendar includes SS. Salvius (11 January), Licinus (13 February) and Maurilius (13 September), all bishops of Angers, as well as Breton saints: Winwaloe (3 March), Gildas (29 January) and Samson of Dol (28 July). The feasts of St. Michael the Archangel are accorded especial prominence in blue (the feast of St. Michael in Monte Gargano, 29 September, and in Monte Tumba, 16 October), and this may indicate that the patron lived in the vicinity of the abbey of Mont Saint Michel in northern Brittany.

2. Bergendal MS.8; bought by Joseph Pope from H. & M. Fletcher, London in January 1981: Bergendal catalogue no.8; Stoneman, 'Guide', p.168.

Catalogue Note


The volume comprises a Calendar (fol.1r); the Obsecro te (fol.135r) and O intemerata; the Hours of the Virgin, interspersed with those of the Holy Cross, Holy Spirit and invocations to a number of saints, with Matins (fol.18r), Lauds (fol.30r), Prime (fol.50r), Terce (fol.58r), Sext (fol.64r), None (fol.69v), Vespers (fol.76r), and Compline (fol.81v); the Penitential Psalms (fol.90r); a Litany of saints (fol.104r); and the Office of the Dead (fol.114r).


The wealth of miniatures in this book are brightly coloured and finely detailed, but of slightly rustic quality in keeping with their origin in the western tip of France. The colourful tessellated backgrounds and tussocks of flowers in the borders show that our artist was a follower of the Parisian artists from the first few decades of the fifteenth century, and may even have begun his career in Paris, before the English invasion and occupation of the city in 1422 scattered the artistic community there.

The miniatures comprise:

1. fols.1r-12r, Calendar miniatures, each approximately 30mm. by 40mm.

2. fol.30r, half-page archtopped miniature, 70mm. high, of the Visitation of St. Anne to the Virgin; full border

3. fol.42r, square miniature, 60mm. high, of the Kiss of Judas; full border

4. fol.43r, square miniature, 65mm. high, of Pentecost; full border

5. fol.46r, square miniature, 60mm. high, of a tonsured cleric kneeling before an altar, Christ and the instruments of the Passion; full border

6. fol.47r, half-page archtopped miniature, 70mm. high, of St. Peter being run through by two swords; full border

7. fol.48r, square miniature, 62mm. high, of St. Francis receiving his stigmata; full border

8. fol.49r, square miniature, 62mm. high, of St. John the Apostle; full border

9. fol.50r, half-page archtopped miniature, 74mm. high, of the Nativity; full border

10. fol.56r, half-page archtopped miniature, 75mm. high, of Christ before Pontius Pilate; full border

11. fol.57r, half-page archtopped miniature, 75mm. high, of the scourging of Christ; full border

12. fol.58r, square miniature, 58mm. high, of the Visitation to the shepherds; full border

13. fol.62r, half-page archtopped miniature, 83mm. high, of Christ seated as his torturers beat him with sticks; full border

14. fol.63r, half-page archtopped miniature, 80mm. high, with Christ bound to a pole being whipped by his torturers; full border

15. fol.64r, half-page archtopped miniature, 73mm. high, of the Visitation of the Magi; full border

16. fol.67v, square miniature, 63mm. high, of Christ carrying the Cross; full border

17. fol.68v, square miniature, 65mm. high, of Christ being nailed to the Cross; full border

18. fol.69v, square miniature, 65mm. high, of the Flight into Egypt; full border

19. fol.73v, square miniature, 63mm. high, of the Crucifixion; full border

20. fol.74v, square miniature, 63mm. high, of Christ on the Cross between the Virgin and St. John; full border

21. fol.75v, square miniature, 60mm. high, of the Three Living and the Three Dead; full border

22. fol.76r, square miniature, 54mm. high, of the Presentation in the Temple; full border

23. fol.79v, square miniature, 63mm. high, of the deposition from the Cross; full border

24. fol.80v, square miniature, 65mm. high, of the Pietà; full border

25. fol.81v, square miniature, 60mm. high, of the Coronation of the Virgin; full border

26. fol.87r, square miniature, 65mm. high, of the entombment of Christ; full border

27. fol.88r, square miniature, 63mm. high, of the Fear of the Lord, a figure kneeling in supplication; full border

28. fol.89r, square miniature, 65mm. high, of Mary Magdalene with her ointment; full border

29. fol.90r, half-page archtopped miniature, 70mm. high, of King David; full border

30. fol.111r, square miniature, 63mm. high, of two saints; full border

31. fol.114r, rectangular miniature, 50mm. by 63mm. of a funeral scene; full border