Lot 59
  • 59

The Hours of Phelipes Ruffier, Unidentified Use, in Latin and French [north-western France (perhaps Rennes), c.1380]

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
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195x155mm, vellum, 90 leaves, imperfect, lacking at least 15 leaves and probably a calendar, 17 lines, 115x75mm, 6 LARGE MINIATURES, mostly with full borders, illuminated initials and line-fillers, the two-line initials extending into a foliate or dragon border (once with a pair of hands, f.10r), worn and dirty throughout, the miniatures smudged, ff.35-36 torn and a section cut from the margin of f.70, 16th-century French gilt calf over pasteboards, each cover with corner-pieces, a central oval depicting the Crucifixion, a motto ‘Loyal desir’, heraldic arms with a chevron or two chevronels, and a semee of gilt fleurs-de-lis, the lower board also with the date ‘1[5]90’, the spine lined with pieces of a 13th-century music manuscript on four-line red staves, worn and partly defective, in a modern fitted box

Catalogue Note



Suffrages to Sts Peter & Paul, and Anne (f.1); Hours of the Virgin (f.3r), Lauds followed by a suffrage to St Catherine (f.16v); Penitential Psalms (f.32r); a mis-placed bifolium from the Office of the Dead (f.35r); Hours of the Cross (f.37r) and of the Holy Spirit (f.38r); the Quinze Joies (f.40r) and Sept requêtes (f.43r); mass prayers etc. (f.45r); Office of the Dead (f.47r); prayer, in French verse: 'Glorieuse virge raine / En qui, par la virtu divine …' (Sonet-Sinclair no.695) (f.70v); Gradual Psalms, in an unusual format: in three groups of five, each followed by verses, responses, and a collect (f.78r); the Passion narrative based on John (f.85r); La Vie et légende de sainte Marguerite, in French verse (f.87r), with 15th-century marginal notes indicating that leaves were already missing by that date. All the texts are more-or-less imperfect except the suffrages, Gradual Psalms, and Passion narrative.

It is extremely rare for manuscripts to have a name in its lines-fillers. Five early 15th-century manuscripts (at the BL, Brussels BR, and the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Cornell) have the name of Petrus Gilberti in line-fillers, and in the first of these he identifies himself as the illuminator: ‘Petrus Gilberti illumnavit’. In the Hours of Agnes de Pont-Saint-Maxence, sold in our rooms, 17 December 1991, lot 77, line-fillers include the name of the patron, e.g. ‘Agnes de Pont’ and ‘Agnes chastellaine de Sainte’, whose patronage is confirmed by profuse heraldry.

In the present manuscript several of the line-fillers include the name ‘PHELIPES RUFFIER’ or an abbreviated form of it (ff.15r, 63v, 78v, 81v, etc). In 1402 Philippe (also known as Philipotte) Ruffier, only daughter of Jean Ruffier, seigneur de Vau-Ruffier, married Raoul V, Sire de Coetquen, governor of Dol, Dinan, and Lehon, and became the mother of Raoul VI, Marechal of Brittany. She is presumably the patron of the present manuscript, in which case Rennes is likely to have been the closest centre for the production of illuminated manuscripts.

Although worn and imperfect, this manuscript presents several puzzling features – the liturgical Use, the iconography of St Margaret, the Breton? style of illumination, and the use of line-fillers to identify the patron, for example – that would repay further research.

The subjects of the miniatures are: (1) f.1r, Sts Peter & Paul; (2) f.2r, St Anne; (3) f.23r, Presentation in the Temple; (4) f.28v, Massacre of the Innocents; (5) f.70v, the Patron kneeling before the Virgin and Child; (6) f.89v, St Margaret, stripped almost naked, hands tied, and hung from a bar by her hair, being beaten by two men.