Lot 12
  • 12


500,000 - 700,000 GBP
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  • ink on vellum
c.195x135mm, vellum, i+602+ii leaves, sewing threads not usually visible but apparently COMPLETE, collation: i2 (miniatures), ii-xxii12, xxiii6, xxiv2+1, xxv2 (miniatures), xxvi6 (calendar),  xxvii2 (added leaves), xxviii-xxxii12, xxxiii8, xxxvi6, xxxv2 (miniatures), xxxvi-liii12, liv8-1 (last blank cancelled), lv-lvi12, lvii6, most quires with a catchword and note that it has been corrected, foliated in 19th-century French pencil usually on every 10th leaf and leaves with historiated initials, but omitting one leaf between 585 and 593, the psalter with original foliation in red ink roman numerals i-lxxiiii, 2 columns of 32 lines, c.125x85mm, 6 FULL-PAGE MINIATURES ARRANGED IN FACING PAIRS prefacing the Temporale, Psalter, and Sanctorale, 2 SMALLER MINIATURES, 24 HISTORIATED INITIALS, and 12 OCCUPATIONS OF THE MONTHS AND 12 SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC in the calendar, a few BAS-DE-PAGE SCENES AND DROLLERIES, and about 25 heraldic shields added in lower margins, some of them subsequently erased, and a page consisting of an added ITALIAN MINIATURE, PORTRAIT ROUNDEL, AND HERALDIC SHIELD within a full border, ILLUMINATED BORDERS AND INITIALS ON EVERY TEXT PAGE, except the added ones, WITH DRAGON-, ANIMAL-, OR HUMAN-HEADED TERMINALS, a few Italian illuminated initials in the final section, minor blemishes and thumbing, and some flaking or smudging of pigments in the major decoration, the calendar and psalter rather worn, but overall in good condition, finely bound in 17th-century French dark red morrocco, the covers densely gilt with fine tools around an undecorated lozenge, the flat spine gilt, not divided into compartments, minor wear especially at the joints, gilt edges, housed in a red half-morocco bookform box with gilt letters on spine 'Breviary / French MS.', signed inside by Riviere & Son

Catalogue Note


(1) MARIE (1344-1404), DUCHESS OF BAR, DAUGHTER OF BONNE OF LUXEMBOURG AND KING JOHN II (THE GOOD) OF FRANCE: with her added arms in the lower margin of each page with a historiated initial or small miniature: per pale, azure a semy of fleurs-de-lys or (France), impaled with per fess gules, a lion rampant queue fourchée argent (Bohemia), and barry argent and gules, a rampant lion azure, armed, langued, and crowned or (Luxembourg) (see L. Bouly de Lesdain, 'Les armoiries des femmes d’après les sceaux', Extrait de l’Annuaire du Conseil héraldique de France, 1898, p.23). Marie had four brothers and two sisters, King Charles V (the Wise) of France (r.1364-80), Louis I, Duke of Anjou (r.1360-84), John (1340-1416), Duke of Berry, Philip II (the Bold), Duke of Burgundy (r.1363-1404), Joan, Queen of Navarre (r.1352-73) and Isabella, Countess of Vertus (1348-73) who married Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1360. Marie's parents were major patrons of the arts. John the Good enjoyed literature and was patron to painters and musicians. Bonne is perhaps best known for her famous Psalter illuminated by Jean le Noir shortly before her death in 1349 and now at the Cloisters (New York, inv.69.86). In 1364, Marie's brother Charles V set about constructing a new library in the Louvre, which had hitherto been a fortress; by the time of his death in 1380, the library contained more than 900 manuscripts and one of his favourite illuminators, the Master of Charles V is named after him. John, Duke of Berry is primarily remembered as collector of important illuminated manuscripts such as the Très Riches Heures. Over the years he built up a legendary library of nearly 300 manuscripts, but his magnificent Books of Hours remain even today the crowning centrepiece. Marie is also known as a bibliophile and she is named as the dedicatee of the Roman de Mélusine by Jean d'Arras (M. Keane, Material Culture and Queenship in 14th-Century France, 2016, p.99). The French author wrote at the request of John, Duke of Berry, this prose romance in 1392-94. In his dedication to Marie, Duchess of Bar he expressed the hope that it would aid in the political education of her children.

The present manuscript was made for a young woman whose portrait appears in the full-page miniatures, with a strong predilection for the Franciscan order, to judge from the Use of the manuscript. The Franciscan devotion was widespread among women at the French court (see X. de La Selle, Le service des âmes à la cour : confesseurs et aumôniers des rois de France, du XIIIe au XVe siècle, 1995, pp.310-15). The lady for whom the manuscript was made appears first in the diptych on ff.164v-165r, where she kneels, accompanied by St Catherine of Alexandria and St John the Baptist, opposite the Virgin and Child enthroned, the Child holding out to her a butterfly with blue wings semé of fleurs-de-lys (the French royal arms). The same lady reappears similarly dressed in the diptych on ff.348v-349r where she kneels before St Louis, King of France, identified by his halo, crown and the fleurdelisé mantle; the facing page shows a Franciscan nun before St Louis of Anjou, Bishop of Toulouse, shown with halo, mitre and mantle of France differenced by a label gules.

Based upon the first diptych showing the manuscript's patroness accompanied by Sts Catherine of Alexandria and John the Baptist, the Sotheby's 1932 sale catalogue (see below) identified this patroness as Catherine of Valois, Empress of Constantinople (1307-46) who lived in Greece and died in Naples in 1346. Stylistic analysis suggests, however, a dating to c.1360. The armorial butterfly as well as the presence of the Sts King Louis and Louis of Anjou clearly indicate a strong connection with the Royal House of France (on the latter see most recently T. D'Urso, 'San Ludovico di Tolosa nei libri miniati ...', in Da Ludovico d'Angiò a san Ludovico di Tolosa. I testi e le immagini, 2017, pp.121-35).

Marie, Duchess of Bar and daughter of King John II of France, who added her coat of arms in the margins is most likely the original owner of the manuscript. Born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, about 20 km outside Paris in 1344, she married Robert I de Bar in 1364 and died in 1404. Around 1360 when the manuscript was made, she was still young and single, and indeed, St Catherine of Alexandria is the patron saint of young unmarried women. St John the Baptist whose presence has not been clarified in the past, could be explained as being the namesake for Marie's father, John II, King of France. It was probably he who commissioned the manuscript for his daughter.  

Originally, the portrait of the woman before St Louis of Anjou, Bishop of Toulouse, closely resembled that on the facing page before St Louis, King of France. A French illuminator working in a different style overpainted the portrait with that of a Franciscan nun. Based on stylistic evidence this was probably done in the early 15th century shortly after the death of Marie, Duchess of Bar, in 1404.

(2) An added page with ITALIAN ILLUMINATION includes two cuttings from a manuscript probably made in Ferrara in the 1460s which are enclosed by fine borders including putti supporting a COAT OF ARMS, coupé, au 1er parti, a dextre de gueules à la croix ancrée d’or, a senestre semé d’hermines, au 2e de gueules, the whole pasted onto a blank page in the manuscript (f.263v). The borders are different in style and were painted by another artist who presumably created the page at the demand of a new patron. We are grateful to Francesca Manzari who recognises the same artist in a Missal made for Guillaume d'Estouteville (1412-83), a French prelate who became one of the most influential members of the Curia in Rome (Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, MS 1906; see A. Torroncelli in Maria Vergine Madre Regina. Le miniature medievali e rinascimentali, 2000, no.34). Manzari suggests that the Casanatense Missal was started by the Florentine artist Bartolomeo Varnucci but that it was completed in Rome by our border illuminator after 1439 when D'Estouteville was made Cardinal. Manzari also recognises the same hand in the illumination of a papal document from between 1436 and 1444 (see F. Fabian, Prunkbittschriften an den Papst, 1931, p.114 no.4, pl.II). The artist's style suggests that he was originally trained in France although his activity can be traced only in Rome. The coat of arms look foreign to Italian armorials and may be linked to the houses of Anjou and Brittany. Several other additions were, however, made in Italy during the course of the 15th century. One scribe was responsible for added rubrics on f.265v that include mention of a decree of Pope Urban VI, dated 7 December 1378, and the table of Easter dates (f.584r/v) running from 1401 to 1500; the table on ff.272r-273v was probably added by another contemporary scribe. The last quires (ff.585r-602v) with swooping pen-flourishing and illuminated initials decorated with fleshy acanthus leaves on burnished gold grounds match the style of our border painter. It is most likely that the Breviary remained in the possession of a Frenchman who may have resided in Rome. An erased inscription in the lower border of folio 164r might have helped to identify the owner but examination under UV light has not been successful.   

(3) BARON JÉRÔME PICHON (1812-96), with his gilt leather bookplate with motto ‘Memor fui dierum antiquorum. Ps. CXLII’ (apparently in place of an older bookplate); his sale, Paris, 3-14 May 1897, lot 27; bought for 8,500 Francs, presumably by:

(4) BARON JOSEPH RAPHAËL VITTA (1860-1942), of Lyon, banker and bibliophile, lent by him in 1907 to the exhibition at the Bibliothèque nationale, Paris; apparently sold by his wife as ‘The Property of a Lady of Title’ in our rooms, 7 June 1932, lot 2, bought for £450 by Maggs; sold in the following year to:

(5) PHILIP S. COLLINS (1864-1943) of Philadelphia: his no.7, with his bookplate and loosely inserted notes. Philip Sheridan Collins was born in Philadelphia and spent most of his long working life at the Curtis Publishing Company, becoming the last surviving member of the group comprising Cyrus H. K. Curtis, Edward Bok, George Horace Lorimer, Charles G. Ludington and John B. Gribbel which had steered the company to its nationwide success and dominance. Collins was appointed, successively, director in 1909, general business manager in 1916, treasurer and business manager in 1927, and finally vice president and treasurer in 1928. He had developed the wide subscription-based network of the Ladies Home Journal and the methods that gave the Saturday Evening Post the largest circulation in the country by the time of his retirement in 1937. Collins contributed to the cultural environment of Philadelphia as well, organizing the public bequests of Edward Bok and becoming vice president of the Curtis Institute of Music. He was twice married, first to Anna Steffan by whom he had two sons, and, upon her death to her close friend Mary Schell. Together they collected medieval manuscripts, mostly Books of Hours. This Breviary was retained by Mary S. Collins when she gave the collection of 17 medieval manuscripts to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1945 as a memorial to her late husband (see Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, 58, 1962, pp.13-34); thence by descent.


JEAN PUCELLE was the most outstanding Parisian illuminator of the early 14th century. He was a favourite of the French court, and worked closely with a number of collaborators. At the end of the 14th century, long after Pucelle's death in 1334, Parisian manuscript illumination was still influenced by him. The Bible Moralisée made for John the Good, King of France from 1350 until his death in 1364, dates from the 1340s and was illuminated by no less than 15 artists working in Pucelle's style (Paris, BnF, fr.167; see F. Avril, 'Un chef-d'œuvre de l'enluminure sous le règne de Jean le Bon', Monuments et mémoires de la Fondation Eugène Piot, 58, 1972, pp. 91-125). The illuminator of the present Breviary (dubbed artist E in John the Good's Bible Moralisée) participated in a number of other works, notably a Marco Polo (Paris, BnF, fr. 5631), two copies of the Roman de la Rose (Oxford, Bodl., MS Selden Supra 57; Paris, BnF, fr.1565), the latter dated 1352, a fragmentary Breviary (Paris, BnF, NAL 887), a Commentary on the Bible in 24 volumes commissioned by Pope Clement VI (Valencia, MSS 2-25), one of the volumes dated 1353, and later in two copies of the Histoire universelle (Paris, BnF, fr. 246 and NAF 3576) of which the first is dated 1364, and a volume of a Bible historiale (Eton College, MS 3). Characteristic of the 'Pucelle style' is a new sense of three-dimensionality in modelled figures and architectural space. Most remarkable is the linear quality of the outline drawing and the refinement through soft shading.


Incipit ordo breviarii fratrum minorum secundum consuetudinem Romane curie …’, Temporale (f.3r); ‘Tabula’ of rubrics (f.255r); Office of the Trinity (f.260r); added 15th-century Italian decoration (f.263v) and suffrages to Sts Christopher and Barbara (f.264r); full-page miniatures (ff.264v-265r); Calendar (f.266r), the Franciscan feast Impressio stigmatum Francisci added to 17 Sept.; added list of incipits of the Psalms and a suffrage to Sts Denis, George, Blaise, Christopher, and Giles, in Italian script (f.272r); Psalter with antiphons and hymns (f.274r), followed by canticles and litany (f.346r); full-page miniatures (ff.348v-349r); Sanctorale (f.350r), from Saturninus to Catherine; the dedication of a church (f.534r); Common of saints (f.537r); Offices of the Virgin (f.563r) and the Dead (f.568v); near-contemporary added offices (f.573r) each with nine lections, of Sts Anne, Martha, and Louis of Toulouse, and various prayers (f.579r) including the Gospel Extracts, Passion narrative, and Hours of the Spirit, in French script (perhaps contemporary with the modification of the portrait on f.349r); additions in Italian script (f.585r): offices of the Visitation, Transfiguration, St Anne, the Conception, St Catherine, blessings for meals, etc., and three readings from the Life of St Barbara.

The subjects of the pairs of full-page miniatures are:

(1-2) The Crucifixion facing The Annunciation (ff.1v-2r); (3-4) A kneeling patroness attended by Sts Catherine and John the Baptist facing the Virgin and Child enthroned, the Child holding a butterfly whose wings are a semé of fleurs-de-lys (ff.264v-265r); (5-6) The patroness kneeling before the royal saint, St Louis (d.1270, canonised 1297) facing St Louis of Toulouse (d.1297, canonised 1317) with a Franciscan nun (ff.348v-349r).

The subjects of the smaller miniatures and historiated initials are:

(1) A prophet addressing a seated crowd (f.3r, miniature); (2) Nativity (f.28v); (3) Circumcision (f.49r); (4) Adoration of the Magi (f.54r); (5) St Paul preaching (f.69r); (6) Resurrection (f.161r); (7) Pentecost (f.195r); (8) Hannah praying before the priest Eli (f.200v); (9) Elevation of the Host by a priest attended by an angel (f.204v); (10) Gnadenstuhl Trinity (f.260r, miniature); (11) King David Harping, the bas-de-page with David and Goliath (f.274r); (12) David pointing to his eyes (f.284v); (13) David pointing to his mouth (f.291r); (14) The Fool (f.297r); (15) David in the waters, God above (f.303v); (16) David playing bells (f.311r); (17) Priests singing at a lectern (f.319r); (18) The Trinity (f.327v); (19) The Martyrdom of St Andrew (f.350v); (20) Presentation in the Temple (f.373v); (21) Annunciation (f.385v); (22) John the Baptist (f.419v); (23) Sts Peter and Paul (f.427r); (24) The Assumption of the Virgin (f.465v): (25) Nativity of the Virgin (f.478v); (26) All Saints (f.514r).


Catalogue des livres … de la Bibliothèque de M. le Baron P*****, Paris, 3-14 May 1897, lot 27, with plate.

Bibliothèque nationale, Exposition de portraits peints et dessinés du XIIIe au XVIIe siècle, 1907, pp.69-70 no.133.

Léopold Delisle, Recherches sur la librairie de Charles V, I, 1907, pp.334-35 (‘miniatures trés fines, d’un coloris trés leger’; the references to the Three Living and Three Dead are due to confusion with the Psalter-Hours of Bonne of Luxembourg).

Millard Meiss, French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: The Late XIVth Century and the Patronage of the Duke, 1967, pp.205, 392 note 31, and figs. 656, 657.

A. Pearson, Envisioning Gender in Burgundian Devotional Art, 1350–1530, 2007, fig.9 (cited as 'location unknown').