186 leaves, 105mm. by 75mm., perhaps wanting two singletons once with miniatures before fols.23 and 89, else apparently complete, single column, 16 lines in dark brown ink in an accomplished angular late gothic hand, rubrics in red, capitals touched in yellow, numerous one-line initials in blue or gold with red or black penwork tracery, 2-line initials in burnished gold on red or blue grounds with white penwork, 5-line initials in white acanthus designs on dull-gold grounds, fourteen full borders of skilfully executed naturalistic flowers and numerous insects with some birds on dull-gold grounds, one 5-line historiated initial enclosing the Pietà (fol.179r) with three-quarter border in same, twelve full-page arch-topped miniatures (fols.15v, 28v, 37v, 58v, 71v, 77v, 83v, 92v, 101v, 108v, 118v, 139v; the last somewhat rubbed) with full borders as above, some small spots and stains, else excellent condition, sixteenth-century elaborately gilt-tooled dark green leather over pasteboards, spine rebacked, gilt-edge
1. Written and illuminated c.1500 for a male patron most probably from Bruges: the Obsecro te in the male form "famulo tuo" on fol.181v, and the local saint Donatian (14 October) in red in the Calendar.
2. T. Shadford Walker (1834-1885) of Liverpool, ophthalmologist, bibliophile and founding member and president of the Liverpool Art Club (cf. de Ricci, English Collectors, pp.155-56): his paper label on front flyleaf; his sale in our rooms, 23 June 1886, lot 207, for £17, 5sh. to Quaritch.3. Sold in our rooms 13 July 1977, lot 65, as the "property of Mrs Wiltshire" for £6000; and bought by the present owner.
The volume comprises: a Calendar (fol.3r); the Hours of the Cross (fol.16r); the Hours of the Holy Spirit (fol.23r); the Hours of the Virgin (fol.30r), with Matins (fol.38v), Lauds (fol.59r), Prime (fol.72r), Terce (fol.78r), Sext (fol.84r), None (fol.89r), Vespers (fol.94r), and Compline (fol.103r); the Seven Penitential Psalms (fol.119r) with a Litany (fol.131r); the Office of the Dead (fol.140r); and the Obsecro te (fol.179r).
The miniatures are by an accomplished follower of the so-called Master of the Prayer Books (active in Bruges from c.1485-1520), and shares his interest in additional and often everyday background detail, as in the notably detailed half-timber building in the background of the miniature of the Visitation of St. Anne (fol.58v), and the golden idol which has toppled to the ground in the corner of the Flight into Egypt (fol.101v). The artist is well versed in the popular compositions of late fifteenth-century Flemish art, and his Massacre of the Innocents (fol.92v) echoes that of a miniature in the Getty Museum by the Master of the Dresden Prayer Book (Bruges, 1480-85), while his David in prayer (fol.118v) finds a number of parallels (Illuminating the Renaissance, 2003, no.34), all most probably traceable back to the influence of the scene of Augustus and the Tiburtine Sibyl in the Grimani Breviary (facsimile 1974, no.28).
The miniatures comprise:
1. fol.15v, the Crucifixion, a procession returning to Jerusalem in the background.
2. fol.28v, the Virgin and Child
3. fol.37v, the Annunciation set within a detailed Romanesque church.
4. fol.58v, the Visitation of St. Anne to the Virgin.
5. fol.71v, the Nativity.
6. fol.77v, the Annunciation to the Shepherds.
7. fol.83v, the Visitation of the Magi.
8. fol.92v, the Massacre of the Innocents.
9. fol.101v, the Flight into Egypt, with a golden idol lying on the ground beside the path, next to its pedestal.
10. fol.108v, the Coronation of the Virgin.
11. fol.118v, David in prayer.
12. fol.139v, the Three Living and the Three Dead.
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