(1) THE LIBRARY OF THE CELESTINE CONVENT OF THE HOLY TRINITY, MARCOUSSIS (a royal foundation south of Paris, dedicated in 1408 in the presence of Jean, Duc de Berry), with their ownership inscription and shelfmark added by a later 15th-century hand: ‘Celestinorum de Marcoussiaco. 897’ (f.193r; perhaps written in 1457, cf. note in French on f.192r). The inclusion in the volume of texts by Jean Gerson, Chancellor of the University of Paris and perhaps the most important French theologian of his time, is especially interesting because his younger brother, also called Jean (1385-1434), a Celestine monk at Marcoussis from 1408 until 1415 when he was elected Prior, copied texts of his elder brother for Marcoussis; Jean the elder donated a number of manuscripts to Marcoussis (see G. Ouy, ‘Enquête sur les manuscrits autographes du chancelier Gerson ...’, Scriptorium, 16, 1961, pp.275-301). The interesting selection of texts was chosen perhaps by Jean Gerson or his brother and includes one of the earliest copies of one of Gerson's works composed in c.1411-12. (2) Still at Marcoussis in the 17th century: ownership inscriptions (ff.1r, 62v, 128v, 160v, 181v, and 186v). (3) Flyleaf notes suggest acquisition by a French-speaking collector in July 1948, his MS 3. (4) Private collection, Switzerland.
The illumination shows close parallels to the work of the Bedford Master but is characteristic of one of his disciples from the next generation, the so-called MASTER OF THOMAS HOO also known as MASTER OF JEAN POPINCOURT (see G. Clark, Art in a Time of War, 2016, pp.291-95). He was named after a Book of Hours made for that chancellor of Normandy and France during the English occupation at the end of the Hundred Years War (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 12 R 31), as well as a Book of Hours exhibited in Cologne in 1987 (J. Plotzek, Andachtsbücher des Mittelalters, 1987, no.21; Tenschert, Paris mon Amour, II, no.16). The very refined style of the Hoo/Popincourt Master in the present manuscript reflects the importance of the commission; this work may count among the earliest works of the Hoo/Popincourt Master at a time where the work of the Bedford Master came to an end.
TEXT AND ILLUMINATION
The main text, the Manipulus curatorum, is a manual for the secular clergy, in three parts. The first concerns the sacraments except penance, and the role of priests as successors of St Peter; the second concerns penance and confession; the third explains the Ten Commandments, Creed, and Pater noster.
Guido de Monte Roquiero (fl. 1330s), Manipulus curatorum (f.1), followed by a list of chapters (f.126v); Pseudo-Bonaventura, ‘Liber de castitate et mundicia sacerdotum et aliorum ministrorum altaris. Voce lamentabili et amaro corde …’ (f.129r), followed by list of chapters (f.160v); ‘Un exemple en francoys … On treuve que il fust un clerc vil et ort et luxurieux mais moult estoit devot a la vierge Marie …’ (f.162r); Jean Gerson (d.1429), De praeparatione ad missam post pollutionem nocturnam (composed c.1411-12, see G. Ouy, 'Discovering Gerson the Humanist ...', in A companion to Jean Gerson, 2006, p.21), ‘Dubitatum est apud me frequenter (f.163r), and De arte audiendi confessiones (f.182r); an unidentified, anonymous, treatise on confession: ‘Ad purgationis mentis seu consciencie …’ (f.187r); ‘De dignitate sacerdotus’ attributed here to Augustine, ‘O veneranda sacerdotum dignitas …’ (f.189r); Bernardus de Parentinis (d.1342?), a rhyming verse ‘Dictamen ad utilitatem sacerdotum’, ‘Viri venerabiles sacerdotes dei / Precones altissimi lucerne dei / …’ (f.189v); further short verses, the first beginning ‘Per dominum dicas cum patrem presbiter oras …’ (f.190v); table for the calculation of Easter, in French (ff.191v-192r), with explanation in Latin (f.192v-193r).
The subjects of the historiated initials are: (1) St Peter receiving two keys from God, while an angel places a papal tiara on his head (f.1R), (2) Confession: a priest absolving a penitent layman (f.63r), (3) Moses receiving the Tablets of the Law (f.111v).
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