MS0064 Book of Hours, Paris Use, France, early 15th c.

152 leaves (17 x 12.5 cm.) Pointed Gothic script. 14 lines. Gatherings mostly of 8. Text in Latin and French: Calendar, Gospel Lessons, Seven salutations to St. Barbara (inserted), Hours of the Virgin, Psalms, Litany, Hours of the Cross, of the Holy Spirit, of the dead, Fifteen Joys of the Virgin, Prayers. 10 miniatures, 2 historiated initials and ivy vine borders with gold leaf. Binding: French, mottled brown calf with gilt ornament, 18th c.

The strength of Parisian influence during the late 14th and early 15th centuries drew talented illuminators from many outlying regions. The influx of masters from the north, especially Flanders, helped bring about distinctive changes in French style -- the mixture of Gothic elegance with emerging currents of an earthy naturalism. The spiraling ivy vines of gold and refined page design in this manuscript are counterpointed by an often course figure style and blunt realism that typify the personalized devotional imagery in Burgundian regions. A subject such as God the Father in Majesty (74r), portrayed in an elegant hieratic style, contrasts with the simple rusticity of the Adoration of the Magi (50r). The color scheme tends to rich blues, mauve, and orange. Dour facial expressions, heavy-lidded eyes, and decorative backgrounds associate this manuscript with the workshops of the Boucicaut and Egerton Masters active in Paris during the early decades of the 15th century.

Provenance: Chas. W. Reynell (inscription); Scribner's, N.Y.
Mr. and Mrs. S. Eberly Thompson collection (Ms. 5)