Search for over 80 million sold items in our price database

BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
Sold

About the item

BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM\n\n[Ghent or possibly Bruges, c.1505]\n228 x 160mm. 252 leaves in 30 gatherings, the full-page miniatures from ff.7 to 197 and ff.238 to 245 on inserted leaves [the full, rather complex collation published in the 1979 facsimile edition is available from the department], 18 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between 2 verticals and 19 horizontals ruled in red, text justification: 116 x 74mm, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials with staves of grey with white frondy penwork against grounds of brown with gold penwork decoration, line-endings of similar colours, devotions open with five- or six-line illuminated initials with staves of acanthus against coloured grounds, TWELVE FULL-PAGE CALENDAR BORDERS with camaeu d'or frames with roundels illustrative of the major feasts, zodiac signs and full-colour miniatures of occupations of the month, FIVE SMALL MINIATURES with accompanying full-page borders, SIXTY-SEVEN FULL-PAGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES WITH SURROUNDING BORDERS and matching borders on the facing pages, two further text-pages with full borders, all the borders of richly varied trompe l'oeil type, some with sprays of acanthus and strewn flowers and including insects and vignettes, some with camaeu d'or architectural surrounds with sculptural figures or reliefs, others with jewels and enamels against coloured grounds, individual borders of cloth of gold, peacock feathers, and pages where the border space contains narratives to augment or complement the subject of the miniature. (Lacking four leaves, three with miniatures and one with a full-page border, slight pigment losses from the backgrounds of two miniatures, ff.120v and 124v, small smudge on the edge of a border on ff.1v, 2, 5v and 125, otherwise in immaculate condition.)\n\nCONTENT:\n\nCalendar ff.1v-7; Prayer to the Holy Face Salve s[an]c[t]a facies ff.9r&v; Abbreviated Offices and Masses for the Days of the Week ff.10v-79: Trinity (f.11), Dead (f.23), Holy Spirit (f.33), All Saints (f.42), Sacrament (f.51 lacking opening), Holy Cross (f.60), Blessed Virgin (f.70); Gospel Extracts ff.79v-83: John (f.79v), Luke (f.80v), Matthew (f.81v), Mark (f.83); Office of the Virgin ff. 84v-140v: matins (f.85), lauds (f.100), prime (f.109), terce (f.113), sext (f.117), none (f.121), vespers (f.125), compline (f.131); Propers for the Office of the Virgin ff.135-140v; Prayers to the Virgin Obsecro te and O Intemerata ff.142-146v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.148-163v; Office of the Dead ff.165-196v; Seven Joys of the Virgin ff.198-199; Prayer to the name of Jesus ff.200-201; Indulgenced prayers of Gregory the Great beginning O Domine ih[es]u xp[rist]e adoro tem cruce ff.202-203; Suffrages ff.204-243: to a Guardian Angel (f.204), Archangel Michael (f.205), John the Baptist (f.206), John the Evangelist (f.207), St Peter (f.208), St Paul (f.209), St James (f.210), St Andrew (f.211), St Thomas (f.212), St Matthew (f.213), St Philip (f.214), St Bartholomew (f.215), St Cornelius (f.216), St Mark (f.217), St Barnabus (f.218), St Stephen (f.219), St Lawrence (f.220), St George (f.221), St Jerome (f.222), St Anthony Abbot (f.223), St Martin of Tours (f.224), St Hubert (f.225), St Francis (f.226), St Anne with the Virgin and Child (f.227), Mary Magdalene (f.228), St Catherine (f.229), St Barbara (f.230), St Clare (f.231), St Margaret (f.232), St Elisabeth (f.233), St Helena (f.234), Susanna (f.235), St Apollonia (f.236), All Saints (f.237), St Vincent (f.239), St Anthony of Padua (f.241), St Benedict (f.243); Indulgenced prayer to the Virgin opening Ave sanctissima maria mater dei regina celi f.244; Hymn of St Bernard opening Ave maris stella dei mater alma ff.246r&v; Athanasian creed ff.247-249v\n\nILLUMINATION:\n\nThis Book of Hours is one of a group of spectacular manuscrits-de-luxe that was produced between c.1490 to c.1520 for an international clientele and members of the Habsburg court in the Netherlands. These vast undertakings achieved their completion -- unlike so many earlier ambitious manuscript projects -- by the efficient co-ordination of labour and the collaboration of several artists and their workshops. The principal manuscripts of the group, and those most closely related to the present Hours, are a Book of Hours in the British Library (Add. Ms 35313), the Spinola Hours (J. Paul Getty Museum, Ludwig IX 18) and the Grimani Breviary (Venice, Bibl. Marciana Ms Lat. XI). With the Rothschild Prayerbook these are the most impressive productions of the illuminator sometimes called after the portrait in a Book of Hours in Vienna (NB cod.1897) the Master of James IV of Scotland. He is generally recognised as being the well documented Ghent artist Gerard Horenbout, who became court painter to Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, in 1515. As well as painting and illuminating he designed tapestries and stained glass. In the 1520s he moved to England with his family and appears in the accounts of the household of Henry VIII between 1528 and 1531.\n\nThere is no firm evidence for the original, intended owner of any of the above-mentioned manuscripts, although it has been suggested that the Spinola Hours were made for Margaret herself. It is likely that the Rothschild Prayerbook antedates Horenbout's entry into Margaret's household, but the quality of his work in this manuscript equals anything that he produced, and it was no doubt on the basis of her knowledge of such work that Margaret made the appointment. Whereas the London and the Spinola Hours have a few more miniatures than the Rothschild Prayerbook, they have fewer illuminated openings. This is the consequence of a variation in page-layout, for in both the London and Spinola Hours the opening of each devotion, except for the Suffrages, is marked with two miniatures, one each on verso and recto of the spread. The Prayerbook follows the more traditional pattern where the verso carries a miniature and faces a recto with a large initial and full-page border.\n\nIt is in the extra illuminated openings of the present manuscript that Horenbout painted some of his most exceptional works. The Calendar and Prayer to the Holy Face are followed by the uncommon inclusion of a sequence of Abbreviated Hours and Masses for the days of the week. This called for a resourceful iconographic expansion; since both Hour and Mass were to be illustrated it required the invention of a separate cycle of miniatures alternating with the straightforward representations of the subjects of the devotion. For this sequence Horenbout painted a unique series of liturgical images, showing various events in the celebration of the Mass on the appropriate feast-days. These scenes are thoughtfully devised and precisely observed, and they provide a fascinating record of contemporary liturgical practice and setting; beyond that, they are some of the finest and most remarkable of all Flemish miniatures. The description of the fabrics of the vestments, the integration of figures in architectural space, and the extensive and atmospheric recession are evoked with a detailed delicacy and a bravura naturalism.\n\nSeveral of the accompanying miniatures illustrating the Hours of this series -- all treating more routine subjects -- were painted by the Master of the Prayerbooks of c.1500. This illuminator, in spite of having been named after a Book of Hours in Vienna (NB, Cod. 1862), is best known for the delightful secular manuscripts that have been attributed to him, above all the Roman de la Rose in the British Library (Harley Ms 4425). In the present manuscript he also provided some of the miniatures in the Office of the Virgin, including the Nativity (f.108v) on one of the most colourful and engaging openings of the book. Here the borders around miniature and text are used to show other episodes from the biblical narrative with the lively addition of the scene of joyful, dancing shepherds.\n\nThese border scenes were the work of another artist, the Master of the Older Prayerbook of Maximilian I. This illuminator was named after a manuscript in Vienna (NB Cod. 1907). In the Rothschild Prayerbook, although Horenbout was responsible for the most prominent and important miniatures in the manuscript, the Older Prayerbook Master appears to have played a vital, if secondary, role. Designs that can be particularly associated with him and his contribution to other manuscripts are employed in a proportion of the subsidiary miniatures, especially in the Suffrages, and in borders with figural inclusions. Many of the latter derive from inventions first seen in manuscripts by the Master of Mary of Burgundy -- this is the case, for example, with the dogs eating a bird (f.230v), the lady arming a lion (f.213) and the ape riding a stag (f.224). These vignettes are also found in the margins of the Hours of Engelbert of Nassau (Oxford, Bodleian Library Douce 219-220), usually dated to the 1480s. It is back to this same source that the idea behind the design of two of the most striking borders in the Prayerbook can be traced: the peacock feathers (f.225v) and the skulls (f.164v). The Older Prayerbook Master is regarded as the most productive pupil of the Master of Mary of Burgundy, and he was one of the earliest to use the type of trompe l'oeil border that is so beautifully exemplified in the present manuscript.\n\nThe Older Prayerbook Master's contribution to the Hours of James IV of Scotland is particularly telling in regard to the use of common patterns. The Master and his workshop were responsible for most of the illumination, with Horenbout restricted to the portrait of the Scottish King. The borders of this manuscript are replicas of many in the Rothschild Prayerbook and include boys with spinning tops (of f.240v), the tournament (of f.229v), the battle between wild men and sea monsters (of f.211v), the bird catcher (of f.134v) and many of the individual figures. It seems unlikely that the two manuscripts should be dated very far apart. The Hours of James IV are usually thought to have been illuminated around the time of his marriage in 1503, and certainly before his death in 1513.\n\nNumerous manuscripts have been attributed to the Master of the Older Prayerbook of Maximilian and the miniatures they contain vary in quality and handling. The Rothschild Prayerbook, however, contains some of the most elegant and refined work in this style, for example the Evangelist (f.206v), Susanna and the Elders (f.234v), St Jerome (f.221v) and St Barbara (f.229v). These miniatures seem clearly to be by the same illuminator as the London Hours of William Lord Hastings (BL Add. Ms 54782), the manuscript that has been described as the masterpiece of the Older Prayerbook Master, and a seminal work of the late Flemish tradition.\n\nCorrespondences between the discernable career and influence of the Older Prayerbook Master and the documented life of the illuminator Alexander (or Sanders) Bening, have led to the suggestion that they may be one and the same. Bening joined the guild in Ghent in 1469 and died there in 1519. This identification is supported by the presence in this manuscript of miniatures by his son Simon (c.1483-1561). The most remarkable, and the miniature given the most individual framing in the book, is the Vision of St Bernard (f.245v). Although this is likely to be an early work, the subtlety of handling in the modelling of flesh, and the description of fabric and form demonstrate why Bening went on to become the most celebrated illuminator of his day. Bening's Miracle of the Ass and St Anthony of Padua (f.240v) is a reversed version of Gerard David's painting in the Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio.\n\nThe work and style of David was an important and enduring influence upon Bening, and one image in the Prayerbook -- an image of breath-taking beauty -- seems attributable to the Bruges Master. The Virgin and Child on a Crescent Moon (f.197v), which introduces the Joys of the Virgin, is treated in a quite different manner from the other miniatures of the manuscript. It is presented as an independent icon; within a narrow pearl-studded frame the three-quarter-length figure is isolated against a golden radiance, two small angels holding the crown of the Queen of Heaven above her head. The drapery and figure style suggest that the composition was drawn by the Older Prayerbook Master, and the angels were clearly also painted by him. But the young mother and her infant son are portrayed with an unsurpassed delicacy and an artistry that manages to convey their feelings and relationship as well as their appearance. It is as much the investment of this sensibility as the touching charm of the pair that marks out this miniature as the work of David, and makes it comparable with his Virgin among Virgins in New York (Pierpont Morgan Library M. 659).\n\nThe intermingling of contributions by more than one illuminator to a page, or even to a miniature, raises questions about the organisation and location of production, and suggests the close physical proximity of the collaborating painters. It also makes a vexed question of the attribution of some folios; nowhere more so than in the Suffrages. In this section of the manuscript where the miniatures are integral with the text, and most bifolia carry two illustrations, the collaboration or successive involvement of different artists is at its most intimate and confusing. A number of the compositions are recognisably from the repertoire of the Older Prayerbook Master, for example St Peter (f.207v), St Stephen (f.218v) and St Anthony Abbot (f.222v), but the technique, palette, and accomplishment differ from one miniature to another. Often even the two miniatures on a single bifolium appear to have been painted by different artists. Scholarly opinion over authorship has varied and the names of different illuminators have been invoked in connection with some of these miniatures: the workshop of Gerard David, Gerard Horenbout and Simon Bening among them. A confident and convincing attribution of a proportion of these miniatures remains to be made. One thing remains beyond dispute: they are of an extraordinary high quality. Several of the most arresting -- usually based upon a design, if not a drawing, from the Older Prayerbook Master -- can be grouped around the miniature of St Stephen (f.218v). These figures convey an impression of concerned preoccupation, are solidly three-dimensional -- their bodies and the drapery clothing them described with weight and volume -- the texture and sheen of fabrics are realistically evoked, and the backgrounds are often detailed and deeply recessive. In these last two characteristics at least, if not in the form or fashion of drawing faces, they are similar to the work of Horenbout. Two of this group are particularly instructive: St Lawrence (219v) and St Vincent (238v) are clearly based on the same pattern, even to drapery folds and a wart on the cheek, yet the setting is an entirely fresh invention fitting for each saint. Female saints painted in this manner include St Clare (f.230v) and St Helena (f.233v). This illuminator was also the author of the series of half-length saints in the Hortulus Animae in Vienna (NB 2706), and his work appears in several other manuscripts, including the London and the Spinola Hours, alongside Horenbout, the Older Prayerbook Master and Simon Bening.\n\nEVERY ASPECT OF THIS BOOK OF HOURS -- FROM THE QUALITY OF THE PARCHMENT TO THE WEALTH AND REFINEMENT OF THE DECORATION -- PLACES IT AMONG THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS AND EXQUISITE EXAMPLES OF FLEMISH MANUSCRIPT ILLUMINATION. THE SALE OF A WORK OF THIS IMPORTANCE AND PROVENANCE IS LIKELY TO BE A UNIQUE EVENT.\n\nMINIATURES AND BORDERS:\n\nEach Calendar page has a border within a camaeu d'or frame. As part of this structure the inner border contains fictive sculptural figures of standing saints and the outer margin fictive reliefs illustrating the major feasts, the 'red-letter days', of the month; the relevant zodiac sign is shown against a ground of red, grey or blue patterned in gold in the upper border, while appropriate labours or occupations are acted out in the lower border. This Calendar is almost identical to that of the London Hours (Add. Ms 35313), although the feasts are not the same. Both are a selective, and spatially more restricted version, of the Calendar painted by Horenbout in the Breviary of Eleanor of Portugal (Pierpont Morgan Library M.52).\n\nThe subjects of the illuminations are as follows:\n\nf.1v A man warming himself before a fire, a woman laying food on a table behind him, a man in pattens walking in the snow, 4 roundels illustrating saints or sacred history (January)\n\nf.2 Three men gathering wood in the foreground, in the middle distance a man ploughing and a woman carrying a bundle, a distant prospect of river and mountains, 3 roundels with saints or scenes from sacred history (February)\n\nf.2v Two men digging, one of them in a walled garden where one woman is planting and two others look on, a grand house in the right background and a river in flood in the left, a roundel with the Annunciation (March)\n\nf.3 Two shepherds letting sheep and cattle out to pasture from an enclosure with two timber-frame buildings, one containing a dairymaid, 2 roundels illustrating saints (April)\n\nf.3v A river scene with two couples and a dog in a boat bedecked with foliage, hailed by a boy in a boat ahead of them, and watched by a heron on one bank and three hawking men on the other, a house in the distance, 2 roundels with saints (May)\n\nf.4 Three shepherds shearing their sheep in a field with a barn and timber-frame buildings, a pool with geese on the right and a farmhouse in the distance, 5 roundels with saints (June)\n\nf.4v Hay-making, two men scything and a woman turning hay, an approaching woman bringing lunch, 5 roundels with saints or scenes from biblical history (July)\n\nf.5 Harvesting, two men cutting corn while a woman ties sheaves, a distant cart and driver, 5 roundels with scenes from the legends of saints (August)\n\nf.5v Ploughing, in the foreground a man behind a plough pulled by two horses, a man sowing seeds in the middle distance, 5 roundels with scenes from the legends of saints (September)\n\nf.6 In the foreground a slaughterhouse with three men about to kill a tethered bull, two other men holding another beast outside, on the left men taking their baskets of grapes towards a barn where others operate a press, 5 roundels with saints (October)\n\nf.6v Two men breaking flax on the left, a woman feeding pigs in a combined sty and dovecote on the right, farm-buildings in the background including a barn where threshing is taking place, 6 roundels with scenes from the legends of saints (November)\n\nf.7 A man and a woman slaughtering a hog, on the left a building with two women tending an oven and another doing the washing in a long trough, 9 roundels with figures of saints and an arch-topped scene of the Nativity (December)\n\nAll the full-page miniatures, with the exception of the Virgin and Child on a Crescent Moon (f.197v), are themselves surrounded by borders and have matching or complementary borders on the facing recto where the devotion opens.\n\nThe subjects of these miniatures and the types of borders are as follows:\n\nf.8v Outside the city gates St Veronica, with a group of heavily armed soldiers at her back, holds up the vernicle imprinted with the image of Christ's face, she is shown three-quarter length, in the distance Christ carries the Cross on the way to Calvary; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of pink, border on the facing recto of similar type with the incipit of the prayer in gold letters\n\nf.10v Trinity: with God the Father in a papal tiara holding the body of Christ in his lap, the Dove of the Holy Spirit hovering between their heads, two adoring angels in the foreground; the border space used to continue the composition with encircling ranks of angels in red, blue and camaeu d'or, on the facing recto the border similarly arranged with an arc of saints and scrolls with Benedicta sic Sancta Trinitas. Benedicamu[s] Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu in blue capitals\n\nf.16v Mass: in the choir of a church a priest and deacons, dressed in the green vestments appropriate to Trinity, celebrate the Mass before an altar with a carved altarpiece and a 'vision' of the Trinity above it, three acolytes at the right edge of the picture, behind this group a view into the transept beyond; within a border with sprays of camaeu d'or acanthus and blue and white flowers on a ground of pink, border on the facing recto of the same type\n\nf.22v Raising of Lazarus: with the raised man wrapped in a winding sheet kneeling beside his tomb, Christ blessing surrounded by the Apostles, a townscape including a church behind them; within a border with scattered flowers and fruit and a butterfly against a yellow ground speckled with gold, some in a maiolica vase, border on the facing recto of the same type but without the vase and including a trompe l'oeil fly and a butterfly\n\nf.28v Funerary Mass: in a gothic chapel before an altar with an altarpiece of the Raising of Lazarus assembled mourners gather around the pall and candles laid out in the foreground, a deacon and a boy hand out tapers and the celebrant offers a mourner the paten to be kissed; within a border of cloth of gold with a large stylised thistle design in slate grey, border on the facing recto in cloth of gold predominantly of grey-blue with a smaller repeated design of foliage and thistle-heads\n\nf.32v Pentecost: in a large hall with round-headed arches and with romanesque columns in the loggia outside, the Virgin kneels at a prie-dieu surrounded by the Apostles, the Dove of the Holy Spirit hovering above them, a buffet with pewter displayed on the rear wall and a view into a bedroom beyond; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of grey and with figures of boys playing with hobby horses and whirligigs in the predella-like space beneath the miniature, border on the facing recto of similar type with Veni sancte in capitals\n\nf.37v One deacon reads at a lectern while the thurible held by another is prepared by a server, the celebrant, his hands folded in prayer, stands before the altar to one side of a rood-screen with painted wooden sculpture, the congregation standing both before and beyond a gothic arch leading into a large vaulted space with stained glass windows and a view into the street beyond, at the top of the miniature a blue glory with the dove of the Holy Spirit; within a border with sprays of grey-white acanthus and pale flowers against a ground of yellow speckled with gold, border on the facing recto of similar type but including a man riding a pony loaded with a dead calf, and with a trompe l'oeil fly\n\nf.41v All Saints: the Trinity with God the Father and Christ seated beside one another on a carved bench the Dove of the Holy Spirit between them, with two ranks of the Saints separated by circles of clouds; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of pink, border on the facing recto of similar type but including Sancta Dei Ge[netrix] in capitals\n\nf.46v Mass with the celebrant raising the paten in front of two deacons before the altar in the choir of a romanesque church, at the top of the miniature is a 'vision' with All Saints in a glory; within a border of strewn flowers against a ground of yellow speckled with gold, border on the facing recto of similar type but including a maiolica vase\n\nf.55v Celebrant raising the host at the altar, deacons, acolytes and communicants behind him, in the middle distance an ornate late gothic tabernacle for the reservation of the host; within a border containing Caro mea vere est cibus et sang[uis] in camaeu d'or capitals on a ground of grey, border on the facing recto of similar type with Exultate Deo adiutori n[ost]ro iubilate Deo. Iacob\n\nf.59v Crucifixion: Christ and the thiefs on their crosses, the Virgin, Magdalen and John the Evangelist, and Stephaton silhouetted against the sky, numerous other characters, among them Longinus, on the level below; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural relief forms, border on the facing recto of similar type, all six scenes depicted in the 'reliefs' on the two pages are from the Passion of Christ\n\nf.65v Celebration of the Mass before an altar in a romanesque church, the priest, his arms outstretched facing the chalice, and a bespectacled, kneeling deacon reading his missal, another deacon standing, four lay bystanders; within a border of composite sprays of acanthus fruit and flowers between medallions of blue and white enamel against a ground of yellow speckled with gold and with butterflies and a trompe l'oeil fly, border on the facing recto of similar type\n\nf.69v Virgin and Child among music-making angels in front of a red cloth of honour in a hortus conclusus; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of blue, border on the facing recto of similar type but including Post Partum in capitals\n\nf.75v Celebration of the Mass: the celebrant kissing the pax offered by a deacon, another deacon and an acolyte kneeling, all before an altar with an altarpiece with closed wings showing the Annunciation below a panel with the Virgin clothed in the sun; within a border with flower-heads scattered against a ground of yellow speckled with gold, a butterfly and a snail, border on the facing recto of similar type\n\nf.79v St John on Patmos (small miniature); within a border with sprays of grey and gold acanthus and pink and orange flowers against a grey ground\n\nf.80v St Luke with his ox writing in a bedchamber, his portrait of the Virgin on an easel (small miniature); within a pink, gold-hatched border with jewels and Ave gracia plena dominus tecum in capitals\n\nf.81v St Matthew writing in a study (small miniature); within a border with flower-heads scattered against a yellow ground speckled with gold\nf.83 St Mark writing his gospel (small miniature); within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of grey\n\nf.84v Annunciation: the Virgin, kneeling at a prie-dieu on a hexagonal plinth before a green canopy with curtains held back by angels, turns to face forward as Gabriel, his arm raised in salutation, greets her, the Dove of the Holy Spirit hovers above her head, through the open doorway to the left a town is visible, on the steps before the Virgin lie a basket and book-bag; within a border of grey with entwined stems and the inscription Ecce ancilla domini fiat michi in capitals of camaeud'or and with pendant jewels, border on the facing recto of similar type with the inscription Spiritus sanctus super veniet in te et virtus\n\nf.99v Visitation: in an extensive landscape with distant blue hills and mountains, a large draw-bridged house in the middle distance, St Elisabeth moves forward and greets and touches the Virgin; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of green, border on the facing recto of similar type but including Assumpta est in capitals\n\nf.108v Nativity: in a ruined stable the Virgin and three angels kneel in adoration around the naked Christ Child, the ass to the left and Joseph and a midwife looking on from a doorway at the rear, three singing angels and a further adoring angel at roof level and God the Father blessing in a glory above; within a narrative border with a continuous scene, with the lower half a street scene where Joseph and the Virgin, with ox and ass, approach the innkeeper's wife standing in a doorway, on a hill above the town three shepherds guard their flock while the skies part to reveal an angel, border on the facing recto with the annunciating angel above a group of shepherds and shepherdesses dancing around their sheep to the music of another shepherd playing bagpipes\n\nf.112v Annunciation to the Shepherds: in the foreground among leafless trees a seated, spinning shepherdess, she and five shepherds look up at the angel announcing the birth of Christ with an inscription in gold letters; within a border with flower-heads scattered against a ground of yellow speckled with gold and including a snail, border on the facing recto of similar type with a trompe l'oeil fly\n\nf.116v Adoration of the Magi: with the stable as the background, the three kings kneel before the Virgin and Child, Joseph stands behind them; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of red, border on the facing recto of similar type but including In odorem p[rimus] d[avid]i[s] est in capitals\n\nf.120v Presentation in the Temple: before a curtained altar with a gothic carved altarpiece with a figure of Moses, the Virgin hands the Christ Child to Simeon, Joseph, a servant girl and an acolyte look on; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of pink, border on the facing recto of similar type but including Dhes vmx in capitals\n\nf.124v Flight into Egypt: Joseph leads a long-eared ass bearing the Virgin, who wears a broad-brimmed hat, and the Christ Child, swaddled in red, through a rocky and barren landscape; within a border with flower-heads scattered against a ground of yellow speckled with gold and including a snail and butterfly, border on the facing recto with jewels and enamels 'pinned' to a dark grey ground\n\nf.130v Death of the Virgin: the Virgin lies in a bed with green hangings surrounded by the Apostles, at the front of the bed John holds back the curtain and a kneeling disciple reads from a book, another kneels at the foot of the bed and behind it St Peter reads to the Virgin while the other eight saints crowd behind him; within a border with flower-heads scattered against a ground of yellow speckled with gold and including a butterfly, border on the facing recto of similar type including a glass containing a lily, daisies and forget-me-nots
GB
GB
GB

notes

f.134v Coronation of the Virgin: God the Father and God the Son are shown as two identical figures enthroned with the Dove of the Holy Spirit between them, one holding the crown above the head of the Virgin who kneels before them on a red cushion and is attended by four angels, one playing the lute; within a border with a continuous setting of a gothic church interior, three figures in the lower margin, two kneeling men and one seated woman, all of them reading from books or a scroll by the light of a gigantic taper, border on the facing recto with a continuous landscape setting with hills, house and a pool and, in the lower border, a bird-catcher crouched in the inner corner, blowing a whistle, his caged decoy bird next to him and the open trapping cage in the outer corner

f.141v Lamentation at the foot of the Cross: St John the Evangelist supports the corpse of Christ, the Three Maries, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea kneel or crouch behind it; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of pink, border on the facing recto of similar type

f.145 border of camaeu d'or acanthus sprays and flower heads against an orange-brown ground (lacks facing miniature)

f.147v David in Prayer: a half-length David, his hands raised in supplication to the small figure of God appearing at the top of the miniature, is shown before an elaborate complex of buildings, presumably his palace; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of brown, border on the facing recto of similar type

f.164v Burial service: outside the porch of a large church mourners, clerics and gravediggers stand as two ?Franciscans lower the coffin into the ground as the burial service is read, the gravediggers on the left and the mourners behind the officiating clergy on the right, in the background a townscape with a river or canal basin and several buildings including the city hall; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a ground of grey and with the inscription Ve ve diei quia ivxt[a] est dies d[omi]ni down the side, a niche below the miniature containing skulls above the inscription dies d[omi]ni sicut fur ve[net], border on the facing recto with panelled embrasures, each containing a skull, bones along the top

f.197v Virgin and Child on a crescent moon: half-length figure of the Virgin clothed in pale blue and supporting the Christ Child on her right arm, the infant looking up at his contemplative mother as he takes from her the fruit signifying his Passion, two small angels holding a jewelled crown above the Virgin's head, all against a background of rich golden yellow with an aura of gold rays around the figures of the Virgin and Child; within a simple frame studded with pearls, border on the facing recto of scattered flower-heads and entwined stems of pink and grey against a yellow background speckled with gold, in the lower border a woman pushing a barrow with a gigantic basket containing sprays of flowers -- columbine, strawberries, viola and pink -- accompanied by a man dragging a huge stem of roses without thorns, a butterfly and a trompe l'oeil fly

f.199v Christ Child with angels with the instruments of the Passion; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms, border on the facing recto of similar type against a ground of red

f.201v Mass of St Gregory: Gregory, shown in rear view kneeling before an altar with Christ as the Man of Sorrows with ghostly apparitions of the instruments and agents of his Passion around him; within a border with camaeu d'or acanthus sprays and pale flower-heads against a ground of blue, border on the facing recto of similar type with a figure of a woman carrying a fowl under her arm and a wicker cage on her head

f.203v Guardian angel: half-length figure of an angel holding a sceptre; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a brown ground, border on the facing recto with an angel following a Franciscan hermit towards his perilously perched tree-house, which is at the top of the right border and has a cat perched above its roof

f.204v St Michael: half-length figure of the archangel against a cloth of red; within a border with camaeu d'or acanthus sprays and flower-heads against a ground of grey, border on the facing recto of similar type

f.205v John the Baptist: the Baptist stands on the bank of the Jordan and indicates to three other men the figure of Christ in the middle distance; within a border of scattered flower-heads and a butterfly on a yellow ground speckled with gold, border on the facing recto of similar type

f.206v John the Evangelist: the saint stands before a gold cloth of honour in a rocky landscape; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a blue ground, border on the facing recto of similar type with Valde honoran[dus] in capitals

f.207v St Peter: the saint is shown in half-length in a gothic interior, two men visible through the arch in the background; within a border of scattered flower-heads on a yellow ground speckled with gold, including butterflies, a caterpillar, trompe l'oeil flies and a man fighting a small dragon, border on the facing recto of similar type but only including flies

f.208v St Paul: the saint is shown in half-length against an extensive landscape with a city in the background; within a border with camaeu d'or acanthus sprays and flower-heads against a ground of blue, border on the facing recto of similar type

f.209v St James: the saint is shown in half-length against rocky outcroppings beside the shore; within a border with a pearl-studded lattice surrounding enamelled and mounted jewels and with cockleshells at the interstices, all against a ground of red, border on the facing recto of similar forms but without the shells and with larger pearls

f.210v St Andrew: the saint is shown in half-length outside a castle or city walls; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a grey ground with Dilexit Andream in capitals, border on the facing recto of similar type but on a pink ground

f.211v St Thomas: the saint stands in the choir of a church (compare f.46v); within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a blue ground, border on the facing recto with a continuous scene with a battle between a wild man astride a sea monster and another sea monster in the lower border and, in the side border, four other wild men running from their cave, clubs at the ready to join the fray

f.212v St Matthias: the saint stands before an altar beside the rood screen of a church (compare f.37v); within a border of scattered flower-heads on a yellow ground speckled with gold, border on the facing recto of similar type but including a young lady putting a helmet on the head of a lion

f.213v St Philip: the saint is shown in half-length in a landscape near a large residence; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a pink ground, border on the facing recto of similar type but on a grey ground

f.214v St Bartholomew: the saint stands before a cloth of honour in a wooded landscape; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms with a pendant jewel, border on the facing recto of pearl-studded lattice with enamelled and jewelled pendants on a black ground

f.215v St Cornelius: the saint is shown three-quarter-length before a cloth of honour in front of the walled grounds of a large building; within a border of scattered flower-heads on a yellow ground speckled with gold including a pair of chaffinches and a butterfly, border on the facing recto of similar type with a trompe l'oeil fly

f.216v St Mark: the saint stands before a cloth of honour inside a romanesque church (compare f.65v); within a border of dark yellow speckled with gold and the inscription per dominum nostrum I[esum] in white capitals, border on facing recto of similar type with in omnem terram exivit sonus eorum et in fines o[rbis]

f.217v St Barnabus: the saint is shown in half-length against an extensive and varied landscape; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a green ground, border on the facing recto of similar type including Constitues eos in capitals

f.218v St Stephen: the saint is shown in half-length, the stones of his martyrdom gathered up in his dalmatic, against a landscape with a craggy outcrop, a fortified house beside a lake and rolling fields; within a border of prickly-leaved stems with pale blue and white flower-heads against a ground of red, border on the facing recto of similar type but including a snail and a butterfly and against a ground of green

f.219v St Lawrence: the saint is shown in half-length before a cloth of honour in front of a river or canal outside the walls of a city; within a border of scattered flower-heads and a maiolica vase with a daisy, forget-me-not, viola and a pink with a perching butterfly, border on the facing recto of similar type without the vase

f.220v St George and the dragon: the saint on a prancing red-caparaisoned steed lances the head of the dragon crouched in the foreground, the princess, accompanied by a sheep and her hands clasped in prayer, kneels and waits, in the background a distant castle with the battlements and windows filled with the heads of onlookers; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a grey ground, border on the facing recto of similar type including Exultent ius[ti] in capitals

f.221v St Jerome: the saint, dressed as a Cardinal, sits reading outside a monastery wall, his ass laden with wood and the lion whose paw he healed approach him, perhaps after the lion has rescued the ass and returns him to Jerome; within a border with crossed cameu d'or twigs and pendant enamelled jewels against a brown ground, border on the facing recto of similar forms but the twigs entwined and with ora pro nobis b[e]ate in capitals

f.222v St Anthony Abbot: the saint and his pig stand in a wooded landscape; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a blue ground, border on the facing recto of similar type

f.223v St Martin of Tours: the saint is shown three-quarter-length before a cloth of honour in the courtyard of a complex of buildings; within a border of grey-white acanthus sprays with pink, blue and orange flower-heads against a rich yellow ground speckled with gold, a dog holding bagpipes and standing on his hind legs in the lower border, border on the facing recto of similar type but with an ape riding a stag through the lower border

f.224v St Hubert: the saint stands in a romanesque church (compare f.16v) with the stag with the crucifix between his antlers; within a frame of wood panelling with black cloth pinned to each panel and a pendant jewel pinned to the black cloth, border on the facing recto with pearl-studded lattice with mounted rubies at the interstices and a gold and pearl (or crystal?) acorn hanging against the black ground

f.225v The Stigmatisation of St Francis of Assisi: the saint at La Verna receiving the wounds from the crucified seraph, Brother Leo asleep to the left; within a border patterned with peacock feathers, border on the facing recto of the same type

f.226v St Anne with the Virgin and Child: the saint sits on a cushion in a flowery meadow before a large residence, the Virgin sits at her feet the Christ Child standing in her lap and reaching over to look at a book held by Anne; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a blue ground and with Scancta Anna in capitals below the miniature, border on the facing recto of similar type with ora pro no[bi]s continuing below the text

f.227v Mary Magdalene: the saint is shown three-quarter-length in a verdant rural landscape; within a border with scattered flowers and a butterfly against a yellow ground speckled with gold, including a creature half-lizard half-woman holding a mirror in the lower border, border on the facing recto of similar type but including a snail

f.228v St Catherine: the saint is shown in half-length against a backdrop of trees and buildings; within a border with sprays of camaeu d'or acanthus with pink, blue and white flower-heads and snails against a brown ground, border on the facing recto of similar type with a bird and butterfly

f.229v St Barbara: the saint is shown three-quarter-length in a tussocky meadow with large buildings, including her tower under construction, in the background; within a border with sprays of camaeu d'or acanthus with blue and white flower-heads against a pink ground, border on the facing recto with a continuous scene of a tournament, the charging knights in the lower border and five on-looking ladies on a dais in the outer margin, a castle behind them

f.230v St Clare: the saint is shown in half-length with the walled grounds of a monastery behind her; within a border with flower-heads, a trompe l'oeil fly and a maiolica vase containing violas, a pansy and an iris with a butterfly perched on it against a rich yellow ground speckled with gold, border on the facing recto of similar type with a dragonfly and two dogs eating a bird

f.231v St Margaret: in a vaulted crypt the saint steps demurely from the stomach of the dragon who has keeled over before completely swallowing the hem of her mantle; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a pink ground, border on the facing recto of similar type with Specie tua et in capitals in the lower border

f.232v St Elisabeth of Hungary: the saint is shown three-quarter-length giving alms to a beggar kneeling beside her in front of a church; within a border with flower-heads scattered against a yellow ground speckled with gold and including a peacock and a dragonfly, border on the facing recto of similar type with two butterflies

f.233v St Helena: the saint is shown in half-length with a city behind her; within a border with pink, red and white roses and rosebuds scattered against a yellow ground speckled with gold, including a trompe l'oeil fly and a donkey with two apes in a pannier, border on the facing recto of grey-blue and white violets scattered against a yellow ground speckled with gold and including two butterflies and a peahen

f.234v Susanna and the elders: Susanna, her feet bare and her skirt hoisted over one arm, steps into a tank in a fenced garden, beyond the fence two men peep through the trees to watch her, a large palace in the background; within a border with curling twigs in camaeu d'or around pearls and enamelled jewels against a ground of red, border on the facing recto with pearl-studded lattice with enamelled jewels and an enamelled lozenge with St Veronica holding the vernicle on a blue-grey ground

f.235v St Apollonia: the saint is shown three-quarter-length against a cloth of honour, a house visible in the background to the left; within a border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a grey ground, border on the facing recto of similar type with Diffusa est in capitals in the lower border

f.236v All Saints: a procession of saints, led by the Virgin with attendant angels, winds through a rolling landscape, the giant figure of St Christopher visible towards the rear; within a border of scattered flower-heads on a yellow ground speckled with gold and including a small ape holding a cornflower, border on the facing recto of similar forms but including two men carrying a gigantic bunch of grapes

f.237v St Vincent: the saint is shown in half-length inside a gothic porch with partly glazed windows including armorial stained glass, scenes from his legend visible through the unglazed windows and doorway; within a border with entwined camaeu d'or twigs and enamelled flower jewels and pearls against a ground of red, border on the facing recto of similar type

f.240v St Anthony of Padua and the miracle of the ass: the kneeling Franciscan and ass watch the levitating host in a cobbled street in a Flemish town, a group of citizens look on; within a border painted in camaeu d'or and showing two boys with whips and tops playing on the steps of a gothic church, border on the facing recto of cloth of gold with a tan ground

f.242v St Benedict at Subiaco: in the foreground the saint sits reading outside his cave in a barren cliff-face, while St Romanus approaches with his meal, a devil above the saint attempts to break the bell that will alert Benedict to the arrival of food; within a border with acanthus sprays and flower-heads on a divided ground of pink, green, red and blue, border on the facing recto of similar type

f.244 full-page border of camaeu d'or architectural and sculptural forms against a red ground, with a relief of a pope in prayer before an altar and the inscription xi m[ilia] annoru[m] indulgenciarum dedit sextus papa 4s cuilib[et] dicentibus hanc oracionem in small capitals

f.245v St Bernard of Clairvaux and his vision of the Virgin and Child: in a romanesque church the saint, in Cistercian habit, kneels at the feet of the Virgin and Child; within an elaborate frame of open tracery with small figures, below the miniature the inscription monstra te esse matrem in gold capitals against a ground of red, the text on the facing recto framed symmetrically and with an inscription virgo singularis

f.247 St Athanasius (small miniature): the saint wearing the cope and

mitre of a bishop standing in a church; within a border with a

continuous scene showing Hercules planting the pillars at the end of

the world, a boat with three men on open water, cliffs in the

background, two of the men row and steer the boat while Hercules,

wearing full armour, lowers a column into the water, a second column

lies in the boat

On the basis of the dominant style of painting the main miniatures can be grouped as follows:

Gerard Horenbout/Master of James IV of Scotland: 8v, 16v, 28v, 32v,

37v, 46v, 55v, 59v, 65v, 75v, 84v, 99v, 130v, 134v, 164v, 242v

Master of the Prayerbooks of circa 1500: 10v, 22v, 41v, 108v, 112v,

116v, 120v, 124v

Master of the Older Prayerbook of Maximilian and associates: 69v, 141v, 147v, 199v, 201v, 205v, 206v, 211v, 214v, 216v, 221v, 225v, 226v, 229v, 231v, 232v, 234v, 235v, 236v

Master of the Hortulus Animae half-lengths: 207v, 208v, 209v, 215v, 218v, 219v, 223v, 227v, 228v, 230v, 233v, 238v

Simon Bening: 240v, 245v

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

F. Schestag, Katalog der Kunstsammlung des Freiherrn Anselm von Rothschild in Wien (Vienna 1872)

Rothschild Gebetbuch: vollstndige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat des Codex Vindobonensis Series nova 2844 der sterreichischen Nationalbibliothek. Codices Selecti LXVII (Graz, 1979), 2 vols, commentary by E. Trenkler

P. de Winter, 'A Book of Hours of Queen Isabel la Catlica', The Bulletin of The Cleveland Museum of Art, LXVII (1981), pp.342-427

J.M. Plotzek, Die Handschriften der Sammlung Ludwig (Cologne 1982), ii, pp.256-285

T. Kren, Renaissance Painting in Manuscripts: Treasures from the British Library, (1983), pp.63-68

F. Unterkircher, Das Rothschild-Gebetbuch: die schnsten Miniaturen eines flmischen Stundenbuches (Graz 1984)

F. Unterkircher, Das Stundenbuch des Mittelalters (Graz 1985)

D. Thoss, Flmische Buchmalerei: Handschriftenschtze aus dem Burgunderreich, (Graz 1987)

B. Brinkmann, Die Flmische Buchmalerei am Ende des Burgunderreichs: Die Meister des Dresdener Gebetbuchs und die Miniaturen seiner Zeit (Turnhout 1997)

M. Smeyers, L'Art de la Miniature flamand du viiie au xvie sicle (Tournai 1998)

title

BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

medium

228 x 160mm. 252 leaves in 30 gatherings, the full-page miniatures from ff.7 to 197 and ff.238 to 245 on inserted leaves [the full, rather complex collation published in the 1979 facsimile edition is available from the department], 18 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between 2 verticals and 19 horizontals ruled in red, text justification: 116 x 74mm, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials with staves of grey with white frondy penwork against grounds of brown with gold penwork decoration, line-endings of similar colours, devotions open with five- or six-line illuminated initials with staves of acanthus against coloured grounds, TWELVE FULL-PAGE CALENDAR BORDERS with camaeu d'or frames with roundels illustrative of the major feasts, zodiac signs and full-colour miniatures of occupations of the month, FIVE SMALL MINIATURES with accompanying full-page borders, SIXTY-SEVEN FULL-PAGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES WITH SURROUNDING BORDERS and matching borders on the facing pages, two further text-pages with full borders, all the borders of richly varied trompe l'oeil type, some with sprays of acanthus and strewn flowers and including insects and vignettes, some with camaeu d'or architectural surrounds with sculptural figures or reliefs, others with jewels and enamels against coloured grounds, individual borders of cloth of gold, peacock feathers, and pages where the border space contains narratives to augment or complement the subject of the miniature. (Lacking four leaves, three with miniatures and one with a full-page border, slight pigment losses from the backgrounds of two miniatures, ff.120v and 124v, small smudge on the edge of a border on ff.1v, 2, 5v and 125, otherwise in immaculate condition.)

signed

These border scenes were the work of another artist, the Master of the Older Prayerbook of Maximilian I. This illuminator was named after a manuscript in Vienna (NB Cod. 1907). In the Rothschild Prayerbook, although Horenbout was responsible for the most prominent and important miniatures in the manuscript, the Older Prayerbook Master appears to have played a vital, if secondary, role. Designs that can be particularly associated with him and his contribution to other manuscripts are employed in a proportion of the subsidiary miniatures, especially in the Suffrages, and in borders with figural inclusions. Many of the latter derive from inventions first seen in manuscripts by the Master of Mary of Burgundy -- this is the case, for example, with the dogs eating a bird (f.230v), the lady arming a lion (f.213) and the ape riding a stag (f.224). These vignettes are also found in the margins of the Hours of Engelbert of Nassau (Oxford, Bodleian Library Douce 219-220), usually dated to the 1480s. It is back to this same source that the idea behind the design of two of the most striking borders in the Prayerbook can be traced: the peacock feathers (f.225v) and the skulls (f.164v). The Older Prayerbook Master is regarded as the most productive pupil of the Master of Mary of Burgundy, and he was one of the earliest to use the type of trompe l'oeil border that is so beautifully exemplified in the present manuscript.

dimensions

228 x 160mm. 252 leaves in 30 gatherings, the full-page miniatures from ff.7 to 197 and ff.238 to 245 on inserted leaves [the full, rather complex collation published in the 1979 facsimile edition is available from the department], 18 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between 2 verticals and 19 horizontals ruled in red, text justification: 116 x 74mm, rubrics in red, one- and two-line initials with staves of grey with white frondy penwork against grounds of brown with gold penwork decoration, line-endings of similar colours, devotions open with five- or six-line illuminated initials with staves of acanthus against coloured grounds, TWELVE FULL-PAGE CALENDAR BORDERS with camaeu d'or frames with roundels illustrative of the major feasts, zodiac signs and full-colour miniatures of occupations of the month, FIVE SMALL MINIATURES with accompanying full-page borders, SIXTY-SEVEN FULL-PAGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES WITH SURROUNDING BORDERS and matching borders on the facing pages, two further text-pages with full borders, all the borders of richly varied trompe l'oeil type, some with sprays of acanthus and strewn flowers and including insects and vignettes, some with camaeu d'or architectural surrounds with sculptural figures or reliefs, others with jewels and enamels against coloured grounds, individual borders of cloth of gold, peacock feathers, and pages where the border space contains narratives to augment or complement the subject of the miniature. (Lacking four leaves, three with miniatures and one with a full-page border, slight pigment losses from the backgrounds of two miniatures, ff.120v and 124v, small smudge on the edge of a border on ff.1v, 2, 5v and 125, otherwise in immaculate condition.) Several of the accompanying miniatures illustrating the Hours of this series -- all treating more routine subjects -- were painted by the Master of the Prayerbooks of c.1500. This illuminator, in spite of having been named after a Book of Hours in Vienna (NB, Cod. 1862), is best known for the delightful secular manuscripts that have been attributed to him, above all the Roman de la Rose in the British Library (Harley Ms 4425). In the present manuscript he also provided some of the miniatures in the Office of the Virgin, including the Nativity (f.108v) on one of the most colourful and engaging openings of the book. Here the borders around miniature and text are used to show other episodes from the biblical narrative with the lively addition of the scene of joyful, dancing shepherds. These border scenes were the work of another artist, the Master of the Older Prayerbook of Maximilian I. This illuminator was named after a manuscript in Vienna (NB Cod. 1907). In the Rothschild Prayerbook, although Horenbout was responsible for the most prominent and important miniatures in the manuscript, the Older Prayerbook Master appears to have played a vital, if secondary, role. Designs that can be particularly associated with him and his contribution to other manuscripts are employed in a proportion of the subsidiary miniatures, especially in the Suffrages, and in borders with figural inclusions. Many of the latter derive from inventions first seen in manuscripts by the Master of Mary of Burgundy -- this is the case, for example, with the dogs eating a bird (f.230v), the lady arming a lion (f.213) and the ape riding a stag (f.224). These vignettes are also found in the margins of the Hours of Engelbert of Nassau (Oxford, Bodleian Library Douce 219-220), usually dated to the 1480s. It is back to this same source that the idea behind the design of two of the most striking borders in the Prayerbook can be traced: the peacock feathers (f.225v) and the skulls (f.164v). The Older Prayerbook Master is regarded as the most productive pupil of the Master of Mary of Burgundy, and he was one of the earliest to use the type of trompe l'oeil border that is so beautifully exemplified in the present manuscript. The work and style of David was an important and enduring influence upon Bening, and one image in the Prayerbook -- an image of breath-taking beauty -- seems attributable to the Bruges Master. The Virgin and Child on a Crescent Moon (f.197v), which introduces the Joys of the Virgin, is treated in a quite different manner from the other miniatures of the manuscript. It is presented as an independent icon; within a narrow pearl-studded frame the three-quarter-length figure is isolated against a golden radiance, two small angels holding the crown of the Queen of Heaven above her head. The drapery and figure style suggest that the composition was drawn by the Older Prayerbook Master, and the angels were clearly also painted by him. But the young mother and her infant son are portrayed with an unsurpassed delicacy and an artistry that manages to convey their feelings and relationship as well as their appearance. It is as much the investment of this sensibility as the touching charm of the pair that marks out this miniature as the work of David, and makes it comparable with his Virgin among Virgins in New York (Pierpont Morgan Library M. 659). The intermingling of contributions by more than one illuminator to a page, or even to a miniature, raises questions about the organisation and location of production, and suggests the close physical proximity of the collaborating painters. It also makes a vexed question of the attribution of some folios; nowhere more so than in the Suffrages. In this section of the manuscript where the miniatures are integral with the text, and most bifolia carry two illustrations, the collaboration or successive involvement of different artists is at its most intimate and confusing. A number of the compositions are recognisably from the repertoire of the Older Prayerbook Master, for example St Peter (f.207v), St Stephen (f.218v) and St Anthony Abbot (f.222v), but the technique, palette, and accomplishment differ from one miniature to another. Often even the two miniatures on a single bifolium appear to have been painted by different artists. Scholarly opinion over authorship has varied and the names of different illuminators have been invoked in connection with some of these miniatures: the workshop of Gerard David, Gerard Horenbout and Simon Bening among them. A confident and convincing attribution of a proportion of these miniatures remains to be made. One thing remains beyond dispute: they are of an extraordinary high quality. Several of the most arresting -- usually based upon a design, if not a drawing, from the Older Prayerbook Master -- can be grouped around the miniature of St Stephen (f.218v). These figures convey an impression of concerned preoccupation, are solidly three-dimensional -- their bodies and the drapery clothing them described with weight and volume -- the texture and sheen of fabrics are realistically evoked, and the backgrounds are often detailed and deeply recessive. In these last two characteristics at least, if not in the form or fashion of drawing faces, they are similar to the work of Horenbout. Two of this group are particularly instructive: St Lawrence (219v) and St Vincent (238v) are clearly based on the same pattern, even to drapery folds and a wart on the cheek, yet the setting is an entirely fresh invention fitting for each saint. Female saints painted in this manner include St Clare (f.230v) and St Helena (f.233v). This illuminator was also the author of the series of half-length saints in the Hortulus Animae in Vienna (NB 2706), and his work appears in several other manuscripts, including the London and the Spinola Hours, alongside Horenbout, the Older Prayerbook Master and Simon Bening. f.6 In the foreground a slaughterhouse with three men about to kill a tethered bull, two other men holding another beast outside, on the left men taking their baskets of grapes towards a barn where others operate a press, 5 roundels with saints (October)

provenance

BINDING:

Red velvet over pasteboard (renewed) with mid-16th-century silver-gilt cast and chased centrepieces (Wittelsbach arms, see provenance below), cornerpieces, clasps and catches, leaf edges gilt and gauffered to a diaper pattern.

Several of the female saints portrayed in the Prayerbook are shown holding open books. In each case they have soft fabric chemise bindings and the leaf edges are gauffered to a diaper pattern; it seems likely that this was how the Prayerbook was originally bound.

AN ACKNOWLEDGED MASTERPIECE OF RENAISSANCE MANUSCRIPT ILLUMINATION, THE LAVISH AND EXTENSIVE ILLUSTRATION OF THE ROTHSCHILD PRAYERBOOK INCLUDES MINIATURES OF UNSURPASSED BEAUTY AND REFINED EXECUTION. THEY ARE THE WORK OF GERARD HORENBOUT, SIMON BENING AND THE MASTER OF THE OLDER PRAYERBOOK OF MAXIMILIAN I, PROBABLY ALEXANDER BENING THE FATHER OF SIMON; THESE WERE THE MOST RENOWNED AND SOUGHT-AFTER ILLUMINATORS OF THEIR DAY. ONE EXQUISITE MINIATURE, THE VIRGIN AND CHILD ON A CRESCENT MOON, IS WORTHY OF INCLUSION AMONG THAT SELECT GROUP OF ILLUMINATIONS ATTRIBUTED TO THE PAINTER GERARD DAVID.

PROVENANCE:

1. It is a surprising feature of the most splendid manuscripts of this group that they include nothing to identify their intended original owners: neither arms, emblems nor portrait. The title-leaf of the Hours of Isabella of Castile (Cleveland, Museum of Art 63.256) carries the queen's coat of arms, but this is an added leaf and not necessarily part of the original book. The most individual component of the Rothschild Prayerbook, and one that might reflect the wishes of a commissioning patron, are the Suffrages to Sts Vincent, Benedict, Anthony of Padua and two prayers to the Virgin (ff.239-246v). These are written by a different scribe from the remainder of the Suffrages and the Athanasian Creed which follows them and, unlike the remainder, they follow a different layout that makes no allowance for integral miniatures. The miniatures supplied on single leaves are among the finest in the manuscript. In one of them (f.238v), the stained glass windows behind St Vincent are decorated with coats of arms, including the imperial arms and a shield of gules with a chevron and three small charges or.

2. ?The house of Wittelsbach: the coats of arms on the silver-gilt centrepieces of the binding are those of the Wittelsbach and show the lion rampant of the Palatinate and the diaper of Bavaria. Nothing supports Trenkler's suggestion in the commentary to the 1979 facsimile edition that the arms are those of Herzog Ernst von Wittelsbach and that the manuscript had a later provenance in the Palatine library. The clasps, corner- and centrepieces have been attributed to the workshop or circle of the Nuremberg goldsmith Wenzel Jamnitzer (d.1585). They may have joined the manuscript in the 19th century.

3. Baron Nathaniel von Rothschild (1836-1905): no 452, listed as in the Galerie of the palace at Theresianumgasse, in the February 1906 inventory of his estate.

It is interesting that three of the luxury Books of Hours that were produced in the workshops of Horenbout and the Master of the Older Prayerbook of Maximilian I were once owned by members of the three branches of the Rothschild family, with the Rothschild Prayerbook in Vienna, the Hours of Isabella of Castile owned by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in Paris, and the London Hours (British Library, Add. Ms 35313) bequeathed to the British Museum by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild of Waddesdon in 1898.

De Winter (see Bibliography) drew attention to J.H. Middleton's observation in Illuminated Manuscripts in Classical and Medieval Times (Cambridge 1892) that 'There are several fine manuscripts with miniatures by [Gerard David's] hand in addition to those in the Grimani Breviary. Among these are two Books of Hours in the collection of the late Baron Anselm Rothschild of Vienna'. It was Anselm von Rothschild (1803-1874) who laid the foundation for the Austrian Rothschilds' collections, showing a particular enthusiasm for Netherlandish painting; his purchases included works by Frans Hals, Jan Wynants, David Teniers II and Isack van Ostade. It is likely that the Rothschild Prayerbook is the 'Gebetbuch mit vielen blattgrossen Miniaturen in architektonischen Rahmen...' that was no 599 in Schestag's 1872 catalogue of Anselm's art collection. No 595 in the catalogue was the Bening Prayerbook for Cardinal Albrecht von Brandeenburg (J.Paul Getty Museum, Ludwig IX 19) purchased in 1868. The Rothschild Prayerbook was probably acquired between this date and the publication of the catalogue. These two manuscripts were presumably the pair that were known to Middleton and that he attributed to David. Anselm was Nathaniel's father. The Rothschild Prayerbook was no 452, valued at 150,000 Kronen, and the Brandenburg Prayerbook was no 453, valued at 80,000 Kronen in Nathaniel's inventory.

4. Baron Alphonse von Rothschild (1878-1942): he inherited Nathaniel's palace and, presumably, the manuscript along with it. It appeared in two subsequent inventories of the palace and these inventory numbers are recorded on a label at the upper corner of the lower cover (927) and in pencil (AR3390) on the front flyleaf. The manuscript remained in the palace until 1938 when it was appropriated by the Nazis.

5. Vienna, sterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Vindobonensis Series Nova 2844 (restored to the Rothschild family in 1999).


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


Advert
Advert