A book of hours for a person of high rank, illuminated by painters of Jean, Duc de Berry
14 Book of hours, use of Rome
Manuscript on vellum, illuminated by Pseudo-Jacquemart.
France, Paris, c. 1410.
230 x 160 mm. 201 leaves, complete: regular quires comprising eight bifolia, foliated. – Written space c. 85 x 75 mm, ruled for double columns in red, 16 lines. Text written in black ink in Textualis by the hand of one (?) scribe, rubricated in red. One-line initials in gold and line endings on an alternately blue and red ground. 7 small miniatures extending to one column and 8 lines, one full-page, 16 near-square miniatures, above three lines of text with full-page borders of gold ivy leaf and black ink tendrils and coloured acanthus, framed by a three-sided bar or by borders of spiralling acanthus. – On the miniature of the Virgin and Child (fol. 173v) the robe of the Virgin is partly smudged, otherwise in excellent condition. – 17th-century red morocco binding.
PROVENANCE: 1. In 1457 the book was owned by Jean d’Angennes II, Lord of Rambouillet and shield-bearer of Charles VII. (entries fol. 172v). Jean d’Angennes freed Mantes from English occupation, and was appointed governor there in 1422. 2. Edmond and Alexandrine Rothschild Collection. Their sale Paris, Palais Galliéra, 24 June 1968, lot 4. 3. Private collection, Europe.
TEXT: The book of hours contains the customary texts in the common order. It is written in double columns, an unusual text layout for this book type. It can be assumed that the few extant books of hours of this layout were commissioned by high-ranking individuals, probably members of the royal family. As the entries on fol. 172 suggest, the manuscript may have been a present from king Charles VII to his former shield-bearer (ecuyer) Jean d’Angennes acknowledging his special services.
ILLUMINATION: fol. 17v:Virgin and Child on a crescent moon – fol. 25: Annunciation – fol. 43: Visitation – fol. 52: Nativity – fol. 57: Annunciation to the Shepherds – fol. 61: Adoration of the Magi – fol. 65: Presentation – fol. 69: Flight into Egypt – fol. 75: Coronation of the Virgin – fol. 80: David in prayer – fol. 94: Crucifixion – fol. 99: Pentecost – fol. 104: Betrayal – fol. 136: Funeral Mass – fol. 173:Virgin and Child – fol. 178: Last Judgement. Smaller miniatures: fol. 110v: Christ before Pilate – fol. 114: Mocking of Christ – fol. 115: Flagellation – fol. 120:Way to Calvary – fol. 124: Crucifixion – fol. 129v: Deposition – fol. 133: Entombment. This book of hours represents an excellent work by Pseudo- Jacquemart who was responsible for 21 of the miniatures. One miniature can be attributed to the Egerton Master and another to the Luçon Master.These three well-known miniaturists worked principally for one of the greatest of all bibliophile collectors and connoisseurs of the fine arts, Jean, Duc de Berry (1340-1416). There has been much discussion of the possible identification of the main master with an illuminator whose name appears in archival documents: Jacquemart de Hesdin (Châtelet 2000, pp. 72-82). The view which has found broadest acceptance, however, regards him as a collaborator with the Jacquemart, a status which has won him the somewhat clumsy appellation ‘Pseudo- Jacquemart’ (Meiss 1967, Avril1 2004, p. 276). With his delicate forms and elegantly curved lines Pseudo-Jacquemart is a representative of the International Style, sensitive to the innovations of the younger generation working for the Duke, which he adapted in his own work, as well as the artistic achievements of Jacquemart and Jean le Noir. It is this capacity for adaptation which Jean de Berry, who repeatedly engaged him in the illumination of his books of hours, must have particularly appreciated. A ‘maître du recyclage’ (Avril), Pseudo-Jacquemart created finely drawn miniatures in a splendid palette (cf. esp. the Coronation of the Virgin, fol. 75). In the manuscript at hand he borrowed compositions by Jacquemart and Jean d’Orléans from the Brussels Hours (Brussels, BR, ms. 11060-61), the Très belles Heures (Paris, BN, nouv. acq. lat. 3093) and the Petites Heures (Paris, BN, lat. 18014) of the Duke of Berry as well as a miniature by the de Limbourg brothers from the Belles Heures (New York, Cloisters). Throughout his career, Pseudo-Jacquemart’s style and palette remained constant; delicate pastel shades are repeatedly used, scarlet and salmon pink being one of the artist’s favourite colour combinations. A warm, intense yellow may be regarded as something akin to a trade-mark of Pseudo-Jacquemart (Avril in Avril/Dunlop/Yapp 1989, p. 80). The miniature introducing the penitential psalms is by the Luçon Master,who owes his name to a missal which Etienne Loypeau, Bishop of Luçon, gave to Jean de Berry (Paris, BN, lat. 8886). He belonged to the younger generation of illuminators in the service of the Duke, but he often collaborated with Pseudo-Jacquemart (Avril1 2004, p. 15). The Egerton Master, who is stylistically indebted to Pseudo-Jacquemart, is the author of the Betrayal (fol. 104). He was named for the Hours of René d’Anjou of 1405-10, formerly in the collection of Francis Egerton, Earl of Bridgewater (London, BL, Egerton 1070, cf. Schilling 1954; Avril2 2004, no. 165). While for his miniature, rendered in a pointillé manner, he chose a wide bar as a frame, it is tempting to attribute to him also the acanthus borders surrounding the other miniatures. In the present manuscript the Egerton Master closely collaborated with Pseudo-Jacquemart; the Visitation (fol. 43) is also attributable to him, with the exception of the figures’ heads. Pseudo-Jacquemart worked for the Duke of Berry for more than three decades, between 1382 and 1415. Meiss classifies the present book of hours as his latest work; a date after 1410 is justified above all by its stylistic correspondences with the Grandes Heures (Paris, BN, lat. 919, cf. Meiss 1974, p. 359).The manuscript at issue thus is an important example of Parisian manuscript illumination at the beginning of the 15th century.
LITERATURE: Paris, Palais Galliéra, 24 June 1968, lot 4; Meiss 1968, p. 142, ill. 514, 517-518;Avril1 2004, ill. 7. Schilling 1954, pp. 272-282; Meiss 1967, pp. 179-191; Meiss 1972, pp. 13-22; Meiss 1974; Avril/Dunlop/Yapp 1989, p. 140; Châtelet 2000, pp. 72-82;Avril 20041, pp. 2-33; exh. cat. Paris 2004 (Avril2 2004), p. 203, 276f; König 2006, pp. 25-44.