Book of Hours (Use of Paris) Spread 0

Book of Hours (Use of Paris) Spread 0 cover

Book of Hours (Use of Paris) In Latin and French

Book of Hours (Use of Paris)
In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Northern France, probably Paris, c. 1510
13 full-page miniatures, 15 small miniatures, and 24 small calendar miniatures close to the style associated with Jean Pichore and his workshop

129 folios on parchment, complete, written in a very clean, rounded book hand combining elements of gothic and bâtarde, on 19 long lines, ruled in red, rubrics in red, twenty-four small double calendar miniatures (the Labor of the Month and Zodiac Sign for each month) within separate gilt borders but tangent to each other on the recto of each calendar leaf, framed in double gold lines, fifteen small miniatures, thirteen full-page arch-topped miniatures accompanied by particularly lavish full borders of brushed gold and acanthus and floral decoration, composed of multiple geometric forms and with an abundant use of liquid gold, small miniatures accompanied by three-quarter borders of the same style, trivial soiling, smudges, or other blemishes, but overall in remarkably fine condition, with consistently wide margins and paint and gold vivid and glittering. Bound in contemporary(16th century) French calf binding with very elaborate strapwork designs on both covers, rebacked in the twentieth century using original portions of the spine, new endpapers added at the same time, gilt on the binding slightly rubbed or dulled. Dimensions 184 x 127 mm.

This is a lavish example of a mainstream Parisian Book of Hours produced by a highly skilled workshop at the beginning of the sixteenth century. In an attractive contemporary binding and exceptionally well preserved, the manuscript presents profuse illustration, including not only full-page miniatures for each section but many smaller miniatures mostly for the Suffrages and a fully illustrated calendar, along with rich borders, and it is complete. It seems likely that multiple illuminators in the “Pichore style” would have worked on a manuscript like this. It is remarkable in its flawless condition, large margins, and bright, crisp illuminations.

1. Produced in a skilled workshop, most likely in Paris, around 1510 in the circle of Jean Pichore, an illuminator-publisher-draftsman documented from 1502 to 1520 (see especially C. Zöhl).

2. North American Private Collection.

ff. 1-12v, Calendar;

ff. 13-17, Gospel lessons;

ff. 17v-20, “Obsecro te”;

ff. 20v-22, “O intemerata”;

ff. 23-71v, Hours of the Virgin;

ff. 72-74v, Hours of the Cross;

ff. 75-77v, Hours of the Holy Spirit;

ff. 78-91v, Penitential Psalms and Litany;

ff. 92-123v, Hours of the Dead;

ff. 124-129v, Suffrages.

The subjects of the full-page miniatures are:

f. 13, Saint John on Patmos;

f. 23, the Annunciation;

f. 41, the Visitation;

f. 49v, the Nativity;

f. 54, the Adoration of the Shepherds;

f. 57, the Adoration of the Magi;

f. 60, the Presentation in the Temple;

f. 63, the Flight into Egypt;

f. 68, the Coronation of the Virgin;

f. 72, the Crucifixion;

f. 75, Pentecost;

f. 78, King David in Prayer;

f. 92, Death Spearing a Young Nobleman (skulls, bones, and grave markers in the border).

The subjects of the calendar are: January, Feast and Aquarius (f. 1); February, Man Warming himself by the Fire, Pisces (f. 2); March, Trimming Branches, Aries (f. 3); April, Hawking, Taurus (f. 4); May, Courtship, Pisces (f. 5); June, Sheep Shearing, Cancer (f. 6); July, Peasant in the Field Sheaving Wheat, Leo (f. 7); August, Sheaving Wheat, Virgo (f. 8); September, Sowing Seeds, Balance (f. 9); October, Trampling Grapes, Scorpio (f. 10); November, Killing Animals, Sagittarius (f. 11); December, Breaking Bread, Capricorn (f. 12).

The subjects of the small miniatures are: Luke (f. 14); Mark (f. 14v); Matthew (f. 15v); the Virgin of the Sun and Child (f. 17v); Virgin and Child (f. 20v); the Trinity (f. 124); Saint Michael (f. 124v); Saint John the Baptist (f. 125); Saint John the Evangelist (f. 125v); Saints Peter and Paul (f. 126); Saint Nicholas (f. 126v); Saint Anne (f. 127); Saint Mary Magdalene (f. 127v); Saint Katherine (f. 128); Saint Margaret (f. 128v).

An excellent example of a complete mainstream Parisian Book of Hours produced by a highly skilled workshop in the early sixteenth century, this book was probably executed by multiple illuminators. Here the large miniatures seem to have been painted by at least two, and perhaps three, artists; the first two and maybe the final one are close to the style associated with Jean Pichore, whose recognizable artistic elements include small heads but rather big hands, little and downward-turned eyes, and soft colors with delicately applied gold highlights in the drapery. Known to have been working in Paris from at least 1502-1520, Pichore was a major figure among illuminators of the period, though his name evokes a style as much as a person. The other miniatures here could well have been executed by members of Pichore’s workshop. Pichore also co-published printed Books of Hours with Rémy de Laistre, and presumably designed their woodcuts.

Avril, François and Nicole Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440-1520, Paris, 1993.

Delaunay, Isabelle, Echanges artistiques entre livres dheures manuscrits et imprimés produits à Paris, Lille, Atelier National de Reproduction des Thèses, 2001.

Zöhl, Caroline, Jean Pichore: Buchmaler, Graphiker und Verleger in Paris um 1500, Turnhout, Brepols, 2004.

BOH 115

Book of Hours (Use of Paris) In Latin and French,