THE BOOK OF HOURS OF LOUIS DE ROUCY
Free Online Publication
The Book of Hours of Louis De Roucy was a magnificent manuscript, illuminated by a pupil of the so-called Master of the Troyes Missal. In the inauspicious date of 2009, like many others, this manuscript was the victim of an act of biblioclasm in Germany.
Professor Carla Rossi, thanks to the WayBack Recovery(c) method, has found 99% of the manuscript’s iconographic cycle and over a hundred text leaves, thus digitally reconstructing the book and providing a virtual facsimile edition.
In the Office of the Dead’s first lesson, the text is extremely rare and, according to K. Ottosen, is only found in sources from Châlons-en-Champagne. This non-negligible detail, alongside the textual reconstruction of other prayers in the final section of the manuscript, allows for the tracing of its production as well as its first owner in a Champenois environment.
This geographical location gains support (in che senso?) from the All Saints miniature, depicting St Stephen in the foreground, since Stephen himself is infact the patron saint of the cathedral of Châlons-en-Champagne.
In at least six initials appears a heraldic shield, made of a lion rampant azure, langued and armed gules. In the 15th century this shield belonged to Jean VII, Count de Roucy-Pierrepont and Sire de Montmirail, in accordance with the wishes of his mother Jeanne. As a matter of fact, in 1438 she signed a document in which she undertook to leave all her possessions to her son, on condition that the latter used her father’s (Jean VI, Count de Braine and de Roucy-Pierrepont, died at Azincourt in 1415) heraldic coat of arms.
Jean VII, in turn, without any legitimate heirs, left his title as well as his heraldic coat of arms to Louis (1465-1536), his illegitimate son from the relationship with Isabelle de Montchâlons. The teenage male patron depicted on folio 191v, kneeling before the Virgin in a full-page miniature to the 'O intemerata' prayer, is likely Louis himself. The obsessive presence of the De Roucy coat of arms in the manuscript may be explained by the de facto legitimisation of the young aristocrat.