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GUERNIER HOURS

DOI: 10.55456/guernierboh

Reconstruction in progress

This reconstruction received a grant from the Kompetenzzentrum Zürcher Mediävistik.

Prof. Carla Rossi would like to sincerely thank Dr. Rebecca Schmalholz and the entire Zurich Centre for Medieval Studies team for their support.

Click here to download her article about this BoH.

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Book of Hours, use of Paris, Latin and French [northern France, c.1475-85]
141 ff., 133mm x 88mm, 16 lines (70mm x 48mm), written in dark brown ink in two sizes of a boldface lettre bâtarde, rubrics in dark red.
Collation: i12, ii-x8, xi6-1 [blank vi cancelled], xii-xvii8, xviii6-2 [lacking f.137', a further blank cancelled at end], with vertical or horizontal catchwords.
Calendar in alternate lines of red and blue with major entries in burnished gold, capitals touched in yellow, one- and 2-line initials throughout in burnished gold on red and blue grounds with white tracery. A few larger initials in liquid gold on coloured grounds. Panel borders in the outer margins of every page with a 2-line initial, the borders c.70mm. by 18mm. formed of blue and gold acanthus leaves with coloured flowers and fruit and birds, grotesques, people, snails, insects, dragons, etc.
Five large miniatures, one half-page (f.39), others in arched or pointed compartments above large initials and within full borders including one incorporating further historiated roundels (f.21).
33 historiated initials with full borders, the initials 4 to 8 lines high, mostly 6-line.
Condition: Some rubbing and thumbing affecting outer corners of some borders, other minor wear and dust-staining at extreme edges, generally sound.
Binding: Seventeenth-century panelled calf, silver clasps and catches, edges gilt and gauffered, paper endleaves, binding scuffed and rebacked, in a fitted pale brown cloth case, title gilt.

Illumination
This is a little Book of Hours in the bright and colourful style of the Parisian illuminators in the circle of Maître François and the Master of Jacques de Besançon. The iconography includes the striking image of Death riding an ox (fol.90r), which probably derives the celebrated poem La Danse aux Aveugles of Pierre Michault (1405-1465), which opens, "Sur ce beuf cy, qui s'en vas pas a pas, / Assise suis et ne le haste point, / Maiz sans courir, je metz a grief trespas" (cf. A. de Laborde: La Mort chevauchant un boef, 1923). The borders are filled with enchanting grotesques, including several showing little men wearing glasses (fols.47, 128, etc.).

 

Provenance:

  1. The text is use of Paris. Inscriptions (upside down) on the last leaf record how the book passed on 28 April 1575 to Catherine Guernier on the death of her sister and then by descent within the family to August 1642. [Thus here by commodity called the 'Guernier Hours']

  2. George Dundas, with his eighteenth-century armorial bookplate.

  3. Louisa Dexter Sharpe Metcalf (d.1960), widow of Senator Jesse Houghton Metcalf (1860-1942), of Providence, Rhode Island; presented by her in 1947 to the John Carter Brown Library
    (C.U. Faye and W.H. Bond: Supplement to the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, 1962, p.496, no.45);

  4. Sale Sotheby's: Western Illuminated Manuscripts the property of the John Carter Brown Library, London 18 May 1981, lot 3 (ills. f.60v, f.73).
    Bought by the bookseller and private collector Alan G. Thomas.

  5. Sold by Alan G. Thomas, cat.44 (1982), no.3.

  6. Sotheby's: Western Manuscripts, 6 July 2006 lot 86, sold and dismembered. Single leaves offered for sale on eBay as "Paris 1475 #5".

  7. 6 lots of miniatures and single leaves sold Reiss & Sohn 2006/107 lot 2008-2013.

 

Contents:

 

f.1-12 Calendar, in French (with an entry for every day, singling out in burnished gold the feasts of Geneviève, St. Louis and St.Denis).

Gospel Sequences

f.13 Saint John on Patmos (7 lines, 30mm x 32mm., full border including a grotesque in a hood)

f.14 Saint Luke with his ox (4 lines, 17mm x 20mm., full border including a moth and a dragon)

f.15vSaint Matthew with his angel (6 lines, 26mm x 22mm., full border including an oriental grotesque playing music)

f.17 Saint Mark (6 lines, 25mm x 26mm., full border including a grotesque ape turning its back on a hen) [Bloomsbury Auctions 601/2007 lot 23]

Passion Sequence from St John

f.18 St.John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness (should be ?)
(5 lines, 20mm x 23mm., full border including a winged grotesque)

Hours of the Virgin [Use of Paris, with the Hours of the Cross and of the Holy Ghost intertwined]
Matins

f.21*The Annunciation (62mm x 45mm., full border including two birds and roundels of the Meeting at the Golden Gate, the Birth of the Virgin, and the young Virgin spinning).

f.22[]

f.23[]

f.24[]

f.25[]

f.26[]

f.27[]

f.28[]

f.29[]

Lauds

f.30*The Visitation (8 lines, 37mm x 31mm., full border including a hybrid grotesque)

f.31[]

f.32[]

f.33[]

f.34[]

f.35[]

f.36[]

f.37[]

f.38[]

Matins of the Hours of the Cross

f.39 The Crucifixion (37mm x 46mm., St John supporting the Virgin on the left, the centurion and his army riding up on the right; full border including two grotesques)

Matins of the Hours of the Holy Spirit

f.40 Pentecost (7 lines, 31mm x 33mm., full border including a grotesque in spectacles clapping as a dog dances)

Prime

f.41* The Nativity (8 lines, 37mm x 33mm., full border including two grotesques)

f.42[]

f.43[]

f.44[]

f.45[]

f.46[]

Terce

f.47* Annunciation to the Shepherds (a shepherdess spinning)
(8 lines, 37mm x 31mm., full border including a grotesque in glasses pulling its own tail)

f.48[]

f.49[]

f.50[]

f.51[]

Sext

f.51v* Adoration of the Magi (8 lines, 36mm x 34mm., full border including two grotesque animals, one based on a camel)

f.52[]

f.53[]

f.54[]

f.55[]

None

f.56* Presentation in the Temple (8 lines, 36mm x 29mm., full border including a grotesque sniffing a flower)

f.57[]

f.58[]

f.59[]

f.60[]

Vespers

f.60v* Flight into Egypt (65mm x 48mm., Joseph leading the donkey off to the right attended by two angels, set in a landscape with the pagan statues falling from their pillars as the Holy Family passes; full border including two grotesques) [Bloomsbury Auctions 601/2007 lot 23]

f.61[]

f.62[]

f.63[]

f.64[]

f.65[]

f.66[]

Compline

f.67* Coronation of the Virgin (7 lines, 32mm x 30mm., full border including a grotesque archer shooting another creature)

f.68[]

f.69[]

f.70[]

f.71[]

f.72[]

Seven Penitential Psalms (with Litany)

f.73* Bathseba bathing (64mm x 44mm., the maiden dipping her ankles in the water watched by five courtiers on the grass and by David and an attendant from a window in his house behind; full border including a jousting grotesque in a top hat creeping up on a snail)

f.85[]

f.86[]

f.87[]

f.88[]

f.89[]

Office of the Dead (One nocturn)

f.90* Death mounted on an ox (65mm x 45mm., galloping across a landscape to spear a group of people, including an emperor, standing by a wayside cross, a young man has been slain to the ground fallen down among skeletal debri; full border including grotesques with the heads of a maiden, a unicorn and a winged person)
/Dilexi quoniam exaudiet dominus vocem orationis mee. Quia inclinavit aurem //

f.91[]

f.92[]

f.93[]

f.94[]

f.95[]

f.96[]

f.97[]

f.98[]

f.99[]

f.100[]

f.101[]

f.102[]

f.103/dies ire calamitatis et miserie dies magna et amara valde.
Quando celi movendi sunt et terra.
V. Tremens factus sum ego et timeo dum discussio venerit atque ventura ira.
Quando celi movendi sunt et terra.
V. Tremebunt angeli atque archangeli impii autem tibi parebuntur.
Quando celi movendi sunt et terre.
V. Vix iustus salvabitur et ego miser ubi parebo.
Quando celi movendi sunt et terra.
V. Quid ergo miserrimus quid dicam aut quid faciem dum nil boni prostrati ante tantum iudicem.// []

f.103v/dum veneris iudicare seculum per ignem.
V. Vox de celis ...
V. Creator omnium rerum deus qui de limo terre formasti et mirabiliter proprio sanguine redemisti ....
R. Libera me domine de morte eterna in die illa tremenda.
Quando celi movendi sunt et terre. Dum veneris iudicare seculum per ignem.// [f.100/103 sold as bifolium]

f.104[]

f.105[]

f.106[]

f.107[]

f.108[]

f.109[]

f.110[]

f.111[]

f.112[]

f.113[]

f.114[]

Prayers to the Virgin Mary

f.115* Virgin and Child (enthroned below a canopy, 8 lines, 36m. by 34mm., full border including a Moorish grotesque blowing a pipe)
Obsecro te (fol.115r)

f.116[]

f.117[]

f.118[]

f.118v Pietà (6 lines, 26mm x 24mm., full border including a grotesque animal looking over its shoulder)
O intemerata

f.119[]

f.120[]

f.121[]

f.122[]

f.123/perducere me digneris peccatorem miserum quo perduxisti tecum latronem crucifixum.
Qui cum patre et spiritu sancto vivit et regnat deus. Per omnia secula seculorum. Amen.
Oratio. Ave verum corpus natum de maria virgine.
Vere passum immolatum in cruce pro homine.
Cuius latus perforatum vero fluxit sanguine.
Esto nobis pregustatum mortis in examine . o dulcis . o pie . o fili marie.
Ave caro xpi caro immolata crucis . ara //[item=200037826973]

f.123v/pro redemptis hostia morte crucis nos amara . Fac redemptos lece clara tecum frui gloria. Amen.
Ant. Omnis terra adoret te deus. R. Et psallat tibi psalmum dicit nomini tuo. Oremus.
Deus qui nos sub sacramento mirabili passionis tue memoriam reliquisti
tribue quesumus ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacra misteria venerari
ut redemptionis tue fructum in nobis iugiter senciamus. Qui vivis et regnas deus. etc.
Salutatio beate Marie. // []

f.124 Meeting at the Golden Gate (7 lines, 32mm x 25mm., full border including two grotesques, one shooting with imaginary bow)
/Ave cuius conceptio solemni plena gaudio celestia terrestria nova replet leticia.
Ave cuius nativitas nostra fuit solemnitas ut luxifer lux oriens verum solem preveniens.
Ave pia humilitas sine viro fecunditas cuius annunciatio nostra fuit redemptio.
Ave vera virginitas inviolata castitas cuius purificatio nostra fuit purgatio.
Ave preclara omnibus //

f.124v/ ... //[sold Reiss & Sohn 2006/107 lot 2010]

Suffrages

f.125 Crucifixion (5 lines, 24mm x 19mm., full border including a demure maiden in a shell)

f.126[]

f.127[]

f.128[]

f.128v John the Baptist (4 lines, 18mm x 17mm., full border including a bald man in glasses with a flag)

f.129 John the Evangelist (5 lines, 23mm x 19mm., full border including two animals, one probably a beaver biting off his own genitalia)

f.130 Saint Katherine (4 lines, 18mm x 20mm., full border including a grotesque with a long neck and many bosoms)

f.131 Saint Denis (holding his own head, 5 lines, 24mm x 21mm., full border including a hybrid grotesque)

f.131v A guardian angel (defeating a devil, 5 lines, 26mm x 17mm., full border including another hybrid grotesque)

f.132 Saint Fiacre (with a spade, 5 lines, 22mm x 19mm., full border including a flying grotesque)

f.132v The Trinity (without a visible Holy Ghost, 6 lines, 26mm x 25mm., full border including a flying grotesque) [Bloomsbury Auctions 601/2007 lot 24]

f.133[]

f.133v Saint Michael (5 lines, 23mm x 24mm., full border including a little man scratching his bottom)

f.134Saints Philip and James (4 lines, 17mm x 25mm., full border including a man sitting on a bench)

f.134v[]

f.135 Saint Paul (6 lines, 27mm x 29mm., full border including a naked jester)

f.135v Saint James major (5 lines, 23mm x 23mm., full border including another naked jester gesticulating across the page)

f.136 Saint Andrew (5 lines, 23mm x 22mm., full border including a grotesque looking back at the jester on the facing page)

f.136v Saint Bartholomew (6 lines, 27mm x 23mm., full border including a grotesque)

f.137 Saint Matthew (5 lines, 22mm x 21mm., full border)

f.137v Saint Thomas (6 lines, 27mm x 25mm., full border including a grotesque bird)

f.138 Saint Claude (6 lines, 28mm x 29mm., full border including a grotesque snail)

f.138v[]

f.139[]

f.139v Saint Apollonia (6 lines, 26mm x 28mm., full border including a hybrid grotesque)

f.140/Deus pro cuius sanctissimi nominis honore beata apolinia virgo martir armaram et terribilem dentium executionem sustinuit. Presta ut omnes qui eius commemorationem pia devocione frequantant abstracto dolore dentium [....] custodias ac post presenti seculi erumpnas ad beate patrie gaudia perducas. Per dominum nostrum amen. Benedicamus domino. Deo gracias. //

f.140v Originally blank.[Later entries in brown ink, written upside down, dated 1575 and 1624 (see provenance)]

Hours of the Conception of the Virgin (?)