THE BERBISEY HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
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THE BERBISEY HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin and French, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [Burgundy, c.1485-90] 218 x 154mm. iii + 114 leaves: 1-2 6 , 4 7 (of 8, lacking i), 5 4 (of 8, lacking iii-vi), 6 5 (of 6, lacking iii), 7 7 (of 8, lacking i), 8 7 (of 8, lacking i), 9-17 8 , five of the lacking leaves likely with miniatures, 16 lines written in dark brown ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 17 horizontals ruled in pink, top and bottom horizontals across margins, justification: 107 x 70mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched yellow, opening initial of blue patterned white on a ground of burnished gold with ivy-leaves of pink and blue, one- and two-line initials of liquid gold on grounds alternately of blue and dark red with gold filigree, additional ruling in pink for PANEL BORDERS, with sprays of acanthus and naturalistic flowers, and incorporating HOLY AND RELIGIOUS PERSONS, ANIMALS AND GROTESQUES, those of the Calendar including TWENTY-FOUR SMALL MINIATURES OF THE OCCUPATIONS AND ZODIAC SIGNS in arched frames, TWENTY-TWO MARGINAL MINIATURES taking the place of border panels on other leaves, THREE FULL-PAGE MINIATURES containing small areas of text and TWELVE COMBINED MINIATURES AND BORDERS with architectural framing providing niches to house figures or scenes related to the central subject (a few miniatures with small pigment losses, flaking of gold to some of major feasts in the Calendar). 18th-century red morocco gilt with shaped panels on sides (rebacked and some restoration). AN UNKNOWN MANUSCRIPT MADE FOR THE GREAT DIJON FAMILY BY THE MASTER OF THE BURGUNDIAN PRELATES PROVENANCE: 1. The style of illumination and feasts in gold in the Calendar (Didier 23 May, Mammas 17 August, Philibert 20 August) show that the manuscript was made in the diocese of Langres, which at this date included Dijon. The prayer Obsecro te is in the masculine form. An angel in the border of folio 69v holds a shield with the coat of arms azure , a sheep argent . These were the arms borne by the Dijon family Berbisey: J. d'Arbaumont, 'Mémoires sur les origines de la famille Berbisey', Mémoires de la Commission des Antiquités de la Côte d'Or , vi, 1861/64,pp.33-46. Of the 130 or so foliate panel borders that include a figure of a religious, beast or grotesque, in almost a third the creature included is a sheep. This canting reference to the brebis of the family name also featured in the decoration of the oratory and the hôtel, in rue Berbisey, put up by Thomas Berbisey, secretary to Louis XI and, after the king's death, appointed secretaire des finances en Bourgogne in 1481. The manuscript is likely to have been made for either Thomas or for his father Etienne, who was mayor of Dijon in 1477 and who died in 1501. Thomas was clearly a discerning patron for his Book of Hours in Paris (BnF lat.1374) includes an added miniature of St Bénigne by Jean Poyet 2. Marc René Anne Marie comte de Montalembert, soldier and French diplomat (1777-1831): his bookstamp on ff.1 and 114v, and his armorial charge tooled in gilt in the compartments of the spine. A member of one of France's oldest and most distinguished families, Marc René joined the English army in 1799 and served with distinction in Egypt, Spain and Portugal. In 1814 the Prince Regent appointed him to announce to Louis XVIII his accession to the throne. He returned to France with the prince and subsequently took up diplomatic posts in London, Stuttgart and Copenhagen. He was raised to the nobility in 1819. His political views resulted in the loss of his diplomatic position under Richelieu but he was appointed ambassador to Sweden 1826-1829. 3.Charles Forbes, comte de Montalembert (1810-1870) and his wife Marie Anne Henriette, comtesse de Mérode (m.1836): their circular armorial bookplate inside upper cover and illuminated on f.iii verso. The eldest son of Marc René, Charles Forbes René was a significant figure in French political life, an orator and writer on liberal Catholici
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