Illuminated leaf on vellum from the Chester Beatty Book of HoursParis,



Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

Size of leaf: 177mm. by 131mm. 15 lines in an excellent early Gothic bookhand, text enclosed on three sides within thin gold and coloured bars, from which sprout swirls of rinceaux terminating in red, blue and gold leaves entirely filling all borders, water damaged in flood in August 1846; foliated in pencil '153' (text faded on verso)


This is a refined and elegant text leaf from what is perhaps the most famous dispersed Book of Hours in the history of manuscript collecting clearly dated by the scribe to '1408'. The parent manuscript was written by the Parisian scribe of Bodleian, MS. Douce 144, and illuminated by the celebrated Mazarine Master (see G. Bartz, Der Boucicaut-Meister, Tenschert cat. 42, 1999, p.85) and his workshop.

The original manuscript bore the inscription which put a precise date on the manuscript : Factum est anno m. cccc. viii quo ceciderunt pontes parisius (referring to the floods which washed away the Petit Pont, the Grand Pont and the Pont Neuf in Paris on 29-31 January 1408). It is very unusual to find manuscript Books of Hours with a precise date, and of over 300 Books of Hours in Leroquais, Livre d'Heures.n 1927, only five examples earlier than 1530 have fixed dates.

In the 19th century it was owned by the jeweller, John Boycott Jarman (d.1864), and was damaged during a flood in August 1846, prompting him to enlist William Caleb Wing to retouch some of the miniatures (see J. Backhouse in The British Museum Quarterly 32, 1968, pp.76-92). Thence his sale at Sotheby's, 13 June 1864, lot 47, to Edward Arnold, again his sale in same house, 6 May 1929, lot 240, and then Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), his MS.W MS.103, who had most of the miniatures separately mounted, and gave some text leaves away. The remnant were sold in Sotheby's, 24 June 1969, lots 58 and 58A-K (see also Manion and de Hamel, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in New Zealand Collections , 1989, pp.96-8).

Stock Code: 224867

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