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Illumination on vellum from the Ghistelles Hours. South West Flanders, 



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THREE LARGE INITIALS WITH THREE-QUARTER BORDERS, the initials 2-line and enclosing (a) a crouching grotesque with long ears, (b) a grotesque with hooded face, and (c) the head of a woman in a nun's veil, the three-quarter borders formed of cusped illuminated bars terminating at the top and bottom in lion or dragon heads in gold, and at end of lower terminal figures of (a) a half peasant woman and half dragon, (b) a rabbit playing the bagpipes

Size of leaf: 115 x 80mm (text: 62 x 46mm). 11 lines of text in two sizes, rubrics in red.

A leaf from one of the earliest Flemish Books of Hours, and most likely illuminated for John III Ghistelles (d.1315) and his wife Margaret of Luxembourg. Another leaf from this manuscript appeared in our Bulletin no. 6 (item 3) and showed a figure bearing the arms of the family (gules, a chevron, spotted ermine: or, a lion sable). The already incomplete manuscript, identified by Rosy Schilling as having once belonged to Sir Sydney Cockerell, was broken up in the 1940s and sold through Heinrich Eisemann. Leaves are now dispersed in public and private collections (see C. de Hamel in Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in New Zealand Collections , 1989, pp.91-2).

The Calendar (now at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore) points to the diocese of Tournai and includes a list of markets in Bruges, St. Trond, Lille and Messime, and it has tables for calculating Easter made out for several years from 1300 onwards; presumably, therefore, the book was made in 1299 or 1300.

This leaf is from the Vespers in the Hours of the Virgin; the Vespers capitulum and hymn here, Beata es and Ave maris stella, conform to the Uses of Amiens, Therouanne, St-Omer, Liege, and elsewhere

Stock Code: 224974

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