Text leaf from the Chester Beatty Hours. [France (Paris), from manuscript dated
FRENCH SCRIBE (1408)
Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.
Single leaf (175 x 130mm). Illuminated manuscript on parchment. Single column of 15 lines in two sizes of a high-grade gothic bookhand, with red rubrics, line-fillers in coloured geometric patterns or lines of gems on gold panels, one-line initials in blue and soft-pink heightened with white penwork on gold grounds, text borders of gold and coloured bars on three sides and densely populated full border of rinceaux foliage with coloured and gold leaves, faint early folio number '12?' pencilled in upper right corner of recto.
Text leaf from the renowned Chester Beatty Book of Hours - from the vast collection of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968) - a volume illuminated by the celebrated Mazarine Master (Paris, fl.1400-1420). It is unusual for being precisely dated in its colophon to 1408, 'the year the bridges fell in Paris' ('Factum est anno m.cccc.viij. quo ceciderunt pontes parisius', f.158), referring to the floods which washed away the Petit Pont, the Grand Pont and the Pont Neuf on 29-31 January 1408.
The leaf contains text from the Office of the Dead, the second nocturn of Matins (to be said on Tuesdays and Fridays), containing the text of Psalm 26, starting 'Dominus illuminatio mea...' on the fifth line of the recto, and continuing to 26.6 on the verso.
Some minor ink erosion and water damage characteristic of all leaves from the Chester Beatty Hours, due to a flood in the home of a prior collector, goldsmith John Boykett Jarman (1782-1864) while away on holiday. Though affecting the outer portion of the border, the colour is largely intact and the intricate floral sprays remain bright and appealing, fully complementing the bold blues, reds and golds of the initials and playful line fillers.
Provenance: 1. John Boykett Jarman (d. 1864), a London jeweller, the parent manuscript damaged in a flood alongside many other items in his collection; his sale in Sotheby's, 13 June 1864, lot 47. 2. Edward Arnold; his sale in Sotheby's, 6 May 1929, lot 240. 3. Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (d. 1968), his W MS.103, who took the manuscript apart, mounting the miniatures separately and giving some text leaves to friends; the remnant was sold in Sotheby's, 24 June 1969, lots 58 and 58A-K (see M.M. Manion, V.F. Vines and C. de Hamel, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in New Zealand Collections, 1989, pp.96-98, for a list of identified leaves). 4. Acquired by Roger Martin (1939-2020), avid manuscript collector, at Freeman's, Philadelphia, 23 April 2015, lot 282; this leaf lot 79 in the sale of Martin's collection at Bloomsbury Auctions, The Roger Martin Collection of Western Manuscripts and Miniatures, 6 July, 2021.
Stock Code: 243910