Exceptionally Rare 15th century Illuminated Miniature Book of Hours; with 6 full-page illuminated miniatures and 30 other pages with full illuminated borders
Illuminated Miniature Book of Hours.
Item Number: 95280
Flanders [Bruges]: c. 15th century.
Exceptionally rare miniature book of hours illuminated with 6 full-page miniatures and 30 other pages with full illuminated borders. 12mo, bound in nineteenth century purple velvet, 160 vellum leaves, all edges gilt, text in Latin. Full page miniatures include a man pruning a sapling with Pisces above, The Virgin and Child, The Annunciation to the Shepherds, The Nativity, The Flight into Egypt, and Mary Magdalene in a wooded landscape. The illuminator of this volume was a follower of the Master of the Dresden Prayerbook, both in terms of style and the use of full-page calendar miniatures, which are not typically found in 15th century books of hours. In near fine condition. Exceptionally rare.
A collection of prayers to be recited at canonical hours, the book of hours became popular in the Middle Ages, with illumination and decoration restricted to decorated capital letters at the start of prayers and psalms in most examples. Books created for wealthier patrons, however, were often decorated with lavish full-page miniature scenes depicting the eight Hours of the Virgin and the Labours of the Months and signs of the zodiac. The earliest example of full-page calendar miniatures in a book of hours were found in the Très Riches Heures of the Duke de Berry, the most famous and possibly the best surviving example of French Gothic manuscript illumination. The Dresden Prayerbook (actually a Book of Hours, now destroyed) had such a series, and its illuminator was especially favored for his calendar scenes, often contributing them to manuscripts painted by other artists.