[Manuscript] Book of Hours, France (Brittany?), 15th century. Large volume, small size (100 × 70 × 40 mm), ink on parchment,  leaves (94 × 60 mm), bound in 19th c. basane or ochre-turned skin (rubbed binding, spine unbound, some notebooks with gaps, others loosely bound).
Interesting handwritten book of hours, most probably made in Brittany, illustrated with a large historiated initial, 12 letters for the calendar, and more than 300 small initials painted in gold; one can also note, throughout the volume, the presence of elegant line ends treated in the same tones as the initials.
Writing area of 50 × 35 mm set in red ink, delineating lines and margins. Text copied in black ink on a column of 14 lines per page, headings in red ink; several liturgical indications in Old French are underlined in red ink (f. 73r, 83r, 89r, 89v-90r).
The volume begins with a complete calendar (f. 1r-12v). Each month, occupying one page, is announced by the letter KL (calendarium), which is 12 letters in gold ink on a red and blue background enhanced with white.
The origin of the manuscript's patron is to be found in the West of France, probably in Brittany, judging by the number of saints linked to this region: Saint Paterne, Bishop of Vannes (16 April), Saints Donatien and Rogatien of Nantes (24 May), Saint Mériadec, Bishop of Vannes (7 June), Saint Samson, Bishop of Dol (28 July), Saint William, Bishop of Saint-Brieuc (29 July), Saint Paul, Bishop of Léon (10 October), Saint Gobrien (Gobrianus), Bishop of Vannes (3 November), Saint Melaine, Bishop of Rennes (6 November), Saint Malo (Maclovius), Bishop of Aleth (15 November), whose name written in red attests to his importance, as does that of Saint Yves de Kermartin (1253-1303), patron saint of Brittany, canonised in 1347 (29 October). All these saints also appear in the Hours for the Use of Rennes of the National Library of France (ms. nouv. acq. lat. 3201, 15th century). Rarer on the other hand, are saint Sérapion (14 November) and saint Zénon (20 December) which only appear in the 15th century in a Roman missal for the use of Tours (Leroquais, M. 793).
The text opens (f. 13r) with a prayer, which is interrupted at the bottom of the verso to give way (f. 14r) to the invitatory of the Matins of the Virgin, followed by Ps. 94. This is followed by the hymn (f. 15v), Ps. 8 (f. 16v-17r), 19 (f. 18r) and 23 (f. 20r), the prayer "Precibus et meritis" (f. 21v), three lessons (f. 22r-24v) and the Te Deum (f. 24v-27r). The copy stops at the beginning of Our Lady's Lauds (f. 27r), indicated by a rubric in the middle of the page. On f. 28r, an unfinished letter inaugurates a capitulature, followed (f. 28v) by a prayer dedicated to St. Sebastian (Obsecro te). The continuation of Lauds, the beginning of which is missing, begins again on f. 29r with Ps. 93 (f. 29r), 100 (f. 29v), 63 (f. 30r), 67 (f. 31v), the hymn Dan 3, 57-88 (f. 29v), the hymn Dn 3, 57-88 (f. 31v), the hymn Dn 3, 57-88 (f. 31v), and the hymn Dn 3, 57-88 (f. 31v). 32v), Ps. 148 (f. 35r), 97 (f. 35v), 150 (f. 38r), the Capitula (f. 38v), the Benedictus (f. 39v-40v) and three lessons (f. 40v-42v). The end of the prayer to St. Sebastian is on f. 43r. The modern binding has changed the sequence of the leaves; it will be necessary to reconstruct the order of the fragments that can be guessed, among which are Vespers and the Little Hours of the Virgin, the Penitential Psalms followed by the litanies of the saints (f. 93r-112v), part of the Office for the Dead (f. 115r-120r; f. 138r-156r).
The text of the Hours begins with the illuminated letter "O" of a Christ of sorrow, seated in the sepulchre surrounded by the instruments of the Passion. This decoration is set within a square with gilded spandrels, surrounded by a black border and extended in the upper, inner and lower margins by a decoration of scrolls with a black line enhanced with gold, punctuated by blue flowers in the left corner. The letter O, in blue enhanced with white, delimits an oval with a red background against which a pale bluestone vat engraved with white motifs unfurls, set on a copper-green ground. In the foreground, an outstretched hand points to Christ who is standing halfway up, arms folded. Around and behind him are distributed, on either side of the cross, the lantern of Judas' betrayal, the column of scourging, the whip, the tunic and dice, the crown of thorns, the sponge and the spear. The vertical lines drawn by these last two instruments have been gilded, reflecting the nimbus of Christ and extending the central axis of the cross.
Finally, the text is punctuated by more than one hundred medium-sized initials (11 × 8 mm) and more than two hundred small initials (7 × 5 mm) in gold ink on a blue and red background enhanced with white. Their style, combined with the graphical design of the text, invites us to place this manuscript in the second half of the 15th century.
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