KOREAN MAP, Capital Province


Map of the capital province, Joseon Korea.

Korea, first half of 18th century.


Hand-drawn map, first half of the 18th century, depicting the capital (gyeonggi 京畿) province of Joseon Korea. It is fourth of the eight provinces of Joseon Korea (Joseon paldo 朝鮮八道, which were reorganised into the 13 modern provinces in 1896.) It states the administrative classification of each district or outpost, as well as how many days of overland travel are required to reach it from the capital. It was intended to aid scholar-officials holding government civil service positions in planning their journeys. This map was produced by an unknown Joseon Korean cartographer in the celebrated and highly distinctive “Jeong Cheok” style, and it is a superb example of this quintessential pre-19th century cartographical tradition.

Mounted within thin oriental wood, framed and glazed, on bamboo paper, measuring 45cm x 39.3cm, including fabric border of 6.1-6.7cm. The map itself is 32.2cm x 27.1cm. Text border on all sides, however all but the outer border have been cropped. The border that remains is 0.9-1.2cm deep, with a slither remaining along the top. The paper has occasional faint darker areas, however none diminish the legibility or artistry. The map was folded into twelve parts, leaving two horizontal and three vertical creases, with very slight wear, including a small hole in the lower centre of the map at the intersection of two creases. Small tear in the far lower left, however the area affected is only ocean. There is also a small black smudge in the ocean just off the tip of the north-western peninsula.

The map has been produced in the style of Jeong Cheok (정척/鄭陟, 1390– 1475), a successful 15th century cartographer, himself a scholar-retainer who served several Joseon kings. The modern concepts of latitude and longitude were not understood in Korea until the early 19th century, and the flatness and distortion of the land in Jeong Cheok-style representations reflect this. Nonetheless, the shape, layout, and topographical properties of the provinces are depicted with impressive accuracy, enabling an overland traveller to plan the most direct route avoiding natural barriers. “Jeong Cheok” maps bear a number of distinct stylistic characteristics. First, further information is added in a text border surrounding the map. Second, natural topographical features are highly simplified; mountains are indicated symbolically as a jagged row of uniform peaks, and coasts and waterways are low-detail. Third, districts – always with two-syllable names – and military bases are represented by uniformly sized bubbles. In this map, these bubbles are pink; the district name is written down the centre of the bubble; to the right is the number of days of overland travel required to reach it from the capital, and to the left is its administrative classification. The capital city (gyeong ) bubble is circled twice. The Joseon administrative classification system includes, from largest to smallest, the bu (provincial capital city), mok (mid-level city), gun or su (county or prefecture), and finally lyeong or gam (small town).

The lines and text of the map are drawn in black ink. Land is uncoloured, while water is depicted in a light blue wash. Strikingly, water is coloured darker blue where it meets land. Mountains are coloured brown and labelled. Islands, also named, are depicted as white ovals in the ocean. Land-based outposts (yeogdo 驛道) and offshore ocean settlements are marked in white boxes. There is a title box with “Capital – [province] four” (gyeonggi sa 京畿四) in the top right corner. Within the text border running along the top, left, and right sides, there are remarks about what lies beyond the map in these directions.


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L1756 Ming China

Overview of the Realm (Tianxia tu lüe 天下圖略).

China, between 1625-1650.


Fascinating hand-drawn map depicting Ming明 dynasty (1368 – 1644) China and surrounding lands produced by an unknown Chinese cartographer between 1625 and 1650. The map aids long distance journeys by water. It makes prominent the inland waterway networks and oceans of Ming China and beyond. It also depicts those locations – cities, countries, and islands – that can be accessed by navigating expanses of water, including distant locations. Other unusual features include the notation of corresponding constellations for each province and the names of local tribes. Stylistically, the map is clear and minimal, using a simple palette of red, brown, and blue wash. Overall, with its culturally rich and eclectic content and its portable size, this map would have been a valued personal possession of an enthusiastic and well-travelled scholar, learned merchant, or even Jesuit. It is highly likely that the map was unique to its original owner.

Mounted within thin oriental dark wood, framed and glazed, measuring 39cm x 30.5cm, on bamboo paper. The paper is slightly yellowed and there are occasional darker marks, however none of this diminishes the legibility or artistry. Previously folded into six parts, the creases are dark and worn, so writing and imagery is occasionally partially obscured. Small tear on character “略” of the title. The map is bordered with a thin black line, set within a further black-lined border, 3.5cm deep at foot, 1-1.3cm at left, 0.3-0.6cm at right, and 5.3-5.5cm deep at head. The map measures 28.5cm (head) x 28.7cm (foot) x 29.7cm (left) x 29.4cm (right); it does not form a perfect square. In the top right hand corner is a box bearing the title “天下圖略” (and the final character is a variant.) Text and lines are in black ink. Land is not coloured, water is indicated with a pale blue wash, and mountains are dark brown. Province boundaries not obvious from natural topological barriers are lined red. Ringed in red are cities of political, cultural, and historical significance. Names of the provinces are ringed in black, and of towns and cities in black boxes.

Within the map, the fourteen administrative provinces of Ming China are disproportionately expanded relative to surrounding areas. They account for approximately 80% of the surface. The layout of the inland waterway network is the most prominent feature. Minor rivers are rendered as large as major ones, and named. Lakes and even the sources of some rivers are named. Also privileged are the relative positions of major waterside settlements. The map depicts them as similarly sized and spaced, illustrating at a glance the order in which one would arrive if travelling by boat. This depiction of the waterway network and its cities is distorted to fill the area of Ming China, and water-poor areas in the far west and north are dramatically shrunk or dispensed with entirely. Compensating for the distortion, the true distance between major Ming Chinese cities is stated in miles (li ) at several points.

Cities and districts of greatest political, cultural, and historical significance are ringed in red: the northern and southern capitals of Beijing 北京 and Nanjing 南京, the cultural centre and ancient capital of Luoyang 洛陽, and Xianyang 咸陽. Xianyang was important to the Western Zhou (1046 – 771 BC, remembered as a halcyon period of pre-imperial China) and as well as the capital of the first dynasty, the Qin (221 – 206 BC), and these dynasties are noted on the map. Also drawn and named are several mountain ranges, which would serve as markers for navigation by water. Interestingly, the name markers of many of the fourteen provinces and Joseon Korea (Chaoxian 朝鮮) are accompanied by the name of corresponding constellations from among the twenty-eight lunar lodges (ershiba su 二十八宿). The Great Wall (chang cheng 長城) is marked, but its shape is distorted. For example, Ming extensions of the Wall into the east, which reach to the modern border of North Korea, are depicted as a stub. Similarly, the western extremities of the Wall extending through modern Gansu and Xinjiang are shrunk and simplified.

Water features are also the focus in the depiction of territories beyond the border. Interestingly, foreign water features are rendered as large and as clearly as those within Ming China, even if unconnected. These include Lake Baikal (Hanhai 瀚海) and, in the southwest, what appears to be the Indus river. Mountains that are near to or form the source include the Khentii mountains (Langjushan 狼居山) and of greatest cultural importance, the Kunlun 崑崙 mountains in the west. One of the most intriguing features is the depiction of the mythical underground river linking the Yellow River back to its imagined source in the Kunluns, drawn in faint yellow and running below the Great Wall. Many non-Han tribes, settlements, and ethnic groups are indicated in their proper locales.

In addition to these natural features, also depicted are outlying foreign regions and nations, bordering China or accessible by water. These are rendered comparatively small in contrast to the provinces of Ming China itself. These include modern Tibet and Xinjiang (Xifan 西蕃), Joseon Korea, Japan (Ribenguo 日本国), what is now Vietnam (indicated both as Annan 安南 and Jiaozhi 交趾), Thailand (“Siam”, Xianluoguo 暹羅国), the Chenla kingdom (Zhenlaguo 真臘国), and modern-day Hainan (Qiongzhou 瓊州). (It is noteworthy that the character used for “country”, guo , is a pre-modern simplified form.) Also included is the Xiaoliuqiu 小琉球 island, just off the southern coast of Taiwan. However, Taiwan is not depicted, even though it was well-known to and settled by the Ming Chinese. This is also the case in other maps of the period.

Far off islands in the southern and eastern seas or circled regions in the west and north are marked in minimal detail. The Liuqiu kingdom (Liuqiuguo 琉球国), for example, refers to unspecified islands in the East China Sea, though the name is currently used for the Ryukyu Islands. The “Kingdom of pierced stomachs” (Chuanweiguo 穿胃国), “Kingdom of large men” (Darenguo 大人国), and “Kingdom of little men” (Xiaorenguo 小人国) belong to this category. Most interesting among these, perhaps, is the country is the far southeast, Nürenguo 女人国, “Kingdom of women”. Some scholars believe this refers to the uncharted but rumoured areas of Northern Australia, which many Ming Chinese presumed to operate a matriarchal society. Interestingly, in the territories to the west there are circled spaces that have been left blank, anticipating unknown lands there whose names might be added.


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KOREAN MAP, Jeolla Province


Map of Jeolla province, Joseon Korea.

Korea, first half of 18th century.


Hand-drawn map, first half of the 18th century, depicting Jeolla 全羅, sixth of the eight provinces of Joseon Korea (Joseon paldo 朝鮮八道, which were reorganised into the 13 modern provinces in 1896.) It states the administrative classification of each district or outpost, as well as how many days of overland travel are required to reach it from the capital. It was intended to aid scholar-officials holding government civil service positions in planning their journeys. This map was produced by an unknown Joseon Korean cartographer in the celebrated and highly distinctive “Jeong Cheok” style, and is a superb example of this quintessential pre-19th century cartographical tradition.

Mounted within thin oriental wood, framed and glazed, the map, on bamboo paper, is set within a fabric border 5.9cm deep, measuring 45cm x 39.3cm. The map itself is 33cm x 27.3cm. Text border on all sides, however the lower border has been cropped. The borders that remain are 1.4cm deep. The paper has occasional faint darker areas, however none diminish the legibility or artistry. The map was folded into twelve parts, leaving two horizontal and three vertical creases, with very slight wear. Small hole in the lower centre of the map at the intersection of two creases; tear at lower edge (6.5cm x 3cm at its worst) affecting the depiction of the southernmost peninsula.

The map has been produced in the style of Jeong Cheok (정척/鄭陟, 1390 – 1475), a successful 15th century cartographer, himself a scholar-retainer who served several Joseon kings. The modern concepts of latitude and longitude were not understood in Korea until the early 19th century, and the flatness and distortion of the land in Jeong Cheok-style representations reflect this. Nonetheless, the shape, layout, and topographical properties of the provinces are depicted with impressive accuracy, enabling an overland traveller to plan the most direct route avoiding natural barriers.

“Jeong Cheok” maps bear a number of distinct stylistic characteristics. First, further information is added in a text border surrounding the map. Second, natural topographical features are highly simplified; mountains are indicated symbolically as a jagged row of uniform peaks, and coasts and waterways are low-detail. Third, districts (always with two-syllable names) and military bases are represented by uniformly sized bubbles. In this map, these bubbles are pink; the district name is written down the centre of the bubble; to the right is the number of days of overland travel required to reach it from the capital, and to the left is its administrative classification. The Joseon administrative classification system includes, from largest to smallest, the bu (provincial capital city), mok (mid-level city), gun or su (county or prefecture), and finally lyeong or gam (small town).

The lines and text of the map are drawn in black ink. Land is uncoloured, while water is depicted in a light blue wash. Strikingly, water is coloured darker blue where it meets land. Mountains are coloured brown and labelled. Islands, also named, are depicted as white ovals in the ocean. There are one military base (byeongyeong 兵營) and two naval bases (suyeong 水營), left and right, in pink bubbles. Land-based outposts (yeogdo 驛道) and offshore ocean settlements are marked in white boxes. There is a title box with “Jeolla province – six” (Jeolla do lyuk 全羅道六) in the top right corner. Within the text border running along the top, left, and right sides, there are remarks about what lies beyond the map in these directions.


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BIBLE, Cistercian



Illuminated manuscript on vellum.

Italy, Lombardy, circa 1170-1190.


460 x 310 mm, 251 leaves on parchment, substantially complete: I8-1 (i excised, probably blank), II-XIII8, XIV8+2 (bifolium added between vi and vii), XV-XVII8 (iii and vi as singletons), XVIII-XXXI8), wanting a quire after VIII (fol. 63), two after XXIV (fol. 194), and quire XXXII but for fol. 251, Catchwords at lower margin of last verso of quires; paper flyleaf and conjoint pastedown at beginning and end. 325 x 204 (93, 21, 90) mm; ruled for two columns and 34 lines of text in lead point, pricking at upper and lower margins and fore-edge (from recto), additional vertical line between the bounders dividing the two columns. North-Italian transitional caroline script (Littera carolina) in brown, corrections and additions in black throughout and text on additional leaves 110-111 provided by a second contemporary North-Italian Cistercian hand (Littera protogothica textualis); marginal notes referring to readings in the refectory in the Gospels: “Hic dimittatur legere in refectorio” (fols 201r,  215r, 239r) and “Hic incipiatur legere” (fols 217v, 242r); marginal chapter references in an Italian hand in grey ink throughout, c.1400. Rubrics, often with notes in small hand (littera glossularis), in lower (occasionally upper) margin as on fol. 109v, providing guidance to the rubricator, chapter numbers and marginal numbering of the biblical readings (Lc .I. , Lc .II. etc) in red throughout; running titles by rubricator in red at beginning and end of gatherings up to fol. 103r, otherwise in dark brown or grey ink by different hands to the end of the Epistles (fol. 166v). Two large initials (9-15 lines), the first in blue, the second blue and red, both with penwork decoration in red, blue and green and followed by first words of text in red capitals touched in blue (fols 2r and 35v); one large 7 line initial in blue with reserved blank and penwork decoration in red and yellow (fol. 95v); similar large initials (6-13 lines) in red, occasionally extending into the margin, at beginning of texts (fols 119v-242v); minor initials (2-4 lines) in red, green and red (fol. 15v) or blue and red (fol. 107v) throughout. Three large initials (16-25 lines) in red with reserved red and black penwork decoration supplied to the additional text on fols 110r, 111r and 111v. Strong Italian parchment, with a number of natural flaws and some cuts with medieval repairs (see fol. 20); fol. 119 with a long horizontal cut, but complete; lower margin of fols 232-233 and 237 and fore-edge of fol. 238 cut away; overall in good condition. In later brown sheepskin over unbevelled wooden boards, some scuffmarks, sewn on four double-split spine bands of alum-tawed skin, two endbands on parchment core with yellow sewing thread, now loose, and title “Quat. [?] Proph. mai / et / Plus [?].Lib.N.Test.” on spine, shelfmark “229” in black ink on upper pastedown; shelfmarks “35” and “67” on spine, all 17th/18th century.

This splendid volume was produced in Northern Italy in the second half of the twelfth century for the use of a monastery of the Cistercian order, established in 1098 by Robert of Molesme at Cîteaux. The unusual order of the biblical texts (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel; Epistles, Acts and Apocalypse; the Gospels), reflects a programme of reading in the Night Office carried out in Cistercian communities from Advent to Epiphany, Lent, and Easter to Pentecost (ordo librorum ad legendum; Reilly 2005, pp. 169-170). The Cistercians included the reading of the four Gospels into the refectory element of their annual cycle, but excluded the Passion narratives as highlighted in the manuscript by the marginal notes “Hic dimittatur legere in refectorio” (fols 201r,  215r, 239r) (Webber 2010, pp. 20 n. 47, 32). The large size of the volume, the two-column layout, well-spaced lettering and use of red minor initials throughout were designed to assure legibility for reading aloud. The additional punctuation supplied by the second hand in a darker ink in accordance with the Cistercian practice of indicating short, medium and long pauses in the reading, supplied further helpful guidance (Parkes 1992, pp. 195, 197). The textual corrections by this second hand testify to the attention paid to the correctness of biblical texts in accordance with St Bernard of Clairvaux’s wishes.

The sober yet elegant decoration of the initials also follows the Cistercian practice of austerity, including restrained decoration in their manuscripts. The initials to Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel are similar in style to those found in a 12th-century manuscript Bible now in the Biblioteca Civica “Angelo Mai” at Bergamo, MA 600 (olim Alpha V 17; see Zizzo), with an almost certain Cistercian origin. The three initials in red with reserved and red and black penwork decoration on leaves 110r-111v are consistent with the decoration of Cistercian manuscripts produced in Italy, as in two 12th-century codices; an Office lectionary at Harvard, Houghton Library, Typ 223 online at http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/collections/early_manuscripts/bibliographies/Typ.cfm, from the Abbey of Morimondo (Ferrari 1993, p. 299) and from Acquafredda Abbey (see Ferrari 1993, p. 295) a 12th century Commentary on The Old Testament-Pentateuch by Isidore of Seville and Hugh of St Victor’s Rex Salomon, now at Berkeley, Bancroft Library, MS UCB 16.

Both these manuscripts have covers almost identical to the present, and bear similar titles on the second spine compartment, also found on Jerome’s Commentary on the Minor Prophets, now Milan, Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Gerli MS 12, identified by Ferrari (Ferrari 1999, pp. 36, 41-42, 44) as one of the manuscripts mentioned in the twelfth-century book list from the Abbey of Morimondo found on the last verso of the Abbey’s Office lectionary mentioned above (Houghton Library, Typ 223).

The present manuscript shares the same 18th-century provenance, if not origin, as those three manuscripts now at Milan, Berkeley and Cambridge. From the beginning of the eighteenth century many manuscripts from Cistercian abbeys in Lombardy were collected at the monastery of S. Ambrogio in Milan to support the programme of cultural reform promoted by the Congregation of St Bernard in Italy and the Austrian government. On arrival at S. Ambrogio, they may have been supplied with new covers and a manuscript title on the spine. The present manuscript must have arrived about the same time, when the influx increased exponentially with the suppressions of the monasteries in the last quarter of the century; many of these codices were then dispersed onto the open market. A good number were acquired by the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, but many entered private collections, such as those of the marchesi Trivulzio of Milan, Count Francesco Giovio (1796 – 1873) of Como, and Matteo Luigi Canonici (1727 – 1805), Jesuit and antiquarian of Venice, further dispersed through later sales.

A twentieth-century note in English pencilled on the upper flyleaf suggests that this manuscript may have passed through the hands of the bookseller Giuseppe (Joseph) Martini of Lugano between 1913 and 1942, though it is not mentioned by Ferrari in her list of Cistercian manuscripts described in Martini’s catalogues (Ferrari 1999, pp. 34-35). It was Martini who probably invented the myth of provenance from the library of the celebrated humanist Paolo Giovio (1483 – 1552) still recorded in the literature of some Italian Cistercian manuscripts (see Berkeley, University of California, Bancroft Library, MS UCB 16, in Digital Scriptorium).


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Book of Hours, Use of Rome, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum.

France, Paris, c. 1470s


165 x 116 mm (cropped), 228 leaves on parchment: I12, II-III8, IV4, V-XIV8, XV6, XVI-XXVII8, XXVIII6, XXIX8, no catchwords; parchment bifolium including upper pastedown and three flyleaves (fols i-iii) at beginning, two additional gatherings of four and eight leaves respectively at end, last gathering wanting blank leaves vi-viii, blank v used as lower pastedown (fols 229-236; fols 235-236 blank). Justification: 85 x 55 mm (Calendar), 83 x 52 mm (main text), and 85 x 54 mm (added prayers at the end, fols 228r-234v); ruled in purple for single vertical and horizontal bounding lines (upper and lower horizontal lines extending into the margins), 18 ruled horizontal lines for 17 written lines for Calendar, and 16 ruled for 15 written for main text and prayers (fols 228r-234v). Regular French Gothic bookhand [Textualis Rotunda Formata], dark brown ink for main text, gold and alternating blue and purple inks for Calendar; small French cursive bookhand [Cursiva formata] in light brown ink for added prayers (fols 228r-234v), late 15th or early 16th century. Rubrics in purple; verse initials (1-line high) in gold set against red and blue grounds with white tracery decoration; rectangular line fillers of red, blue and gold with white tracery; Calendar, Hours and psalm initials (2-3 lines high) in blue with white tracery set against burnished gold-leaf grounds decorated with clover-leaves and flowers in blue and red highlighted with white tracery; panel borders in outer margins of text pages decorated with leaves, berries and flowers, including acanthus leaves, strawberries, blackberries and daisies, in gold, blue, red, light purple and green; 24 small miniatures (5-6 lines high) in the panel borders of the Calendar pages representing the works of the months on rectos and zodiacal signs on versos: festive table for January (fol. 1r), warming by the fire for February (fol. 2r), pruning for March (fol. 3r), tree bearer for April (fol. 4r), man and maid on horseback with bird for May (fol. 5r), hay making for June (fol. 6r), harvesting for July (fol. 7r), reaping for August (fol. 8r), winemaking for September (fol. 9r), sowing for October (fol. 10r), hog feeding for November (fol. 11r), hog killing for December (fol. 12r); 5 full-page miniatures representing: St John scroll on Patmos and martyred in a boiling oil caldron (fol. 13r), St Luke reading in his columned study and as a physician with patients and examining a urine flask below (fol. 15r), St Matthew writing under a canopy in his study and resuscitating the son of King Hirtacus in the lower part (fol. 17r), St Mark cutting his quill in study in the upper part and dragged from a chapel to his martyrdom below (fol. 19r), an angel bringing the news to Joachim in a field on the left, the Meeting at the Golden Gate on the centre right, an angel bringing the news to St. Anne below (fol. 20v). 26 large miniatures at beginning of prayers, canonical hours, offices and suffrages: the Virgin and Child with an angel, presented with a red velvet box by the owner of the manuscript (fol. 26r), the Annunciation, with small miniatures representing the Meeting at the Golden Gate, the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and the Birth of the Virgin (fol. 33r), the Visitation (fol. 46r), the Nativity (fol. 60r), the Annunciation to the Shepherds (fol. 66r), the Adoration of the Magi (fol. 71v), the Presentation in the Temple (fol. 77r), the Flight into Egypt, with fall of idol (fol. 83r), the Coronation of the Virgin (fol. 93r), David in prayer, with small miniatures representing David and Goliath, David returning in triumph with Goliath’s head on the point of the giant’s sword meeting women singing his praise, and David offering Goliath’s head to Saul (fol. 119r), the Crucifixion, with small miniatures representing Pilate washing his hands, the Scourging of Christ, and Christ carrying the Cross (fol. 145r), Pentecost (fol. 153r), Funeral service (fol. 160r), St Michael (fol. 215r), Sts Peter and Paul (fol. 216r), St Nicholas (fol. 217r), St Stephen (fol. 218r), St Sebastian (fol. 219r), St Laurence (fol. 220r), St Christopher (fol. 221r), St Magdalene (fol. 222r), St Catherine (fol. 223r), St Margaret (fol. 224r), St Anthony (fol. 225r), St Barbara (fol. 226r), St Martha (fol 227r). Mottoes “Besoing en ay” in letters of silver, red and black against a golden ground (fol. 25v) and “La me veuge” in black letters against a golden ground (fol. 159v). The du Chastel arms (barry of six, or and gules) on fols 26r, 46r, 60r, 66r, 71v, 92v, 153r, 160r; overpainted: gules, two bars or (fols 26r, 60r and 66r), gules, possibly a lion crowned or (fols 46r, 71v, 153r and 160r), and gules, three bars or (fol. 92v). Good quality parchment, margins very slightly cropped, very minor damage to the outer frame of a few full-page miniatures; overall in very good condition. Wooden boards, partially bevelled along outer edges, sewn on five double-split spine bands of alum-tawed skin, late 15th century; two endbands of alum-tawed skin with decorative sewing in alternating red and green threads (tail endband damaged), in contemporary red velvet, edges gilt; joints and edges worn, old repairs to spine.

The illumination of this beautifully produced Book of Hours, Use of Rome, is attributable to Maître François Le Barbier. Maître François was active in Paris between c. 1460 and 1480 and has been identified as the son of Jean Rolin, as well as possibly the father of the Maître de Jacques de Besançon (see M. Deldicque, “L’enluminure à Paris à la fin du XVe siècle: Maître François, le Maître de Jacques de Besançon et Jacques de Besançon identifié?”, Revue de l’Art, 183.1, 2014, pp. 9-18). His style was characterised by well-ordered compositions with elegant and slender if slightly stiff figures within sumptuous architectural settings, often on two or more registers, painted in a rich palette of intense and vibrant colours. His atelier, situated on the bridge of Notre-Dame, was very successful and [ ], and dominated the market of illuminated manuscripts in the third quarter of the fifteenth century in Paris (F. Avril and N. Reynaud in Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440 – 1520, Paris, 1995, p. 45, number fifty attributed manuscripts, often of gigantic proportions and in multiple volumes), with many imitators.

Thirty extant Books of Hours are attributed to Maître François and his atelier, many of which were commissioned by non-Parisian patrons, including Jacques de Langeac, son of Jean, sénéchal of Auvergne, whose Hours is datable to 1465 – 1468 (Lyon, Bibl. Municipale, MS. 5154; see Avril and Reynaud 1995, no. 14). The architectural settings in the miniatures of the Langeac Heures, dated 1465 by their scribe, are simple and less ornate than in the present book. The style and palette of the miniatures in the latter are closer to a miscellany known as Le Mignon, which includes Henri Romain’s Abrégé de Tite-Live, the Compendium historial and other texts (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Fr. 9186). This historical miscellany was produced about 1470 for Jacques d’Armagnac, Duke of Nemour (1433 – 1477), but was taken from his library following his defeat during the siege of the Château de Carlat in 1476 and given in reward for his valliance to the military captain Tanneguy or Tanguy IV du Chastel (see Avril and Reynaud 1995, no. 15; R. Claerr, “Un couple de bibliophiles Bretons du XVe siècle,” Le Trémazan des Du Chastel, 2006, pp. 169-87: p. 170; J.-L. Deuffic, “L’évêque et le soldat, Jean et Tanguy (IV) Du Chastel”). A date in the 1470s is plausible for the present Book of Hours as well.

The original arms here have been overpainted, but are still visible from the back. Barry of six, or and gules, they are identifiable as those of Tanguy IV du Chastel’s family, at the time one of the most prominent in Brittany. This identification is validated by the inclusion of the number of Breton saints in the otherwise Parisian calendar: Brigide, Albin, Patrice, Mamert, Yves, Donatien martyr of Nantes, Turiaw bishop of Dol, Magloire, Cler first bishop of Nantes, Malo, Maudez and Columbain.

Tanguy IV du Chastel ((1425-1477), Grand Esquire of France for King Charles VII (r. 1422-1461), Grand Maître d’hôtel and captain of Nantes for François II, Duke of Brittany (r. 1458-1488), and governor of Roussillon and Cerdagne for King Louis XI (r. 1461-1483), was a well-known bibliophile. He is perhaps not, however, the original owner of the present manuscript. Being the fourth son, his arms (barry of six, or and gules, a bordure counterchanged) should have a cadency mark or brisure and were so represented generally in the manuscripts he commissioned or owned, often together with his wife, Jeanne Raguenel-Malestroit (d. 1506). They can be found in the above-mentioned Le Mignon miscellany (fol. 252), and of the Histoire Ancienne jusqu’à César (now New York Public Library, Spencer 041, and Rennes, Métropole, MS. 2331, for which see http://manuscrit7.rssing.com/chan-5252971/all_p7.html). In addition, the mottoes “Besoing en ay” (fol. 25v) and “La me veuge” (fol. 159v) differ from the motto “i li est Deu” often found in Tanguy and Jeanne du Chastel’s manuscripts.

Here, Maître François portrayed the owner of the manuscript as a blond relatively youthful noble layman, whereas Tanguy may have been in his late forties or early fifties when the manuscript was commissioned and would have been more probably portrayed as a military captain rather than a courtier. The owner is shown wearing a black tabard over a burgundy doublet and dark grey tunica with a low belt, also burgundy, kneeling before the Virgin and Child and offering a red-velvet jewellery box. The style of the clothing and the black-velvet and fur bonnet, hanging on the youth’s back, puts the date of the decoration to the 1470s.

The noble owner must belong to the main line of the du Chastel family. He is possibly identifiable with Tanguy’s grandnephew and namesake Tanguy du Chastel (d. 1521), seigneur du Chastel et du Poulmic, Lescoët, Leslein et Kersalio. From the marriage of his father Olivier du Chastel (d. after 1476) with Marie de Poulmic on 27 January 1459, young Tanguy was in his late teens when the manuscript was commissioned. He might have passed the manuscript on to his son Olivier (1516 – 1550), who was elected abbot of Notre-Dame de Daoulas in 1535. Olivier could have commissioned the addition of the galero with six tassels to the original arms after this appointment. Lack of space caused the modification of the arms as “gules, two bars or” on fols 26r, 60r and 66r, whereas on fol. 92v the galero and its decorated frame were added without the need of altering the original arms.

It is unlikely that a teenage boy commissioned a manuscript of such sophistication and cost. It is much more likely that it was commissioned by a patron of considerable wealth, bibliographic experience and taste, and was presented to the young man on his coming of age or other similar achievement. In that case, by far the most likely patron was Tanguy IV du Chastel, his wife, or indeed both of them. It would be consistent with the quality of books that each was collecting and was perhaps intended as an encouragement to the recipient nephew to share their passion; they had no son. Tanguy died in 1477.

The fate of the manuscript in the following centuries is mysterious. Sometime in the sixteenth or seventeenth century the arms on fols 46r, 71v, 153r and 160r were modified, possibly as “gules, a lion crowned or” (fols 46r, 71v, 153r and 160r), unidentified. A possible eighteen-century owner was Louis Abraham d’Harcourt-Beuvron (1694 – 1750), abbot of Preuilly, Signy and Saint-Taurin. His arms were “gules, two bars or” as the modified arms on fols 26r, 60r and 66r, and he could have asked for the arms on fol. 92v to be modified as “gules, three bars or.” Abbot d’Harcourt-Beuvron was an influential figure in Paris in the second quarter of the century and on 1 January 1748 was elected Commandeur du Saint-Esprit. He was also Canon and Honorary Dean of Notre-Dame, and in 1746 the cathedral Chapter bestowed on him and his family the Chapel of St Peter and St Stephen, were he was on 27 September 1750.

The eighteenth-century modification to the original arms on fol. 92v seems to exclude the suggestion that the manuscript was acquired by Cardinal Niccolò Maria Lercari (1675 – 1757). In fact, his arms were identical to the du Chastel and here would have been no need to alter them. He might, however, have come across the manuscript during his time as vice-legate in Avignon (July 1739 and June 1744) and found the similarity between his arms and those in the manuscript appealing. This hypothesis is supported by the presence of the note in Italian “Fogli gotica duecentoventisei = / Figure de Santi Trentuno =” on fol. 235r, the manuscript was in Italian hands sometime between the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

In the twentieth century the manuscript belonged to three distinguished English and American collectors: Captain Robert George Wilmot Berkeley (1898-1969), of Spetchley Park and Berkeley Castle, High Sheriff of Worcestershire and first-class cricketer (his sale, Sotheby’s, 29 November 1949, lot 19, as one of “Three manuscripts of exceptional quality”); Apsley George Benet Cherry-Garrard (1886-1959), a former member of Captain Scott’s 1910-1913 expedition to the British Antarctic, author of The Worst Journey in the World and bibliophile (his sale, Sotheby’s, 5 June 1961, lot 130); Paul Francis Webster (1907-1984), lyricist and composer (his gilt leather booklabel on upper pastedown; his sale, Sotheby’s New York, 24 April 1985, lot 100).


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Leaf from a Book of Hours.

Northern France, probably Paris, 1450.


Illuminated E letter on vellum, ‘Ego dixi in dimidio dierum…’. 24 lines of text with blank spaces filled by dark blue and gold bars. The same colours are used to decorate smaller initials at the beginning of each row. Both sides displayable. On its verso, an illuminated E at the bottom of the page starts Canticum (in red) ’Exultauit cor meum in domino.’

CJS 6b

LUTTRELL, Narcissus. Seal.

Desk Seal.


Elegant bone and silver-mounted desk seal, c. 1682, the handle in the form of a sphere unscrewing at its equator with a compartment for wafers, the intaglio quartz matrix (1 cm) with the arms of Narcissus Luttrell and his wife Sarah, dexter: Luttrell and Mapowder (his mother, heiress with her sister of the Mapowder estate) and, sinister: Baker for his wife Sarah, 7 cm long, small chip to matrix edge.

A rare 17th century example of a fine desk seal with an important book collecting association. Narcissus Luttrell (1657 – 1732) was a member of Parliament, annalist and book collector, whose chronicles of contemporary events and parliamentary diary are particularly valuable. His very extensive library of books and manuscripts, especially political and poetical works, was dispersed piecemeal by Luttrell’s descendants and many items are no longer traceable. A substantial number of the printed works were eventually acquired by the British Library, and a large number of manuscripts found their way to the Codrington Library in 1786, while more recently many items were donated to the Beinecke Library of Yale University. Luttrell married Sarah, daughter of Daniel Baker (a prosperous London merchant), in February 1682 and this seal is likely to have been made close after that date. Luttrell’s silver penner with the same arms on the top is held by the Victoria & Albert Museum (Ref. M. 298 – 1975).




Book of Hours, Use of Rome, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum.

Flanders, 3rd quarter of the 15th-century.


Small 8vo., 96 x 68 mm, 223 leaves on parchment, including 13 added leaves (fols 1, 10, 24, 48, 64, 71, 78, 85, 92, 103, 112, 124, 151), without the calendar, two leaves after fol. 17, the first added to the original collation, and some additions to the text at end; collation: I8+1, II8+2 (viii and leaf added after vii excised at the end), III6, IV8+1, V8, VI8+1, VII8, VIII8+1, IX-X8, XI8+2, XII8, XIII-XV8+1, XVI-XVII8, XVIII6, XIX8+1, XX-XXV8, XXVI8+2, XXVII4, XXVIII4-2 (iii-iv excised), traces of catchwords in lower margin of last verso of quires (see fols 49v, 94v, 102v, 145v, 167v, 175v and 183v). Justification 50 x 33 mm, ruled in purple for single vertical bounding lines and 16 horizontal lines for 15 written lines below top ruled line. Regular Gothic bookhand (Textualis Rotunda Formata) in brown and red, possibly by an Italian scribe. Rubrics in red; versal initials (1-line high) in blue or gold with red or black pen-work decoration throughout; psalm and prayers initials (2-line high) in burnished gold-leaf set against a square ground of blue and red with white tracery throughout; 13 large illuminated book-initials and full decorated borders on fols 2r, 11r, 25r, 49r, 65r, 72r, 79r, 86r, 93r, 104r, 113r, 125r and 152r: initials (5-line high) in blue or red with white tracery decoration set against burnished gold-leaf grounds infilled with ivy-leaves decoration in blue, red, purple and green highlighted with white tracery, borders decorated with acanthus and other leaves, strawberries and flowers in gold, blue, red, pink and green, gold bar framing text on left, right and lower border, reserved white ground of the borders on fols 2r and 25r with added shell-gold; 13 full-page miniatures in the style of the Mildmay Master, with double-bar and arch-topped frames in burnished gold and purple set within full decorated borders on fols 1v, 10v, 24v, 48v, 64v, 71v, 78v, 85v, 92v, 103v, 112v, 124v, 151v: borders decorated as above, with reserved white ground of borders on fols 1v and 24v with added shell-gold, miniatures illustrating the Crucifixion, Pentecost, Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Annunciation to the Shepherds, Adoration of the Magi, Presentation in the Temple, Massacre of the Innocents, Flight to Egypt, Coronation of the Virgin, King David in prayer and Raising of Lazarus. Good quality parchment, well preserved, margins slightly trimmed, little sign of thumbing in lower right corners. Sewn on three spine bands of double-split alum-tawed skin and with bookblock edges gilt and gauffered, late fifteenth or early sixteenth century; in brown morocco with blind-fillet decoration on thin wooden boards, re-cased probably in 16th century, newer parchment flyleaf and conjoint pastedown at the beginning and the end. In modern brown cloth box. Some worming on boards and flyleaves only.

This charming Book of Hours was produced in Bruges. It is a fine representative of the devotional manuscripts from the second half of the 15th century. These books were the result of the work of a number of different artisans and artists working separately on the different phases of production – the copying of the text, the decoration of minor initials and line fillers, and the illumination of initials, borders and miniatures. The devotional texts were usually copied on dedicated single or multiple quires according to their length, with the beginnings of the canonical hours copied on rectos; they were then assembled in volumes whose textual sequences corresponded to the requirements of the individual customers, with dedicated miniatures inserted to face the beginning of the canonical hours and other illumination and decoration added to the clients’ taste and means. All the illuminated miniatures of the present manuscript are on the verso of added singletons whose parchment is often heavier and thicker than the soft and beautiful parchment of the quires, which shows hardly any visible difference between the flesh and the hair side.

It is therefore unusual to find manuscripts made by the same scribe, rubricator, decorator and illuminator/s, but each of their components may find matches in different manuscripts. This manuscript shows the same textual and illustrative sequence as London, British Library, MSS Harley 1853 and Stowe 26, but for the absence of the Mass of the Virgin and perhaps of the Psalter of St Jerome at the end. The three manuscripts are also similarly diminutive. Its beautiful Italianate Gothic hand matches that of Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum MS. W. 179. The rubrication and decoration of minor initials and line-fillers is close to that of Les Enlumineures Book of Hours 61, BL Stowe MS 26, Walters MSS 190 and 196 (made for Queen Eleanor of Portugal), and the Derval Hours, Sotheby’s, 5 July 2005, lot 98 (made for Jean de Châteaugiron, seigneur de Derval and chamberlain of Brittany). The accomplished decoration of the borders finds correspondence in Les Enlumineures Book of Hours 61 and possibly Chicago, Newberry Library, Case MS. 35 (the Mildmay Hours).

The sequence of miniatures for the Hours of the Virgin corresponds to the cycle of the Infancy of Christ as was customary in Southern Flanders at the time (see B. Bousmanne, “Item a Guillaume Wyelant aussi enlumineur,” Bruxelles, 1997, p. 164).  The manuscript was undoubtedly illuminated in the circle of Wilhelm Vrelant (d. 1481; active in Bruges from 1454), the most successful illuminator in Bruges at that time. His patrons included the Dukes of Burgundy and members of their family and court as well as French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian royalty, diplomats, aristocrats, bankers and wealthy merchants. Judging from their surviving manuscripts, he and his collaborators produced devotional books in far greater numbers than any other text; it is therefore not surprising that at the time the so-called “Vrelant style” became very popular and had a strong impact on the production of Books of Hours.

The full-page miniatures are in the style of an anonymous illuminator singled out among Vrelant’s collaborators by Nicholas Rogers and given the name of the Mildmay Master after a Book of Hours in the Newberry Library in Chicago (Case MS. 35) that in the 16th century belonged to Sir Thomas Mildmay (b. in or before 1515, d. 1566), Auditor of the Court of Augmentations for Henry VIII. The master collaborated with Vrelant in the decoration of a four-volume copy of the Golden Legend in French translation for Jean d’Auxy, knight of the Golden Fleece (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MSS 672-675.

A direct comparison with the Book of Hours in the British Library (Harley MS 3000) suggests that the artist working on the present manuscript is not the Mildmay Master, even though he is seemingly the same artist of a Book of Hours attributed to him in S. Hindman and A. Bergeron-Foote, An intimate Art. 12 Books of Hours for 2012, London, 2012. He is also the same artist of another devotional manuscript (Walters MS. W. 177). The anonymous artist of these three manuscripts managed to avoid the sharp linearity and rarefied stillness that characterise the works of the Mildmay Master and used a different and warmer palette of deeper blues and reds. The iconography of his decorative cycles follows the models employed by Vrelant and his followers, but his miniatures display distinctive delicate features for the Virgin (see here the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Adoration of the Magi on fols 24v, 64v and 78v), elongated male faces (in particular of Christ on the Cross and David in prayer on fols 1v and 124v), landscapes of rolling green hills and mountains turning to dark blue in the distance, and interiors characterised by gilt-embroidered tapestries and pink and grey walls with white-stucco decoration that includes a very distinctive element. This element recalls the monograms in the trade-mark stamps imposed on the Bruges illuminators by the town administration to stop the import of illuminated single leaves by foreign artists who were not registered with the Guild. This decorative element is particularly similar to the stamp of Adriaen de Raedt, an apprentice of Vrelant in the years 1473-1475, who was occasionally named as Vrelant in the Guild’s documents.

Almost all miniatures in the present book are a simplified version of the standardized Flemish iconography for the cycle of the Infancy of Christ disseminated by Vrelant and his followers, and found, for instance, in two Books of Hours attributed to Wilhelm Vrelant and/or associates(Walters MSS W. 196 and 197), and in the Arenberg Hours attributed to the Mildmay Master (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, MS. Ludwig IX 8 (83.ML.104)). The fall of the idol from the column in the miniature of the Flight to Egypt (fol. 103v), in particular, is reminiscent of the Mildmay Master’s representations of the Apostle Bartolomew and Felix of Ostia destroying Idols or Mamertinus of Auxerre praying to Idols in the New York Golden Legend (PML, MS. M 675, fols 22r, 51r and 56v respectively).

The representation of the Crucifixion is the only exception. In the figures of the fore-ground and the landscape in the background our artist paraphrases the Crucifixion in Vrelant’s style as found in Walters MS. W. 197 (fol. 34v) and the Arenberg Hours (fol. 134r), but for the central scene of the Crucifixion with Christ flanked by the two thieves he seems to look elsewhere, possibly at the Crucifixion attributed to the so-called Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy in the Hours of Mary of Burgundy (Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS. 1857, fol. 99v) and the Trivulzio Hours (The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Ms. SMCi, fol. 94v), executed about 1470-1475, which echo the Crucifixion in Joos van Ghent’s Calvary triptych of the late 1460s. A similar dating for the present manuscript is consistent with the style of the all its other features.

The volume provides no clue towards the identification of its original owner.  Like many famous Bruges manuscripts such as the Spinola Hours (Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum, MS. Ludwig IX 18) and the Grimani Breviary (Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, MS. Lat. I, 99) copied by scribes imitating Italian bookhands, or indeed by Italian scribes working in a Bruges, and decorated by Flemish artists, the present book was beautifully produced on smooth white parchment of the highest quality and copied in an elegant round Italianate Gothic hand. The litany is of Augustinian Use, with Paul the First Hermit and Nicholas of Tolentino (canonized in 1446) among the doctors and confessors and Monica among the Virgins; other saints added to an otherwise standard text for the Use of Rome are Alexis at the end of monks and hermits, and Saints Margaret, Barbara and Elisabeth among the Virgins.

The masculine forms used in most prayers, including “Obsecro te” and “Intemerata”, with the only exception of the last, suggest that the book belonged to a man; the inclusion of the prayer “Deus propicius esto mihi peccatori et custos mei sis omnibus diebus vite mee,” traditionally attributed to St. Augustine, may indicate that he was a man of some importance, possibly a member of the large Italian community of merchants and bankers in Bruges, or a major local patron.


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Illuminated manuscript in Latin on vellum

Northern Italy, probably Liguria (Genoa or Savona), 1447.


134 x 94 mm, 272 leaves on parchment: I7 (of I8, first blank excised); II-XII10, XIII8, XIV-XX10 (XX.10 blank); XXI10, XXII8, XXIII-XXVIII10; XXIX2 (blanks), justification 81 x 58 [26-7-25] mm, ruled in lead point for two columns, 30 horizontal lines ruled in light brown ink for 29 lines of text, regular Italian Gothic script [Southern Textualis Rotunda] in red and black by two hands, first on fols 1v-190r, second, smaller, thinner, less compressed and more elegant, on fols 192r-268r, both hands occasionally employing the humanist “d” with straight ascender, catchwords in black or red ink in the lower margin of last verso of quires. Rubrics in red, paragraph marks in blue, and two-line initials in alternating red and blue with contrasting pen-flourishing in purple or red throughout. 19 illuminated initials (4-9 lines high) in pink or blue with white tracery set against a ground of gold with foliate and floral decoration in blue, pink and green with foliate extensions in blue and green, often with a gold bezant at the end. In the Psalter the initials mark the beginning of the eight psalms (ps. 1, 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97 and 109) to be recited at Sunday Vespers. One nine-line illuminated initial “B”[eatus] (fol. 192v) in pink with white tracery set against a gold-leaf ground and depicting David at prayer set against a blue ground with white tracery, foliate extension in blue and green with a gold-leaf bezant. 2 illuminated initials and full borders: 1 ten-line initial “F”[ratres] (fol. 8r) in pink with white tracery set against a gold-leaf ground, depicting St Paul with sword preaching to the people, written space outlined by a gold-leaf bar border, including the bas-de-page bearing the coat-of-arms of the Cybo of Genoa supported by two winged putti in a green landscape with trees, rabbits and birds, the outer borders with foliate decoration in blue and pink interspersed with two green parrots, a green peacock and gold-leaf bezants; 1 seven-line illuminated initial “P”[rimo] (fol. 192r) in blue with white tracery set against a gold-leaf ground with floral decoration in pink, blue and green and full-border extensions of foliate design in shades of blue, pink and green with gold-leaf bezants, the Christogram “HIS” in the bas-de-page, inscribed in the blue ground at centre of a radiant sun in gold-leaf. Good quality parchment, in good condition, with large, clean margins, slight crease on first and last leaves (fols 1-6 and 243-270), ink occasionally fading or slightly erased, offprint on fol. 7v. Modern brown morocco binding.

This rare and charming volume includes a Temporal Breviary and Liturgical Psalter, i.e. service books used in the daily offices, both for the use of Rome. The Proprium de tempore (fols 8r-190r) provides the liturgy for the celebration of the Divine Office from the first Sunday of Advent according to the rite of the Roman Curia, with no further specification but for the inclusion in the litany (fols 74v-77r) of Zenobius, bishop of Florence, among the confessors, and of the Franciscan saints Francis, Clare and Elisabeth among monks and virgins respectively. It is dated 12 February 1447 and preceded by a table of rubrics (fols 1v-7r). The Liturgical Psalter (fols 192r-268r) supplies hymns, canticles, antiphones, versicles and responses according to the Cursus Romanus of the liturgy of the Hours and it is datable to the third quarter of the 15th century. The Temporal and the Liturgical Psalter were copied by two different scribes and at different times, with the Psalter probably dating to the early 1460s.

Nevertheless, the pen-flourished decoration of the minor initials and the beautiful illumination of the borders and major initials are consistent throughout the book and seemingly belong to the same decorative campaign, datable to the 1460s or early 1470s. The illumination was executed by an eclectic anonymous artist who was strongly influenced by the style of earlier and contemporary illumination from Lombardy in Northern Italy as suggested by the illuminated borders on fols 8r and 192r and the portrait initials on fols 8r and 192v (see A. De Floriani, “La miniatura in Liguria nella seconda metà del Quattrocento: un bilancio provvisorio”).

A connection with Northern Italy, and more specifically Liguria, is also suggested by the escutcheon in the bas-de-page and the depiction of a peacock in the border of the first page of the Breviary (fol. 8r), respectively identifiable as the arms and the emblem of the Cybos, a patrician family of Genoa. The nature of the text (a breviary for members of regular and secular clergy) and the cross above the shield, indicates an ecclesiastic of high status as the original owner. Two members of the Cybo family were created bishops and cardinals in the second half of the fifteenth century: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Cybo (1432-1492) bishop of Savona (1466-1472) and Molfetta (1472-1484), and his young cousin Cardinal Lorenzo Cybo de Mari (1450/1-1503), archbishop of Benevento (1485-1503). As the cross above the arms shows the single horizontal limb of an episcopal cross, rather than the double traverse of the archiepiscopal one, the owner was Giovanni Battista Cybo before his election to the papacy as Pope Innocent VIII on 29 August 1484.

In November 1466 Giovanni Battista was made bishop of Savona, a town to the west of Genoa in the region of Liguria in Northern Italy; at the time under the government of the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza. These political circumstances favoured the arrival in Liguria of artists from Lombardy who imported new models and a more sophisticated artistic style to provincial Liguria. It is therefore conceivable that the two texts, the Temporal Breviary and the Liturgical Psalter, were brought together, decorated and assembled in a single volume in Liguria (Savona or Genoa) as a gift to Cybo as Bishop of Savona. Through the depiction of Cybo’s peacock and of the partridge and white rabbits in the margins of the opening of the Temporal Breviary, the decoration of the book seems to bestow upon the bishop a life of splendour, wisdom and knowledge, purity and truth, resurrection and ultimately immortality.

This high quality manuscript for Cybo’s private devotion and therefore after his death probably remained in the possession of his family, whereas books belonging to him as pontiff were kept in the papal library (now the Vatican Library). The volume was certainly in use after the pope’s death as an unprofessional hand added two notes relating to the death of Innocent VIII and the election of his successor Alexander Borgia in August 1492 to fol. 272v.  It was possibly passed on to the pope’s cousin Cardinal Lorenzo Cybo de Mari, who had the pope’s tomb in the Vatican basilica completed by the leading painter and sculptor Antonio del Pollaiuolo in 1498 and his body buried in the bronze monument on January 1498. It is worth noting that the pope’s arms on the tomb are identical to those found in this book [see A. Wright, The Pollaiuolo brothers: the arts of Florence and Rome, New Haven, 2005, chapter XIII].

As the book is not listed in the inventory of the books bequeathed by Cardinal Lorenzo to the Cathedral of Benevento (see A. Zaro, “L’Inventario dei libri antichi della Biblioteca Capitolare di Benevento”, Samnium, viii (1935), pp. 5-25, in particular pp. 23-5), it is probable that it was passed on as a prized possession to other members of the Cybo family, including Cardinal Innocenzo Cybo (1491-1550), the grandson of Innocent VIII, appointed as cardinal by his uncle Leo X in 1513, and Cardinals Alderano (1613-1700) and Camillo (1681-1743).


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GRADUAL, Dominican Use

Illuminated musical manuscript on vellum

Flanders, 1260.


340 x 245 mm, 175 leaves + 1 vellum flyleaf at front and back, I-XIV12, XV7 (12-5?) (lacks seemingly 5 leaves, with a gap between 2 and 3, and one after 7); written space 245-250 x 160 mm, ruled in blind and purple lines for 9 lines of 4-line staves with square musical notation and accompanying text, in black ink in a very regular early gothic bookhand (littera gothica textualis formata), later foliation in black ink in upper right by a younger hand (omitting 1 and repeating f. 141). Rubrics in red, calligraphic versals touched in red, alternating flourished 1-line penwerk initials in red and blue, most with penwork extensions spanning the height of the page in the margins. 10 illuminated initials on diapered backgrounds with tendriled vine and ivy foliage, often incorporating dragons. Strong vellum, as expected in a manuscript of monastic origin, lower margins of f. 118 cropped (no loss of text), some staining and occasional repairs (mostly utilizing paper-fragments from 15th- or 16th-century printed books in Latin), few holes caused by ink corrosion, annotations in the margins ranging from 14th- to 17th- or even 18th-century additions, including original instructions for the illuminator, illuminations occasionally rubbed. Early 20th-century vellum gilt over wooden boards.

Incipit: “Gloria patri et filio et spiritui sancto (…)” (Temporal, Advent)

Explicit: “(…) ego autem in mandatis tuis exercebor in tuis iustificationibus ut non confundar” (Proper of the Mass of St Catherine of Alexandria; Psalm 118:78,80)

Illuminated initials (following the incorrect foliation in the manuscript): 1v, 14, 16, 80, 93v, 96, 123v, 143v, 145, 148.

This Gradual was originally produced for a Dominican Convent in the region of north-eastern France or Flanders. Its text covers the sung liturgy of the mass from Advent from the Temporal, continuing with the Sanctoral from St Andrew to St Catherine of Alexandria, followed by the Communal and ending with the Common of Catherine of Alexandria. The litany and the common of saints includes a number of saints that were particularly venerated by the Dominicans such as St. Dominic (the translation of his body has its own feast day, cf. fol. 136v), St. Catherine of Alexandria, while others were added by a later hand, such as Antoninus of Florence, Raymond (of Penyafort), Thomas Aquinas – added by a 14th-century hand – and Catherine of Siena. These, and Agnes of Montepulciano and Hyacinth of Poland were canonized only much later, either in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, which indicates that the monks kept the litany up to date for centuries. The spelling of the names of the younger saints suggests that the manuscript was in the possession of a monastery in the French speaking world (“Antonine”, “Bernarde”, “Hyacinte”) at the beginning of the 18th century.

Both the script and the illumination suggest a date around 1260-70. Saints included in the litany and prayers such as St Peter Martyr (fol. 134), canonized in 1253, and the “omission” of the feast of Corpus Christi, which was officially installed from 1264: Fol. 102v has an addition in the lower margin in a contemporary hand referring to the feast of “Corpus Christi”, which gives us a likely terminus ante quem for the production of the manuscript. “Corpus Christi” was first celebrated in the diocese of Liège in 1246. It became more widely spread in the course of the 14th century and is celebrated after the Trinity Sunday. Later hands added more saints, which were canonized only in the 15th century and later, so that we have proof that the manuscript was constantly in use throughout the centuries. The famous collector Mr. Yates Thompson seems to have been very interested to know where and when this manuscript was produced as we find preserved together with it some correspondence with scholars and experts from the time shortly after he acquired the codex in 1912 trying to answer exactly these questions.

In this manuscript the process of production can be beautifully read: first, the lines for the justification were ruled, second the text was written including the calligraphic versals, then the staves in red were added (they are partly crossing the versals), after that the square musical notation was inserted, followed by the rubrics. The last two steps included the penwork initials, and, eventually the illumination. Interestingly, we find some traces of instruction for the illuminator, giving small and tiny letters in the margins to let the illuminator know which letter he was supposed to produce (e.g. on fol. 144v with a little “g” next to the inital, or fol. 146 with the indicating letter in the inner margin) The rubricator received similar instructions, either below the spot where the penwork or rubricated initial was supposed to appear or immediately on the spot (see e.g. fols. 75-77v). All this speaks in favour of a well established and flourishing scriptorium within the walls of the convent, if not a professional workshop.

The illumination is in good condition. Many of the painted initials incorporate dragons and spiralling interlace, and next to a palette dominated by red, mauve and blue, including greens that would be very atypical for Paris at this time, it has elements decorated in gold and, occasionally, in silver. It is surprising though, that the gold was applied a bit carelessly compared to the otherwise fairly meticulous outline of the rest of the decoration. Tangerine orange letter fillings, such as for example, on fol. 1v, do occur in book decorations of the time in the region of Hainault. Scripts similar to the one in this manuscript can be found in 13th-century manuscripts from Tournai. However, this artistic region still needs a lot of scholarly attention, particularly regarding book illumination originating from the 13th century. What makes the localisation of our manuscript even more difficult is the fact that there were many itinerant artists, especially in the monastic world of the time. The regions of northern France and Flanders, including the Hainault were influenced by artistic developments coming from the West, above all Paris, on the one hand, but at the same time, from the East, particularly the very influential and powerful diocese of Liège, with its more archaic styles from the 12th century that remained dominating in artistic production. This may be a synthesis of the two.

Provenance: Made for a Dominican Convent in north-eastern France or Flanders around 1260. Allan Heywood Bright, his 1912 bookplate pasted to the front past-down. Mr. Yates Thompson, who states to have purchased it for 20,-£ in his 1915 correspondence, and who had it newly bound as well. Christie’s London, 16 July 2014, lot 4.


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