Book of Hours (for the use of Rouen). In... - Lot 13 - Binoche et Giquello

Lot 13
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Book of Hours (for the use of Rouen). In... - Lot 13 - Binoche et Giquello
Book of Hours (for the use of Rouen).
In French and Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment.
France, Rouen, circa 1465-1470.
With 20 miniatures by the Master of the Echevinage of Rouen (active in Rouen in the 1450s until about 1485). 172 ff, preceded by 4 endpapers of paper and parchment, followed by 4 endpapers of paper, one leaf missing between ff. 32-33, probably blank (collation: i6, ii6, iii8, iv8, v7 (8-1, lacking v), vi8, vii8, viii8, ix4, x8, xi8, xii8, xiii8, xiv8, xv8, xvi4, xvii8, xviii8, xix8, xx8, xxi8, xxii8, xxiii3 (of 4, lacking iv, presumably a blank leaf)), bastard script in brown ink, text on 14 lines (justification: 30 x 52 mm), ruled in red ink, headings in red, pink and blue endpapers with white highlights and burnished gold dots, initials in burnished gold on pink and blue backgrounds with white highlights (1- to 2-liners high), the largest (2-liners high) with decoration of fine stems drawn in black ink and burnished gold dots extending into the margins, initials painted in blue with white highlights on a gold background with coloured vine-leaf decoration introducing the main textual divisions, with 20 curved miniatures, set in illuminated borders on reserved backgrounds with coloured acanthus leaves, flowers, fruits, emblems (tassel or flock) and letters "a" (small or large (cf. f. 162).
17th century binding, red morocco, four-ribbed spine with partitions and fleurons, boards with a gilt decoration of triple framing composed of gilt fillets, linked together at the corners by fleurons, scrolls on the edges, inner scroll, combed marbled paper countersleeves (only the lower one visible, the upper one hidden by the ex-libris vignette of Edmund Macrory), traces of clasps (clasps incomplete)
Weak jaws and upper jaw split at the foot of the book for two centimetres, some spotting, corners dulled but nevertheless elegant 17th century binding.
Dimensions : 90 x 62 mm.
Remarkable little book of hours for the use of Rouen, whose twenty miniatures are attributable to the "Master of the Aldermen of Rouen", preserved in an elegant French binding of the 17th century.
The miniatures and illuminated frames are scattered with an enigmatic lower-case initial "a" and a recurrent emblem, that of the "houppe" or "floc". Pencil notes link this emblem to that of the Luxembourg family, and the name of Antoine de Luxembourg, son of Louis de Luxembourg, has been suggested as a possible patron. This cannot yet be confirmed, but this book of hours offers fascinating possibilities for research and identification.
The Master of the Aldermen of Rouen - formerly known as the "Master of the Latin Brunet of Geneva" - was an artist who was active from the end of the 1450s until about 1485. He owes his fame and name to the five manuscripts he illuminated between 1457 and 1485 for the aldermen of Rouen (Rabel, 1989; Avril and Reynaud, 1993, p. 160). He also participated in the illumination of the breviary of Charles de Neufchâtel (Besançon, BM, MS 69) and in the painted decoration of two exceptional books of hours: one, Dublin, Chester Beatty Library, MS W 089, where he collaborated with the Touraine artists Jean Bourdichon, the Master of Jean Charpentier and a Foucaultian artist (Yvard, 2007); and the other, Hours of Jean d'Estouteville (Turin, Biblioteca reale, Var. 88). The Master of the Aldermen of Rouen draws his sources from Parisian illumination around the Master of the Golden Legend of Munich, but his landscapes and the materiality of certain objects testify to his knowledge of Flemish art.
The artist and his workshop painted numerous books of hours for a varied clientele: for example, let us cite the Hours for the use of Rouen, known as the Hours of Chrétienne de France (Paris, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, MS 562, circa 1470-1475) or the Hours for the use of Bayeux (Rennes, Médiathèque Champ-libre, MS 32), which can be dated to around 1460 and is therefore undoubtedly a close contemporary of the present "Hours with the initials "a"". Miniatures by the same artist are known to have been made for a dismembered breviary of small format (dimensions of the miniatures in curved format of 57/60 x 40 mm; see Dunn-Lardeau (ed.), 2018, notice A. Bergeron-Foote, "Sept miniatures d'un bréviaire", Montreal, McGill, LRCA, MS 102, cat. no. 25), a format very close to the present book of hours, also copied in a small-module bastard script. His art appears to be very carefully crafted and rather conservative. His paintings are distinguished by a shimmering palette in which gold is applied in profusion and by the predominance of drawing and angular lines. We can recognize his figures with large round eyes, his concern for architecture and interiors and his taste for rich hangings.
This little manuscript is a real jewel, for the time being shrouded in mystery, while we wait for the discovery of its existence.
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