CLERMONT-FERRAND HOURS : " PASCAL HOURS
Book of Hours (for the use of Clermont-Ferrand).
In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum skin.
France, Paris (?) and Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand ?), ca. 1450-1460.
With 18 large miniatures attributable to a (Parisian?) artist, under the influence of Parisian models (Master of Jean Rolin II (active c. 1445-c. 1465) and Master François (active c. 1460-c. 1480)) and ornate and historiated borders painted locally in Auvergne
Beautiful manuscript with shimmering miniatures combining a Parisian aesthetic and borders most certainly painted locally in an Auvergne workshop.
Hours with the coat of arms of a Pascal family, established in Auvergne: these coats of arms will be those adopted by Blaise Pascal, engraved in particular on his famous "Pascaline" arithmetic machine, the first mechanical calculator (see the one preserved at the CNAM). The coat of arms of these Hours had been wrongly attributed to the Séguier family: it is now returned to the Pascal family. The decoration of this manuscript is based on Parisian models, supplemented by highly original ornamented and historiated borders, certainly painted locally in Auvergne: little is known about the illumination workshops in Auvergne in the 15thecentury.
Former William Waldorf Astor collection.
214 ff, preceded and followed by a pastedown and a modern marbled paper guard and 3 ff. of modern parchment, complete manuscript (collation: i8, ii8, iii8, iv6, v-xxvii8), gothic script, endnotes except for quires 3, 4, 18 and 27, ruled in purple ink, text copied on 14 lines (justification: 95 x 65mm), headings in red and some in gold, capitals heightened in red and yellow, gold, pink and blue endpapers with white highlights, initials 1 to 3 lines high in gold on blue or pink backgrounds with white highlights, large initials in blue with white highlights on gold backgrounds with vine-leaf or coloured floral motifs, introducing the large textual divisions (note two large initials with fleur-de-lys (ff. 96v and 113v)), the borders on the verso of all the leaves (outer margin, including the calendar) composed of gold, pink and blue scrolls and acanthus leaves on reserved backgrounds, sometimes with flowers or fruit and figures or birds (e.g. a nude woman on ff. 120v, 130v, 150v and 182v; grotesque, f. 118v; bird, ff. 102v, 184v), with 18 large curved miniatures, set in illuminated borders on reserved backgrounds, decorated with foliage and coloured acanthus leaves, motifs of fruit and flowers, and populated with elements of bestiary, grotesques, characters and scenes: let us note, for example, a fountain of youth (fol. 78); a woman facing a unicorn (f. 85); a naked child sitting on a staff-horse and holding a T-shaped staff (fol. 91v); death pointing a spear at a woman (fol. 143); the frame on fol. 31 (Matins of the Hours of the Virgin) is of a palette and workmanship (rather provincial) reminiscent of those of the simple borders of the text leaves, with a grotesque musician, a woman playing the mandolin, a peacock etc.; coat of arms painted in the background of the text leaves (fol.(fol. 31) [a little rubbed] and in the lower borders of the following ff.: 67, 105v, 116, 135v, 178v, 183); on the verso of the first guard, traces of a descriptive note of the manuscript in French; on f.1, parafe (notarial?) of the XVIIeor XVIIIecentury; on the front of the last endpaper: collation notes in graphite in English.
19th century binding<