ST MATTHEW and PENTECOST, two miniatures on two leaves from an illuminated Book of Hours and five text leaves from the same book [Normandy, second quarter 15th century]
Delightful leaves from a Book of Hours, an important commission for an anonymous patroness from Coutances or Bayeux. One of a small number of Books of Hours made locally between 1420-30 – another apparently from the same workshop was formerly in the library of Major Abbey, sold Sotheby’s 20 June 1978, lot 2983 – the style particularly distinguishable here in the honest features of the miniatures’ inhabitants, with large noses and chins, the use of a pale coppery green in a generally soft palette, and the restrained acanthus sprays that sprout from the corners of the miniatures. The appealing figures – lay, angelic and grotesque – that populate the rinceaux borders characterise these Hours, and make for particularly charming text leaves.
- The parent manuscript contained the Office of the Virgin for the use of Coutances and the calendar featured in red St Lô, bishop of Coutances, the dedication of Coutances Cathedral and the feast of relics in Coutances. The Litany also included two bishops of Bayeux, Sts Vigor and Exuperus. The female patroness was to be seen in a miniature kneeling before the Virgin and Child.
- CLARA AND IRWIN STRASBURGER: their bookplate in the parent manuscript.
- Sotheby’s, 22 June 1982, lot 91 – sold to Schwing for £10,450. The present miniatures were ff. 162 (St Matthew) and 67 (Pentecost) in the parent manuscript. Another leaf from this manuscript was also sold at Sotheby’s, 7 July 2015, lot 46.
168-170 x 113-117mm.
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