Book of Hours (Use of Rome) – Fragment
Parchment · 4 bifolia · 1405 – 1408 CE · Paris, France · 175 x 130 mm
Victoria, University of Melbourne Rare Books, SpC/RB 61AA/3
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Four bifolia from a manuscript, once part of the French royal library, known as the Chester Beatty Book of Hours, after the owner who dismembered it. The bifolia were purchased from Alan G. Thomas in October 1974.
Illustration: Miniatures representing the evangelists St John on the Isle of Patmos, St Luke and St Mark, and the Annunciation. The format of the pictures, arrangements of the figures and design of the backgrounds are closely related to the miniatures of Walters Art Museum MS 265 and Bodleian Library Book of Hours MS Douce 144.
English painter Caleb Wing (d. 1875) touched up some of the miniatures and borders spoiled by the water damage. The over-painting of the four miniatures of these leaves appears mostly consistent with the style and palette of the original illumination.
Decoration: Text framed by exquisite border decoration: enclosed on three sides by burnished gold staffs sprouting scrolling ivy vine scrolls around the margins, the leaves coloured gold, red and blue. Three 4-line, three 3-line, three 2-line and twelve 1-line initials, alternating red and blue on burnished gold grounds, with matching line fillers.
Text: Parts of the Gospel lessons of John, Luke, Matthew and Mark.
Hours of the Virgin - opening of Matins and the beginning of the second lesson.