Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections

Illuminted opening, Sext, Marquand Hours
Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

MS 25 (olim Marquand 2) Italy, s. XV4

Marquand hours, use of Rome

1. ff. 1r-11v Calendar in red and black.

January missing. Saints include: Faustini (15 Feb.), Iuliane (16 Feb.), Victoris (13 Mar.), Theodosie (3 Apr.), Vincenti (5 Apr.), Bernardini (20 May), Desiderii (23 May), Quirici (15 July), Simphoriose (18 July), Pastoris (26 July), Iustine (4 Aug.), festum nivis beate marie (5 Aug. in red), Ludovici (19 Aug.), Remigii (1 Oct.), Galli (16 Oct.), Vitalis et Agricole (4 Nov.), Siri (9 Dec.). f. 12r ruled but blank.

2. ff. 12v-88r Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, use of Rome.

Matins ends on f. 20v in third lesson: quasi platanus exaltata//. Text resumes with Lauds on f. 21r, and concludes on ff. 68r-69v with prayers: Salve regina misericordie vita dulcedo... [RH 18148] and Omnipotens sempiterne Deus qui gloriose virginis... [HE 62-63]; ff. 69v-88r hebdomodal and seasonal variations to the Hours.

3. ff. 88v-101r Seven Penitential Psalms.

4. ff. 102r-112r Litany and prayers.

Among saints included in the Litany: Georgi, Remigi, Bernarde, Paule Hermita, Margarita. Followed by Psalm and 10 prayers.

5. ff. f. 112v-151r Office of the Dead, use of Rome(?).

Responses to lessons at Matins: 1. Credo quod, 2. Qui lazarum, 3. Domine quando, 4. Memento mei, 5. Heu michi, 6. Ne recorderis, 7. Peccantem me, 8. Domine secundum, 9. Libera me.

6. ff. 151v-156r Short Office of the Cross.

7. ff. 156v-160v Short Office of the Holy Spirit.

8. f. 161r-v Obsecro te [Leroquais, LH 2.346-7].

Text end incompletely: ...filius tuus descendit accipere//

Parchment. f. iii (contemporary paper, i=front pastdown) + 161 + ii (contemporary paper, ii=pastedown), 144 x 102 (81 x 54) mm., modern foliation in lead. Written in 15 lines ruled in brown ink, single vertical bounding lines full length.

I12 (-1), II10 (-10), III10 (-3), IV-XV10.

Written by a single scribe in a textualis rotunda.

Eleven full-page illuminations (one missing) in arched gold frames (82 x 58 mm.) are surrounded by a border of penwork vines, small gold leaves, acanthus leaves, fruit, and flowers, in red, green, blue, orange and brown. The colors in the border are rather dull, and the red in the border as well as in the illustrations is dark--maroon, almost burgundy, rather than bright or pastel. The first seven illuminations, for the Hours of the Virgin, follow the traditional program of the infancy of Christ. (1) For the first, on f. 12v before Matins, the border itself is surrounded by another gold frame. Below the illustration, an Annunciation scene, the border is replaced by three panels framed in the same gold: angels on the left and right extend trumpets into the central panel on which a third angel, his wings outstretched, holds a shield emblazoned with an eagle; red, green, and blue acanthus leaves fill in the remaining space on the panel. In the top two corners of the border, angels in gold-framed medallions hold blank white scrolls. This folio is worn: the gold leaf has worn off the shield, only the ground remains; also a strip has been torn from the lower corner of this page. The Annunciation scene depicts Mary on a cathedral porch turning from her prayer book toward Gabriel; the church rises in the background, beside it a white cross extends towards the sky, as God in heaven (his bright robe the only orange in the picture) looks down on the pair. The illumination for Lauds, probably the Visitation, is missing. (2) On f. 33v, before Prime, the Nativity shows Mary and Joseph kneeling before the child who lies on the folds of Mary's robe, while an ox and ass look over their stalls. (3) For Terce, on f. 39v, the Presentation in the Temple is depicted. Mary stands across from a priest who holds the naked child on the altar, her maid carries the basket of sacrificial doves. (4) Opposite Sext, on f. 44v, an angel announces the birth to two shepherds who shield their eyes from his light; sheep graze around them in a landscape of brown rocks and green hills. (5) On f. 49v, the Adoration of the Magi illustrates None: Mary perches the baby on her knee, as the three wise men line up on the right side of the picture to pay obeisance; in the background, two men peek out from behind the rocks while the towers and spires of a medieval city rise in the distance. (6) Before Vespers, f. 54v, Mary and Joseph set out with the baby on the Flight into Egypt. Mother and child ride the donkey as they make their way down a rocky road, before a backdrop of rocks and hills, Joseph leads them. (7) Compline begins on f. 63v with an illumination of Mary's coronation by God the Father and the crucified Christ. (8) On f. 88v, the illustration of David and his harp which accompanies the Psalms has been slightly smeared: the lower half of David's face is almost erased. David kneels beside the wall of a red-roofed city. (9) A service for the dead illustrates the Office of the Dead on f. 112v: the priest reads the mass over a coffin, three black-robed mourners sit in the front of a congregation. (10) The Crucifixion on f. 151v illustrates the Office of the Cross: blood drips down from Christ and pools on the ground. Christ is flanked by the Virgin on the left and John on the right. A mountainous landscape provides a dramatic background. (11) In the final illustration on f. 157v, Pentecost provides the appropriate subject for the Office of the Holy Spirit: the dove descends over the heads of twelve kneeling figures.

The illustrations are skillfully rendered, with great attention paid to drapery, architecture, and landscape, yet a lack of fine detail and the limited palette separates these paintings from more sophisticated illuminations.

A matching border surrounds the text on the page facing each of these illustrations. On f. 13r a 4-line initial red with white penwork on a gold shaped ground, the initial is infilled with blue vine scrolls with flower terminals, a gold and red baguette extends from the top and bottom of the initial along the length of the text ending in the acanthus leaves which make up the border design, both ground and initial are outlined in black. On f. 34r the text begins with a 5-line initial of similar design except that the baguette is absent. The initial is blue, the infilling a geometric red and blue. On f. 89r a 4-line initial of similar design extends into a single baguette from the lower corner of the initial. Similar 4-line initials, without extensions, in either red or blue may be found every page with a border (f. 21, 40, 45, 50, 55, 64, 113, 152 recto). On f. 161r a single 4-line historiated initial, red with white penwork on a shaped gold ground inhabited by a three-quarter length illuminated portrait of the Virgin and child, provides the only decoration on an otherwise undecorated page of text. There are many 2-line initials, gold on a blue or red ground with white penwork infilled with the opposite color. Other 1-line initials, either gold or blue, begin each sentence. Rubrics are in red throughout. The book is well worn, many of the illuminations and border decorations have been cracked and rubbed off.

Binding: eighteenth-century Italian limp vellum; two leather cords showing at hinges. On spine in ink: "Ufficio, e/ Orationi/ in/ Miniature".

Written in the Piedmont in final quarter of the fifteenth century. On f. ii recto: "Presbyt. Caroli Francisci Frasconi a sanctis caeremoniis in cathedrali Novaniensi" and in the same hand, "Marchionis Porri-Carcani Patritii Comensis 1808. 30 augusti" On f. 1r in lower margin in an earlier hand : "Ex Conventu S. Caroli Taurini FF. Eremit: Discalc: S. Augustini Congregationis Italie et Germanie minor". Catalogue entry attatched to f. ii recto: "Ufficio della Madonna in pergamena con ricche miniature." Owned in the eigthteenth century by the Discalced Augustinians of San Carlo, Turin. Given in 1808 by Marchese Porri-Carcani, of Como, to Abate Carlo Francese Frasconi, of the Cathedral at Novara. In the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Allan P. Marquand, the former a professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Given to Bryn Mawr College (bookplate) in December, 1974 by his daughter, Eleanor Marquand Delanoy (bookplate).

Bibliography: De Ricci, v. 2, 1186, no. 2.


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Last Update: January 23, 2018