Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections

Illuminated opening, Penitential Psalms, Mongan Hours
Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

MS 26 Flanders, s. XVmed.

Mongan hours, use of Rome

1. ff. 1r-6v Calendar of Flanders, with entries pointing to Brussels, important feasts in red, very sparse.

Saints include: Gudule (8 Jan. in red), Adriani (4 Mar.), Gertrudis (17 Mar.), Gordiani (10 May), Petronille (31 May), Marine (7 July), XI Virginis (21 Oct.), Martini (11 Nov. in red), Brictii (13 Nov.), Nichasii (14 Dec. in red).

2. ff. 7r-9v Short Office of the Cross; f. 7r blank, f. 7v illustration .

3. ff. 10r-18r Mass of the Virgin concluding with the four gospel pericopes on ff. 14v-18r. f. 10r blank, f. 10v illustration, f. 18v ruled, but blank.

4. f. 19r-53v Office of the Virgin; f. 19r blank, f. 19v illustration.

f. 20r Matins begins; f. 27r blank, f. 27v illustration, f. 28r Lauds begins; f. 35r blank, f. 35v illustration, f. 36r Prime begins; f. 38r blank, f. 38v illustration, f. 39r Terce begins; f. 41r blank, f. 41v illustration, f. 42r Sext begins; f. 44r blank, f. 44v illustration, f. 45r None begins; f. 47r blank, f. 47v illustration, f. 48r Vespers begins, f. 51r blank, f. 51v illustration, f. 52r Compline begins.

5. f. 54r-63v Penitential Psalms and Litany; f. 54r blank, f. 54v illustration.

Among saints in Litany: Stephane, Line, Clete... Georgi, Adriane, Quirini, Quintini, Sebastiane, Silvestre, Leo, Egidii, Eligii, Augustini, Bernarde, Anthoni... Gertrudis, Elizabeth.

6. ff. 64r-72v Office of the Dead; f. 64 blank, f. 64v illustration.

Responses to the lessons: 1. Credo quod, 2. Qui lazarum, 3. Domine quando.

Parchment. ff. i (modern parchment) + 72 + i (modern parchment), modern foliation, 176 x 115 (113 x 65) mm. Written in 20 lines, ruled in purple ink with single vertical bounding lines, full across and horizontal bounding lines running from inner edge of margin to outer vertical line. Calendar 117 x 62 mm., four columns of 33 lines, inner columns separated by double vertical bounding lines.

I6, II-III10, IV8, V12, VI10, VII-VIII8.

Written by a single scribe in a textualis semi-quadrata of medium to poor quality.

12 miniatures illustrating the Passion cycle have been tipped into the text. Each miniature is surrounded on the three outer margins with a border of black ink penwork vinestems terminating in gold leaves and seed pods; acanthus leaves, strawberries, and miscellaneous flowers in blue, bright orange, pink, and green are scattered throughout. A poorly rendered brownish pink frame decorated with geometric gold penwork scallops and an inner gold border, crudely outlined in brown ink surrounds each miniature. (1) On f. 7v the crucifixion introduces Matins: Mary and John stand on either side of the crucified Christ, on the left, two men's heads bob up behind a series of hills which form the landscape, on the right a small pink city-scape perches on top of the hills, cross-hatched gold lines make a grid over the dark blue sky. (2) On f. 10v introducing the Mass, the Madonna and child stand on a tile floor before an orange screen, the baby holds what looks like a rattle, sketched in but unpainted. (3) Matins of the Virgin begins on f. 19v with an illustration of the Agony in the Garden: in the center, Christ kneels before the cup while the disciples sleep in the foreground, and in the back, between the cleft of two hills, a row of soldiers' heads emerge between two hills in a line extending from the horizon to the garden. Illuminated opening, Terce, Mongan Hours(4) On f. 27v, for Lauds, an orange-robed Judas kisses Christ as mocking soldiers crowd around them; Peter raises his sword in the foreground; hills, soldier's heads and sky form the backdrop. (5) Prime begins on f. 35v with an illustration of Christ before Pilate in a pink barrel-vaulted interior. (6) The illustration for Terce on f. 38v has been badly rubbed. Two men with whips scourge Christ. (7) The illustration of the Carrying of the Cross on f. 41v for Sext, has also been damaged--this picture looks like it has some water damage as well as rubbing. Christ walks to the left carrying the cross with the help of a second man. A crowd follows behind to the right; in the foreground a man's head appears between two hills. (8) On f. 44v a Crucifixion, nearly identical to f. 7v begins None followed by (9) the Deposition on f. 47v for Vespers: on the left a man on a ladder lifts the body down, while Mary, John, and another figure with a halo, as well as a kneeling man, crowd around the right side of the picture. (10) The entombment on f. 51v depicts Mary, John and two priests laying the white body of Christ into his coffin, on the hills outside of the city for the final hour of Compline. (11) The Psalms conclude the Passion cycle on f. 54v with a Judgment scene: orange winged angels blow their trumpets below Christ, who sits in the sky on an unpainted rainbow the golden globe at his feet as three naked souls emerge from rectangles in the grass below. (12) The Office of the Dead underscores the relevance of Christ's Passion's to man with its illustration on f. 64v of the Funeral service. On the right two white-robed priests read the Mass over a bright orange draped casket; two green-robed mourners stand before and behind the casket to the left.

The illustrations in this book are of poor quality. The palette is limited to a rather dull pink, greenish brown, yellow, blue, and black, against which the brilliant orange that the artist has used with a lavish hand stands out starkly. Distinctive features include gold halos with thick black outlines and orange rays, and a heavy black grid drawn over the navy-blue sky. The figures, often heavily outlined in ink by an unsteady hand, are crudely drawn, frequently extending into the frame, the perspective is sometimes off, and the overwhelming impression is a lack of care as well as of skill. The remaining decoration is of a higher quality than the illuminations. On the page facing each illustration a matching floral border surrounds the text on the top, outside, and bottom. On ff. 8r, 11r, 20r, and 55r the border is separated from the text by a frame which extends from a 6-line blue with white penwork initial infilled with an elaborate penwork design terminating in pink and blue flowers on a gold ground. The gold then extends down the inner margin along with a pink and white inner bar. The lower and outer margin are alternating pink and blue rectangles with white penwork separated by gold space bars. The remaining leaves that have a border decoration, ff. 36r, 39r, 42r, 25r, 28r, 52r, the frame is a gold and blue baguette extending from a 5-line initial of the same design as above; f. 66r uses a 6-line initial with the plainer baguette. Other Psalms, prayers, KL monograms, etc. begin with 2-line gold initials on a pink and blue ground embellished with white penwork. Each verse uses alternating 1-line initials either gold on a black rectangular penwork ground or blue on red. Rubrication throughout in red. Gilt edges. Remains of pilgrimage stamps on inside margin of f. 1r.

Binding: nineteenth century, embossed, dark brown leather with an elaborate, pseudo-Renaissance Tree of Jesse stamped on the front and back covers. Silver filigree corner pieces, edgings and clasp. Printed on dark burgundy morocco labels on spine: ILLUMINATED/ MSS/ BOOK OF HOURS.

Written around 1450, in Northern Flanders, perhaps Brussels. The illustrations, which were produced separately, may come from Utrecht. Early provenance unknown. Unidentified 1910 catalogue entry inside front cover. Given to Bryn Mawr College in 1982 by Agnes and Elizabeth Mongan.


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Last Update: January 23, 2018