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Lot 97: The Priuli Hours, Use Of Rome, In Latin, Illuminated Manuscript on Vellum Venice, C. 1510 171 leaves plus old paper flyleaf, complete, collation: i10+1, ii-iii10, iv-vii8, viii10, ix-x8, xi4 xii- xiv8, xv6, xvi-xxi8, with catchwords within clusters
June 20, 1995
London, United Kingdom
Description: The Priuli Hours, Use Of Rome, In Latin, Illuminated Manuscript on Vellum Venice, C. 1510 171 leaves plus old paper flyleaf, complete, collation: i10+1, ii-iii10, iv-vii8, viii10, ix-x8, xi4 xii- xiv8, xv6, xvi-xxi8, with catchwords within clusters of coloured and flourished dots, 13 lines, written in dark brown ink in a small and regular rounded gothic hand, rubrics in red, capitals touched in yellow, versal initials throughout on burnished gold or blue with penwork in purple or red, About 140 - two-Line Initials in burnished gold with very fine penwork in red extending into three margins with elaborate decorative flowers and flourishes, Eleven Fully Illuminated Pages with large or even full-page initials within full borders in elaborate classical designs of eagles, sphynxes, candelabra, and other classical motifs in shadowed liquid gold on dark coloured grounds, Full-Page Frontispiece in oval gold cartouche within rectangular frame opening pages frontispiece and title leaf of Matins badly rubbed and smudged and with slight retouching, a few other stains especially damp stained in lower margins towards the end , extremities of illuminated borders rather cropped especially in upper margins , other signs of use but nonetheless a very Pretty manuscript of extremely high quality in quite reasonable state, dark blue morocco gilt by Katharine Adams for Cockerell, Broadway, 1908 signed by the binder and inscribed by Cockerell inside lower cover , g. e. 79 mm. by 55 mm. A Veryfine Renaissance Miniature Book Of Hours, with a written space of only 43mm by 30mm Provenance 1 Many of the illuminated borders incorporate the arms Of Priuli, a well-known Venetian family ... No. 41386 in the Library of St. Marks at Venice is a beautifully decorated copy of Petrarch printed by Vindelin of Spira in 1470 containing the same arms on a shield attached to a tree in the opening picture of Petrarch reciting to Laura' writes Cockerell on the flyleaf. 2 Sir Sydney Cockerell 1867-1962, given to him by Robert and Caroline Hunter, of New York, 10 January 1908; the Hunters were the friends with whom Cockerell had travelled to Russia in 1903 to meet Tolstoy Friends of a Lifetime, 1940, pp.78-86; W. Blunt, Cockerell, 1965, pp. 105-7 ; Cockerell's sale in our rooms, 19 May 1958, lot 130, to Fleming. 3 Arthur Houghton 1907-1990 ; part of his very distinguished library of miniature books; sold at Christie's, 5 December 1979, lot 229, to Witten his cat. 18, 1883, no.45 4 German private collection, Ms.18 Text The book comprises: the Hours of the Virgin Use of Rome , with Matins f.2r , Lauds f.17v , Prime f.33r , Terce f.38v , Sext f.43v , None f.47v , Vespers f.57r and Compline f.62r , with seasonal variations; the Penitential Psalms f.94r and Litany; and the Office of the Dead f. 124r . Illumination 'This book', wrote Cockerell, 'is decorated by the same hand as my Psalmi penitentiales that was executed for Fr. Maria 1, Duke of Urbino'. This latter manuscript, probably painted in 1509, afterwards belonged to Major J.R. Abbey sale in our rooms, 1 December 1970, lot 2894 and is now in Geneva, Comites Latentes Ms.51 Hidden Friends exhib., 1985, no.35 It was described by Professor Jj.G. Alexander as by 'one of the great figures of Venetian miniature painting' Abbey cat., 1969, p. 157 Very closely related, and very possibly by the same artist, is the exquisite little Psalter from the library of Horace Walpole sold in the Carter Brown sale in these rooms, 18 May 1981, lot 19 They all show the same camaieu dor borders of classical designs on deep coloured borders, the culmination of a remarkable tradition of lapidary book-illumination initiated in north-east Italy by artists in the circle of Mantegna. Both the Abbey and the Walpole manuscripts have been ascribed tentatively to Cima da Conegliano c. 1459-c.1517 and also, perhaps more convincingly, to Benedetto Bordon d. 1539 'The career of Benedetto Bordon is better documented than that of almost any other miniaturist from Padua or Venice and yet many disputes remain concerning his oeuvre. Born in Padua around 1450-5, Bordon is always referred to a miniator in documents dating from his marriage in 1480 to his second and final will of 9 February 1530 Two incunables illuminated for Peter Ugelheimer and dated 1477 and 1479 are inscribed Benedit Patav opvs and are almost universally accepted as Bordon's early work. What complicates the understanding of Bordon's career is that his only other signed work was executed over 45 years later' L. Armstrong, The Painted Page, Italian Renaissance Book Illumination, 1450- 1550, 1994, P.208 Certainly the present manuscript is extremely close indeed not only to the signed incurable ibid, no.97, col.pl. on p.194 but also to the illumination of a Lucian of 1494 which includes a petition from 'Benedictus miniator' ibid, no.104, col.pl. on p.207, and it may be tentatively ascribed to Bordon's own hand. The frontispiece here shows the Annunciation set in a high renaissance room with a fine landscape visible through the window f. lv . The principal illuminated pages are Folio 2r, Heading and opening words on full-page lapidary panels; Priuli arms at top and cameo of a prancing horse at foot; candelabra border on a deep blue ground. Folio 17v, Brown and gold initial; Priuli arms at top and splayed eagle on a vase at foot; acanthus and vase border on a purple ground. Folio 33r, Priuli arms in initial; border with bearded classical mask between crossed cornucopia with vases and leaves on a blue ground. Folio 38v, Priuli arms in initial; candelabra border including birds and bunches of grapes on a blue ground. Folio 43v, Gold initial on red ground; Priuli arms at top; caryatid and acanthus border on a gold ground. Folio 47v, Priuli arms in initial; border includes acanthus leaves, dolphins, an ox skull and vases on a blue ground. Folio 52r, Gold and blue initial; Priuli arms at top; candelabra border includes a bust of a woman and a torso of a man on a brown ground. Folio 62r, Gold and grey initial perhaps unfinished ; Priuli arms at foot under a vase and between cagle's wings; floral border with classical vases on a blue ground. Folio 90r, Initial including 2 dolphins' beads enclosing a classical cameo of an emperor in profile closely resembling Nero and probably based on an antique original ; Priuli arms at foot held by two winged sphynxes: vine-stem border on a purple ground. Folio 94r, Opening words of text in lapidary panel around a vase; candelabra and leafy border including an ox skull on a blue ground. Folio 124r, A skull within the initial: border includes a classical mask, candelabra and two prancing demi-horses among acanthus leaves on a blue ground. Literature S.C. Cockerell, Exhibition of Illuminated Manuscripts, Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1908; present Ms. cited under no 264, p. 1 28 C. de Hamel, 'Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts from the Library of Sir Sydney Cockerell 1867-1962, The British Library journal, XIII, 1987, p.201, no.55