A Book of Hours Fifty Years Older than Previously Thought

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 30/52

  
Book of Hours, Use of Bourges, Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 87, fols. 6v–7r (end of Calendar and beginning of Gospel Lessons)

Sometimes, scholars can become fixated on a dated inscription in a manuscript, which can lead them to ignore other chronological evidence. In a Book of Hours now in the Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 87, the lower pastedown includes a signed ownership note by the prominent Bourges patrician and book collector Jean Lallemant the Younger (ca. 1481–1548), dated to 12 July 1544.

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Lewis E 87, lower pastedown (with detail)

Ever since the publication of the de Ricci Census and the catalogue of European manuscripts in the Free Library, this has been taken erroneously as the date of the book, which is in fact significantly earlier. While the book’s miniatures have been excised, which doesn’t help with establishing a proper date, the script and decoration indicate a date of circa 1490-1510, the heyday of devotional manuscript production in Bourges. The calendar includes obvious references to the capital of the Berry: the feast of Saint William, archbishop of Bourges (fol. 1r, 10 January) and the dedication of the Cathedral of Bourges are both highlighted in blue (fol. 3r, 5 May). Prior to the beginning of the Hours of the Virgin, a rubric on folio 7v mentions the Use of Bourges. Most strikingly, every remaining text page in the manuscript has been decorated with a shaded gold border on the three outer sides, a blue cherub at the outer margin and two red seraphim above and below the text respectively.

Jean Lallemant the Younger or le jeune was a member of a prominent family of Bourges patricians, among which were several bibliophiles.1 His grandfather, Guillaume Lallemant l’aïeul (d. 1474), was a merchant with close ties to the famous banker and purveyor of luxury goods Jacques Coeur, whose great urban residence survives to this day in Bourges. Jean Lallemant the Younger’s father, Jean Lallemant l’ancien (d. 1494), served as receiver general of Normandy, an important post in the kingdom’s financial administration. Our Jean Lallemant the Younger was treasurer general of the Languedoc region of France from 1505 to 1521. Interestingly, he owned several other manuscripts, including a Book of Hours now in The Hague. His older brother, also named Jean, owned a Book of Hours that was dismembered and is held at several institutions, including the British Library in London (add. MS 39641), The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (W. 459), and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (Marlay Cuttings, Fr. 7). The book’s calendar, today in a private collection, is illustrated with putti that share a certain resemblance to those in our book.

Next week, we will attempt to prove who painted the charming blue and red angels that populate the margins of our Book of Hours, a task made easier by the earlier date range.


 

Italian with a French Accent: A Prayer Book Made in Occupied Milan?

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 29/52


Prayer Book, Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 207, fol. 2r (miniature of the Annunciation)

Up to this point, many of this blog’s posts have dealt with Books of Hours, those ubiquitous devotional tools of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. This week, we are dealing with a type of book that is somewhat harder to classify. While it might resemble a traditional Book of Hours by means of its format, it does not contain the core text–the Hours of the Virgin–that generally defines the genre. Nor does it contain a calendar, Office of the Dead, or Gospel Lessons that we would habitually find in a straightforward horae.

This intriguing and relatively short volume of fifty-two folios, which can called a Prayer Book for lack of a better term, is a good example of a customized, one-off product commissioned to suit the devotional needs of a user who might have already owned a full Book of Hours, or required something more portable. The first four texts contain six-line, abridged versions of the prayers found in the Hours of the Virgin (fols. 1r, 2r, 3r, and 4r), perhaps a kind of aide mémoire to the longer Offices. These are introduced by non-chronological miniatures of the Presentation in the Temple, Annunciation (shown above), Assumption, and Birth of the Virgin.


Lewis E 207, fol. 1r (miniature of the Presentation in the Temple)


Lewis E 207, fol. 3r (miniature of the Assumption)


Lewis E 207, fol. 4r (miniature of the Birth of the Virgin)

The four radiant but somewhat child-like miniatures reflect, at some remove, the soft style championed by Leonardo da Vinci’s followers Marco d’Oggiono and Bernardino Luini in the region surrounding Milan during the first two decades of the sixteenth century. To the four initial abbreviated prayers are added the Obsecro te, with an inhabited initial of the Virgin and Child (fol. 5r), the Missus est and Te deprecor prayers, and finally the Seven Penitential Psalms together with the Litany and other accompanying prayers (fols. 21r–51r), also introduced with an inhabited initial.

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Lewis E 207, fol. 5r (detail of inhabited initial with Virgin and Child)

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Lewis E 207, fol. 21r (detail of inhabited initial with King David in Prayer)

The most innovative aspect of the book, however, is found in the illusionistically painted sprigs of violas, carnations, and other flowers surrounding the four miniatures, painted so as to appear threaded through cuts in the parchment. This clever visual device is much more closely associated with Netherlandish manuscript illumination, particularly work from the so-called Ghent-Bruges school.1

The unusual style of the miniatures and the idiosyncratic texts make it difficult to place the book chronologically. However, a clue might lie in the litany, which includes saints more typical of France, including Denis, Eustache, and Lubin, which might indicate that the book was produced in Milan during the period of French domination, from 1500 to 1512. Such a date would accord well with the style of the miniatures, and provides us with at least some means for anchoring this mysterious book in its original context.

  
Lewis E 207, fols. 40v and 41v (litany including saints Denis, Eustache, and Lubin) 


 

A Leopard that Changes its Spots: A Hand-Decorated Incunable from the Library of Jean Chardalle

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 28/52

Penn Libraries call number: Inc A-1232 Folio
Saint Augustine, De civitate Dei (City of God), University of Pennsylvania, Inc A-1232 Folio, fol. 13r

This week’s BiblioPhilly manuscript “discovery” is a bit of a misnomer on all three counts, as it A) amplifies an observation previously made by another scholar, B) relates to an item held at the University of Pennsylvania–an institution not officially included in the Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis grant–and C) concerns an early printed book, rather than a manuscript! Nevertheless, it is worth including in the blog since A) the discovery was enabled by an innovative online project, B) the item will be included in next year’s post-BiblioPhilly exhibition at Penn, and C) the incunable in question was decorated by hand with high quality initials and bar borders.

So, we are still dealing with an illuminated book, even though it is printed. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, the advent of the printing press did not diminish the demand for skilled illuminators. In fact, there was an explosion of available work, as innumerable inset spaces left for initials in printed works still had to be completed by hand. The book we are looking at today is an example of the involvement of traditional illuminators with the new technology, a phenomenon well studied by Lilian Armstrong and others. It is a copy of Saint Augustine’s City of God from 1470, the third edition of the work to be printed in Italy, by the German printers Conradus Sweynheym and Arnoldus Pannartz (a fourth had been produced by Johann Mentelin, the first printer to settle in Strasbourg, in 1468). These two business partners were the first to establish a press outside of German-speaking lands, at the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco in 1464/65. By 1467, they had moved in search of greater economic opportunities to Rome, where our volume was printed. Adapting to their trans-alpine audience, Sweynheym and Pannartz abandoned the Gothic typeface used in Northern Europe, developing a semi-Roman font at Subiaco and finally a fully Roman version upon their move to the Papal city (you can see that this is the typeface they used here).

Inc A-1232 Folio
Inc A-1232 Folio, fol. 13r (detail of illuminated initial G)

Unusually, and perhaps uniquely, this incunable’s secondary decoration was added not in Italy but in France. The bar borders and illuminated initials in deep blue and reddish-mauve are all typical of northern French illumination of the 1470s. The single historiated initial G on the first page of the prologue depicts the mitred Saint Augustine blessing the kneeling Marcellinus of Carthage, his friend and the dedicatee of the City of God, who is shown holding a heart in his hands indicative of their bond. In style, the two figures are reminiscent of miniatures produced in Paris by the workshop of François Le Barbier, a prolific artist (previously known as “Maître François”) responsible for illuminating a large number of Books of Hours and theological manuscripts in a somewhat rote style.1 Le Barbier and his associates illuminated three much more elaborate French translations of the City of God: one for the lieutenant general of Paris, Charles de Gaucourt (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS fr. 18–19); one for the king’s secretary, Mathieu Beauvarlet (Paris, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, MS 246); and one for the recalcitrant Duke of Nemours, Jacques d’Armagnac (vol. 1: The Hague, Museum Meermanno, 10 A 11; vol. 2: Nantes, Bibliothèque municipale, Ms. 181).

In the lower margin of the prologue page, a rectangular strip of paper has been excised and replaced with a patch bearing an armorial escutcheon surrounded by a green wreath. The arms appear to show a Lion’s golden face against a blue background. This would seem to be a potentially popular choice for a coat-of-arms, but a head-on lion’s head is almost unheard of in European heraldry, and my first instinct was that this was a fictitious emblem, added to enhance the appearance or price of the book at a later date.

Penn Libraries call number: Inc A-1232 Folio
Inc A-1232 Folio, fol. 13r (detail of coat-of-arms)

However, I noticed that the book’s heraldry had previously been discussed on the web as part of the Provenance Online Project. This is a lightweight crowdsourced initiative started at the University of Pennsylvania whereby simple, cellphone photos of unknown annotations, bookstamps, bookplates and other heraldic identifiers are shared online via Flickr, a free photo posting utility. Users around the world are then encouraged to identify the owners. Luckily, the arms in our book were identified by none other than Martin Davies, former curator of incunabula at the British Library and a leading authority on early printing.

As Davies pointed out in a reply to the POP posting, the arms display the face of a leopard, not a lion! They are, in heraldic terms: azure, a leopard’s face or (in French: d’azur à la tête de léopard d’or). This unique animal iconography belongs to Jean Chardalle of Marville, (Johannes Chardallus in Latin) who served as Canon of the Cathedral of Metz from 1475 to 1502. Described as a “noble seigneur d’Église, homme sage docte et scientifique personne” by the contemporary chronicler Philippe de Vigneulles, Chardalle was a prolific book collector, and around thirty-five incunables and fifteen manuscripts have been identified as belonging to him by Pierre-Édouard Wagner.2 This copy of the City of God represents a new addition to this impressive tally, and is all the more important owing to the devastating loss of nearly half of the Municipal Library of Metz’s manuscript and incunable holdings during the Second World War, incuding many books that had belonged to Chardalle. This is indeed a case where prior dispersal has led to survival.

Among the incunables Chardalle owned, most are Italian and bear Italian decoration. Chardalle presumably purchased these on ecclesiastical trips to Rome. The style of the roundel in the City of God is also Italian, contrasting with the Parisian initials. It closely resembles the heraldic devices on other books he brought back from Italy, for example two separate texts by Juan de Torquemada, a Commentum in psalmos David (Verdun, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 84), and a De potestate Ecclesia (Metz, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 104). The evidence from our book suggests that Chardalle purchased extra versions of his coat-of-arms while abroad for insertion into his books.

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Juan de Torquemada, Commentum in psalmos David, Verdun, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 84 (image tweeted by Michaël George) and Juan de Torquemada, De potestate Ecclesia, Metz, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 104, fol. 1r (image from Pierre-Édouard Wagner in Pierre Louis, ed., Épreuves du temps, 200 ans de la bibliothèque de Metz, 1804–2004 (Metz: Bibliothèques-Médiathèques de la Ville de Metz, 2004), 126.

Though most versions of his coat of arms show five thistles issuing from the Leopard’s mouth (the word for thistle in French is chardon, a play on his surname), here this feature is absent. The same is true of the arms in a fine manuscript copy of Augustine’s works (comprising the Meditationes, Manuale, Enchiridion, and De fide, but not the De civitate dei) from the Cathedral Treasury of Metz, where it accompanies a striking image of Chardalle in prayer before the Crucifixion (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 9545, fol. 1r).


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Saint Augustine, Meditationes, Manuale, Enchiridion, and De fide, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 9545, fol. 1r (with detail of coat-of-arms)


A cicerone’s Cicero

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 27/52

http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0023/lewis_e_066/data/web/5230_0006_web.jpg   5230_0006_web
Cicero, Epistolae ad familiares (Letters to Friends), Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 66, fol. 1r

The recovery of ancient collections of letters provided new stylistic models for humanists eager to break with the old-fashioned Medieval formularies, the stilted writing manuals that had until then structured letter-writing practices. The great poet and text-hunter Francis Petrarch had uncovered Cicero’s Epistolae ad Atticum in 1345 in Verona, but it was only in 1392 that Coluccio Salutati brought to light the entire sixteen books that make up the Epistolae ad familiares. Beyond its exemplary style of Latin prose, this collection of letters provided invaluable historical information concerning the final years of the Roman Republic. The fine humanist manuscript we are looking at today, Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E 66, contains a complete copy of the Epistolae ad familiares, save for the first four letters of book 16, which appear to have been omitted purposefully.

The text is written in a competent but informal humanistic cursive, somewhat at odds with the more refined tricolor square capitals that mark the beginning of each book. The frontispiece displays the type of bianchi girari decoration intertwined with the gilded initial and set against tri-colored background fills that is the hallmark of well-produced humanist manuscripts and inclunables. The writing of the book was completed in Ferrara on 12 March 1468 by a certain Gregorio Martinello de Buccassolo, as noted in the closing colophon on folio 174v: “M.cccc. lxviij. die xij. Martij Ferrariae hora ui quarta uigesima per me Gregorium de Martinellis de Buccassolo”.


Lewis E 66, fol. 174v

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Lewis E 66, fol. 174v (detail of colophon)

The escutcheon in the lower margin of folio 1r, also surrounded by florid vinework, was never filled-in. During a recent visit to the Free Library’s Rare Book Department with colleagues from the Kislak Center’s Steven Miller Conservation Laboratory, we attempted to use portable UV lighting to decipher what looked like a rubbed inscription in this area, but to no avail. Perhaps further examination with more specialized equipment would allow us to read what looks to be a proper name, perhaps added by a later owner or by the initial owner, in anticipation of the addition of a painted coat-of-arms.

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Lewis E 66, fol. 1r (detail of the unpainted escutcheon under UV light)

Little is known regarding the scribe, Gregorio Martinello, as his name does not appear in any of the usual repertories of names of Renaissance scribes. However, thanks to the wonders of digitized books, we can learn a little more about him. He appears to have been a school master in Finale Emilia, just west of Ferrara, and seems to have transcribed a copy of Federico Frezzi’s epic poem of circa 1400, the Quadriregio.1

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Extract from Pietro Canneti’s Dissertazione Apologetica… Intorno al Poema de’ Quattro Regni, detto altramente il Quadriregio (Foligno: Campana, 1723), 20.


 

Family Resemblances, Part 2

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 26/52
A guest post by University of Pennsylvania Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian, Amey Hutchins

  
Carta executoria, Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 241, fols. 1v–2r (large illuminated initial D, coat of arms; facing text page)

As Richard L. Kagan explains in Lawsuits and Litigants in Castile,1 minors (under the age of 25) and women of any age were not allowed to litigate on their own behalf in the Castilian courts. The exception to the rule about women was that widows were allowed to bring lawsuits, which meant that they could protect their dowries from creditors of their dead husbands. One of the cartas executorias at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 241, records an example of a widow filing a pleito de hidalguía, the lawsuit by a private individual to prove a claim of nobility. Her name first appears as “Marí Lopez de Colmenares muger de Pedro de Matienzo ya defunto vezína de la dicha vílla de Carrión” (Marí Lopez de Colmenares, wife of Pedro de Matienzo already deceased, resident of the town of Carrión, fol. 2r).

This carta executoria was probably quite plain in its original form, with the floral borders added later. For comparison, simple pairs of diagonal lines like these in the upper margin of another, less extravagant, carta executoria,  UPenn Ms. Codex 74:

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Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, UPenn Ms. Codex 74, fol. 6v

…are visible under the borders in Lewis E 241:

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Lewis E 241, fol. 17r

…and the notarial marks like these at the bottom of each page in UPenn Ms. Codex 74:

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UPenn Ms. Codex 74, fol. 6v

…have been roughly avoided by the later decoration in Lewis E 241:

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Lewis E 241, fol. 17r

At the end of the text of the carta executoria, the later decoration does not fill the lower margin, in order not to cover the title-like summary at the end, where the name of Marí Lopez de Colmenares appears again, slightly damaged:

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Lewis E 241, fol. 28r

The full-page illuminations in Lewis E 241 are at the end of the manuscript, not the beginning, and this departure from the usual order, together with the later date of the decoration, makes the shadowy double portrait at the end of the manuscript (fol. 30r) a bit enigmatic.

  
Lewis E 241, fols. 29v–30r

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Lewis E 241, fol. 30r (detail)

Is it a retrospective portrait of Marí and Pedro? A portrait of their son García de Matienzo (named in a later addition on fol. 28v), with his wife? Or another member of the same family?


With thanks to Richard Kagan, Johns Hopkins University; Scotland Long, University of Pennsylvania; and Francis Turco, Temple University, for their assistance.

Family Resemblances, Part 1

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 25/52
A guest post by University of Pennsylvania Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian, Amey Hutchins

  
Carta executoria de hidalguia de Agustin de Yturbe, vezino de la ciudad de Sevilla, Bethlehem, PA, Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Codex 22, fols. 1v–2r (Full-page miniature, Yturbe family praying before the Virgin Mary; Full-page miniature, John the Baptist and Saint Augustine)

One of the great outcomes of the BiblioPhilly project is how easy it is to discover similar manuscripts in multiple partner libraries. As a cataloger at Penn, I was aware of seven cartas executorias in the Penn Libraries: six in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and one at the Library at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. These are sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century manuscripts celebrating the aristocratic genealogy of Spanish families and confirming the privileges of aristocracy, issued at the end of lawsuits brought in the chancillerías (royal chancery courts) in Granada or Valladolid to prove nobility. These privileges were worth having: they included exemption from taxes and protection from a variety of criminal punishments including torture and being sent to the galleys, and protection from imprisonment for debt.1 Through the BiblioPhilly project, I have made the acquaintance of six more cartas executorias in the region: one at Lehigh University (not described as a carta executoria prior to the project), one at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and four in the John Frederick Lewis Collection of European Manuscripts at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The manuscripts often begin with two full-page illuminations, including images of their owners, sometimes with their families. Here we see Alonso Ximenez de Canizares and his wife Maria de Zuniga (1574):

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Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1923-17-1, fol. 1v

Juan de Londono and family (1587):

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Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 59, fol. 1v

and Agustin de Yturbe and family (1593):

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Bethlehem, Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Lehigh Codex 22,  fol. 1v

Some manuscripts also have historiated letters or small miniatures with portraits of the ruling monarch. The thirteen manuscripts in the BiblioPhilly region span the years from 1538 to 1606, issued in the reigns of Charles I (1516–1566):

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E 263, Carta executoria a pedimiento de Alonso Mendez de Parada, fol. 48v
Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 263 (1538), fol. 48v

Phillip II (1556-1598):

University of Pennsylvania LJS 20: Carta executoria de hidalguia a pedimiento, fol. 65r
Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, LJS 20 (1578), fol. 65r

and Phillip III (1598-1621):

University of Pennsylvania LJS 21: Executoria de hidalguia a pedimiento, fol. 49r
Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection, LJS 21 (1606), fol. 49r

In this group of highly formulaic manuscripts, one has a significant difference, which will be the subject of the next post.