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Detailed record for Harley 2876

Title Book of Hours, Use unidentified
Origin France, Central (Paris)
Date c. 1480 - c. 1490
Language Latin
Script Gothic cursive
Artists attributed to the Circle of the Master of Jacques de Besançon
Decoration 23 full-page miniatures with large decorated initials and full foliate or historiated borders, in colours and gold (ff. 7, 13, 16v, 18v, 25v, 32v [historiated border], 37 [historiated border], 39v [historiated border], 41v, 43v [historiated border], 47 [historiated border], 51, 62, 78v, 83, 86, 87 [historiated border], 88v, 91v, 92v, 95, 98v, 101). 2 smaller decorated initials (3 lines), in colours and gold, at the beginning of the prayers Obsecro te and O intemerata (ff. 8, 9v). Small initials and line-fillers in gold on red, blue or brown grounds.
Dimensions in mm 145 x 100 (90 x 55)
Official foliation ff. 106 (2 medieval parchment flyleaves at the beginning fixed to upper cover by clasp)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Gold-tooled brown leather, centre pieces with David penitent (upper cover) and Virgin and Child (lower cover), 17th century, with clasp; gilt edges.
Provenance Unidentified owner, late 15th century: heraldic arms (ff. 7, 16v, 25v), the letters 'L' and 'B' linked by love-knots (ff. 16v, 18v, 62), the letter 'L' repeated in some of the borders (ff. 7, 16v, 18v) and in the bowl of one initial (f. 19), and portraits of the donor adoring Michael slaying the dragon (f. 86) and the same donor adoring Barbara (f. 95).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts. Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d.1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), II, no. 2876.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Illustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 16.

Janet Backhouse, Illumination from Books of Hours (London: British Library, 2004), fig. 16.


Images
* * *
 
Annunciation

f. 7
Annunciation
Nativity

f. 32v
Nativity
Michael and donor

f. 86
Michael and donor
 


f. 91v

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