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Detailed record for Harley 2917

Title Book of Hours, Use of Rome
Origin France, Central (Paris)
Date c. 1480 - c. 1490
Language Latin, and some French
Script Gothic cursive
Artists By three different artists, two working in the style of the Master of Jacques de Besançon , one in a close manner (ff. 2-12v, 13, 14v, 16v, 18, 56, 59v, 63, 70, 119, 171, 175, 175v, 176, 177, 177v, 178, 179, 179v, 180), the other recognisable by dark shadows and the use of black outlines (ff. 19v, 23v, 47v, 51v, 93, 115, 165v), the last artist trained in Western France (f. 111).
Decoration 22 small calendar miniatures in the lateral foliate borders, in colours and gold (ff. 2-12v); 2 small miniatures for August missing after f. 8. 10 full-page miniatures with large decorated initials and full foliate borders, at the beginning of the Office of the Dead and the Hours of the Holy Spirit in a historiated frame, the miniature at the beginning of the Hours of the Cross covering the whole page, in colours and gold (ff. 47v, 51v, 56, 59v, 63, 70, 93 [historiated frame], 111 [miniature covering the whole page], 115 [historiated frame], 119); 2 full-page miniatures missing after ff. 25 (Matins), 35 (Lauds). 17 small miniatures with three-sided foliate borders, in colours and gold (ff. 13, 14v, 16v, 18, 19v, 23v, 165v, 171, 175, 175v, 176, 177, 177v, 178, 179, 179v, 180). All text pages with partial foliate borders, in colours and gold. Smaller decorated initials, in colours and gold. Small initials and line-fillers in gold on red or blue grounds. Capital letters highlighted in yellow.
Dimensions in mm 175 x 120 (90 x 60)
Official foliation ff. 180 (+ 2 paper flyleaves at the beginning and 1 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Diced brown leather; gilt edges.
Provenance 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, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley '16 die Januarij A.D. 1720/21' (f. 1). 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. 2917.

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. 17.

Janet Backhouse, Illumination from Books of Hours (London: British Library, 2004), fig. 21.


Images
* * *
 
Nativity

f. 47v
Nativity
David in prayer

f. 93
David in prayer
Crucifixion

f. 111
Crucifixion
 
Three Living and Three Dead

f. 119
Three Living and Three Dead

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