MS 3: Book of Hours (France, post-1450; Latin)

Patrons MS 3


MS 3 is a Book of Hours consisting of 161 leaves with text written in Gothic bookhand in brown ink and special feasts in the calendar written in blue ink. The main text has a layout of one column and 15 rows of text per page. The predominance of French saints suggests an origin of France and the appearance of a feast on the calendar for St. Bernardine of Siena points to a date of post-1450, the year of his canonization. Three feasts for St. Martin of Tours would suggest an association with Tours or Regimont which are directly related to the saint or his relics.

In addition to decorative initials and end-of-row space-fillers, the MS includes 20 major miniatures with decorative borders. Border are ornamented with foliage, flora, and fruits and are inhabited with both realistic and whimsical, fantastical, hybrid creatures or drolleries. Predominant colors in the artwork are blue, green, red, and gold. One miniature includes a depiction of the patrons or owners (one man, one woman) kneeling before the Virgin & Child.

The text includes a calendar, Gospel readings, the Hours of the Virgin, the Penitential Psalms, Litany, Office of the Dead, Suffrages to the saints, Prayer to Christ on the Cross, and the Stabat Mater.

Index of Selected Images from MS 3

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f.13r, Evangelists

f.20r, Virgin & Child, patrons/owners (of manuscript)

f.25r, Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary

f.37r, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth

ff.48v-49r, Crucifixion & accompanying text

f.48v, Crucifixion

f.50r, Pentecost

ff.51v-52r, Nativity & accompanying text

f.51v, Nativity

f.59r, Annunciation to the Shepherds

ff.64v-65r, Adoration of the Magi & accompanying text

f.64v, Adoration of the Magi

ff.69v-70r, Presentation in the Temple & accompanying text

f.69v, Presentation in the Temple

f.75r, Flight into Egypt

f.83r, Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

f.88r, King David

f.106r, Job on the Dungheap

f.138r, St. Sebastian

f.143v, St. Barbara

ff.148v-149r, Baptism of Christ & accompanying text

f.148v, Baptism of Christ

f.151r, St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata

ff.151v-152r, Celebration of the Mass & accompanying text

f.152r, Celebration of the Mass

f.154r, Pieta

Detailed Multilevel Description

Index of Medieval Manuscripts
Image Links and descriptions
Shelfmark MS 3, Syracuse University Library, Department of Special Collections
Composite MS? No.
Total Folios f. ii + ff. 157 + ii
Outer Dimensions 156 mm x 115mm
Physical Issues/Binding Dark red leather embossed with gold design.
Provenance Joanna (?); Marguerite de Iosnare (Josnare?) (?); Helene de Seuri and Englebert de Raneschot (?); George Arents.
Notes (Manuscript Level) An illumination on f. 20r depicts a lady and man, presumably the owners/patrons, kneeling before the Virgin and Child. The names of Joanna (156v), Marguerite de Iosnare (Josnare?) (150v), and Helene de Seuri and Englebert de Raneschot (157v) appear in the books as additions, possibly handwritten by the owner(s) themselves, original or subsequent. Attached to the inside of back cover is a label with the name of "Robson & Kerslake Booksellers" in all capitals followed by an address of 43 Cranbourn St., London. A Syracuse University Library /Rare Book Department bookplate appears in the inside front cover on which is printed: "Presented by George Arents." (Rare Book Department is now known as the Department of Special Collections.)Attached to a front flyleaf is a catalog description, source unknown [ellipsis appears where text was illegible]: "365 MANUSCRIPT. HORAE BEATAE MARIAE VIRGINIS, cum calendario, sae.XV., square 8vo, manuscript of vellum containing 20 miniatures, with borders of floral devices, grotesques etc., and hundreds of capitals, the whole richly illuminated in gold a[nd]…bright old crimson morocco extra, gilt edges…containing the autographs o[f]… "Helene de Seuri," and "Englebert de Raneschot." The penultimate pa…esents a Pope [presumably Innocent IX] praying to a figure of Christ."
Source(s) Descriptions and notes of Jennifer Casten. Sources used include: Attwater, Donald, comp., and John Cumming, ed., and rev. A New Dictionary of Saints. Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1993. -- Post, W. Elwood. Saints, Signs, and Symbols: A Concise Dictionary. 2d. ed. London: SPCK, 1962, 1974.  Catholic Forum, Patron Saints Index: -- Catholic Encyclopedia (online):
Inputter/Reviser Jennifer Casten.
Part Number Pt. I, Calendar and Hours of the Virgin
Support Parchment.
Span of Folios for Part Pt. I, ff. 1r-157v.
Country Created or intended for France. Based on handwritten additions appear in French and the predominance of French saints or saints associated with France in the calendar (e.g., St. Louis, St. Dionysius, Charlemagne, St. Martin, St. Genevieve, although the latter’s feast date does not appear on the usual feast in January, but on October 29).
Document? No.
Dated? Yes.
Date The feast of St. Bernardine of Siena appears in the Calendar for May 20 which would suggest a dating of after 1450, the year in which he was canonized, six years after his death.
Layout The manuscript is ruled in red ink, with 18 horizontal lines in the Calendar, and 16 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines with 15 rows of text in the main part of the manuscript. Brown ink used for text. Special feasts are written in blue on the calendar. Catchwords appear at the bottom of ff. 20v, 32v, 40v, 48v, 56v, 64v, 72v, 80v, [88v=blank], 95v, 103v, 111v, 119v, 127v, 135v, 145v.
Script Gothic bookhand. At least two or three changes of hand.
Representational Decoration The MS includes twenty full-page miniatures with decorative borders and incipits to the text, corresponding to the divisions of the hours. The predominant colors are blue, green, red, and gold. The borders are ornamented with foliage, flora, and fruits including acanthus, thistle, strawberries, pomegranates, pansies, roses, columbine, violets, etc. A number of the borders are also inhabited with both realistic (birds) and whimsical, fantastical creatures (e.g., a one-headed, long-necked, two-legged beast). The first miniature (f. 13r) is divided into quarters, not unlike a coat of arms or a diptych divided into four sections, each section which depicts one of the evangelists, Sts. John, Luke, Matthew, and Mark appearing in with his symbolic animal (eagle, ox, angel, lion). The second miniature (f. 20r) combines a devotional image with a portrait, depicting the commissioners/owners of the MS kneeling before the Virgin and Child. The third miniature (25r) is that of the Annunciation of St. Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her conception by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The Visitation portrays the visit of the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth (37r). In the scene of the Crucifixion of Christ (48v), the Virgin Mary and John the Apostle stand on either side of the cross. Pentecost depicts the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles (50r). In the Nativity scene (51v), Mary and Joseph kneel before the infant Christ while the ox and donkey also gaze on. Three shepherds minding their flock are told of the birth of Christ by an angel in the Annunciation to the Shepherds (59r). In the Adoration of the Magi, three kings offer gifts to the Christ Child, who is held by Mary (64v). The Presentation in the Temple shows a man holding the infant Jesus over an altar, while Mary and Joseph bringing offerings (69v). In the scene of the Flight into Egypt, Joseph walks besides the donkey bearing Mary, who holds the infant Jesus (75r). In the Coronation of the Virgin, Mary sits next to Christ enthroned (83r). The beginning of the Penitential Psalms is introduced with the miniature of King David kneeling and gazing toward heaven, harp at his side (88r). The Office of the Dead is preceded by the Job on the Dungheap is illustrated as an old man lying naked in straw and dirt in front of the ruins of a home and being approached by three men (106r). Suffrages to the saints begin with the miniature of St. Sebastian inflicted with arrows (138r). The miniature of St. Barbara can be recognized by the palm the saint holds and the tower appearing in the background. (143v). The next miniature depicts the Baptism of Christ by St. John the Baptist (148v). A suffrage to St. Francis is introduced with an image of the saint receiving the stigmata from the seraphim (151r). A pope is depicted during the consecration of the Mass in the next miniature (152r). The final picture is that of the Pieta or Lamentation in which the Virgin Mary holds the dead body of her son (154r).
Other Decoration Large decorative capitals appear both on the pages with the illuminated miniatures and scattered throughout the MS. Most are gold letters against a red or blue square or rectangular background. Those appearing on the pages with illuminations generally are blue letters against a red square or rectangular background, ornamented with gold designs, but variations occur which may use a combination of these colors. End of line space fillers are red and blue rectangular shapes with gold designs and spanning one row high.
Notes (Part Level) Dating and localization was suggested by J. Casten.Probably added on a later date is the handwritten addition appearing in the top margin of f. 2r for the month of February: "Ni haut Ni Bas. Dieu te Reservere. A°. 1591 . en febr." On 150v: Vertu me guide / Marguerite de Iosnare." On 157v: "Je prie dieu de vous honer autant d heur que merit Tre(?) dousseur / Fortune est Jolie / Helene de seurii / …(?)…/Englebert de Raneschot."
Span of Folios for Text Calendar: ff. 1r-12v; Gospel Readings and Prayers to the Virgin: ff. 13r-24r; The Hours: ff. 25r-87r; Penitential Psalms: ff. 88r-101r; Litany (incl. Exhoration to St. Francis, Agnus Dei, other prayers): ff. 101r-105v; Office of the Dead: ff. 106r-136v; Suffrages: ff. 138r-151v; Prayer to Christ on the Cross: ff. 152r-153r; Stabat Mater: ff. 154r-156v; Handwritten notes by owners (?): f. 157v.
Supplied Title Book of Hours; Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Horae beatae mariae virginis.
Incipit [Text immediately following calendar:] "Secundum Johannem…In principio erat verbum.."
Language(s) Latin.
Notes (Text Level) A feast day appears in the calendar in honor of Charlemagne for January 28. A cult developed in 1166 under the influence of Frederick Barbarossa and antipope, Paschal III, and devotion to him became compulsory by state in France in 1475. (See Attwater and Cumming, p. 67; also the online Catholic Encyclopedia at Among the blue letter days included in the calendar are feasts in honor of the apostles and evangelists, Peter and Paul, the Blessed Virgin, St. John the Baptist, Vincent, martyr (1/22), St. George, martyr (4/23); Lawrence, martyr (8/10), Dionysius (10/9), Martin, bishop (11/11), Pope Clement (11/23), Mary Magdalene (7/22), and Catherine, virgin (11/25). Translations celebrated include those of Nicholas (5/9), Francis (5/29), Thomas (4/3), Martin (7/4), and Benedict (7/11). "Invencio", or Finding of St. Martin is also celebrated (6/30). In fact, three feasts appear in honor of St. Martin who was bishop of Tours, suggesting that the origin of this MS has an association with that city, although, the basilica now known as St. Germain-de-pres in Regimont, near Bezieres, was originally built in his honor.