MS 6: Book of Hours (France, ca. 1480-1500; Latin with French rubrics)



MS 6 is a Book of Hours consisting of 258 leaves with the text in Latin with rubrics in French, in Gothic bookhand. Alternating blue and red ink is used for the text of the calendar. The layout for the main text is 1 column of 12 rows of text in brown ink with blue rubrics. The codex is French in origin with a date of ca.1480-1500. It probably belonged to a Monsieur Aime Martin at one time but it was eventually acquired by John Crawford and donated to Syracuse University.

The text consists of the calendar, gospel readings and prayers, the Hours, Litany, and additional prayers which include those in honor of the Virgin, Jesus (e.g., the Holy Face of Jesus), and one to St. Margaret.

The twenty-one miniatures appearing in the manuscript have borders ornamented with acanthus leaves, vines, and an assortment of flora and fauna; and decorative initials intertwined with vinework and set against a gold background. Decorative borders appear elsewhere on the rectos of the calendar and selected folios of the main text section. Decorative initials of varying sizes and degrees of decoration, as well as the end-of-row space fillers, appear throughout the text.

Index of Selected Images from MS 6

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f.1r, Coat of Arms & Monogram

f.13r, St. John at Patmos

f.37r, Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary

ff.56v-57r, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth & accompanying text

ff.56v, Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth

ff.76r, Kiss of Judas

ff.80v-81r, Nativity & accompanying text

ff.80v, Nativity

f.91r, Flagellation of Christ

ff.94v-95r, Annunciation to the Shepherds & accompanying text

f.94v, Annunciation to the Shepherds

ff.102v-103r, Carrying of the Cross & accompanying text

f.102v, Carrying of the Cross

f.106v, Adoration of the Magi

ff.113v-114r, Nailing to the Cross & accompanying text

f.113v, Nailing to the Cross

f.117r, Massacre of the Innocents

f.124v-125r, Crucifixion & accompanying text

f.124v, Crucifixion

f.128r, Presentation in the Temple

f.140v-141r, Lamentation & accompanying text

f.140v, Lamentation

f.144r, Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

ff.153v-154r, Laying of Christ's body in the tomb & accompanying text

f.153v, Laying of Christ's body in the tomb

f.158r, David slaying Goliath

f.188r, Raising of Lazarus

f.250r, Elevation of the Body of Christ

f.250v, Butterfly in Decorative Border

f.253r, St. Veronica showing Veil with Face of Christ

Detailed Multilevel Description

Index of Medieval Manuscripts
Image Links and descriptions
Shelfmark MS 6, Syracuse University Library, Department of Special Collections.
Composite MS? No.
Total Folios ff. i + 257 (last page of text is on 255r).
Outer Dimensions 14 x 10 cm
Physical Issues/Binding The cover bears evidence of two clasps, now missing. Binding is of a dark brown leather embossed with gold designs. Folios have gold edges.
Provenance Aime Martin (?); Gerald E. Hart; John M. Crawford.
Bibliography Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County. Medieval Art in Upstate New York. Syracuse, NY: Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County, 1974.[p. 110]
Notes (Manuscript Level) The MS may have once belonged to "Monsieur Aime Martin," whose name was handwritten on p. 249v. The bookplate attached to the inside of the front cover reads: "Ex Libris Gerald E. Hart. John M. Crawford later acquired the MS and donated to the Syracuse University Library. The bookplate itself was made by Edwin Cox & Co Montreal. A monogram appears above the coat of arms on folio i (recto).
Source(s) Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County. Medieval Art in Upstate New York. Syracuse, NY: Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County, 1974.[p. 110]. --Sill, Gertrude Grace. A Handbook of Symbols in Christian Art. New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1975.[iconographical information].–Additional notes and observations by Jennifer Casten.
Inputter/Reviser Jennifer Casten
Part Number Pt. I, Calendar; Gospel readings and prayers; the Hours; Litany and related prayers; additional prayers.
Support Parchment.
Span of Folios for Part Pt. I, ff. 1r-257r (ff. 266-267 are blank).
Country France
Document? No.
Dated? Yes.
Date ca. 1480-1500.
Layout Ink ruling. Calendar: 8 vertical and 18 horizontal lines, 17 rows per page, 3 columns + the border. Main text: 2 vertical and 13 horizontal lines, 1 column with 12 rows of text. Calendar alternates between blue and red ink for text. Main text is in brown ink, with rubrics in blue.
Script Gothic bookhand. Possibly 2-4 changes in hand.
Representational Decoration Below a helmet with blue and red plumage appears a shield emblazoned with a gold star and three red rings on a white diagonal band against a blue field on the left half of escutcheon; three gold or silver cauldrons (?) against a blue field in the bottom right; and a black rampart lion against a white field in the upper right. Above the helmet and shield is a monogram in red consisting of the letters M, C, D (?).The MS includes 21 full-page illuminations: St. John the Evangelist on the Island of Patmos (13r), the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary (37r), the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth (56v), the Kiss of Judas (76r), Pentecost (78v), the Nativity (80v), the Flagellation or Scourging of Christ (91r); the Annunciation to the Shepherds (94v), the Carrying of the Cross (102v), the Adoration of the Magi (106v), the Nailing to the Cross (113v), The Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt (117r), the Crucifixion (124v), the Presentation in the Temple (128r), the Lamentation or Pieta (140v), the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (144r), the Entombment (153v), David about to Slay Goliath (158r), the Raising of Lazarus (188r) Celebration of the Mass by the Pope (250r), and Veronica Showing the Face of Jesus on her Veil (253r). The painter of this last image appears to have worked on that one alone.The miniatures are further ornamented with decorative borders and initials. The initials are blue intertwined with vinework with a three-leaf design and set against a gold background. The borders are embellished with blue and gold acanthus leaves, vines with three-pointed gold leaves, cherries, strawberries, violets, thistles, pansies, roses, violets, irises, and an assortment of flora. Fauna also inhabit the borders in the form of moths/butterflies, insects, birds, frog, dog, and even a weasel-like animal. These may have an iconographic relationship to the main scene depicted in the miniature (e.g., The border framing the miniature of the pope saying Mass contains symbols of a peacock, signifying resurrection, and the cock, signifying vigilance, the latter also a symbol associated with St. Peter, the first pope, and with the instruments of Christ’s Passion).
Other Decoration Decorative borders, similar in content to those appearing with the miniatures, also appear on all the rectos in the Calendar, and on the outside margins of selected folios of the main text. Decorative initials, generally gold against a red and blue background with white designs, appear throughout the text in varying sizes or degrees of decoration, to indicate a new verse, prayer, or section. End of verse/line space fillers in the colors of blue, red, and gold with white design are approximately 1 row high.
Span of Folios for Text ff. i-255r.
Supplied Title Book of Hours
Incipit [Immediately after the calendar, on f. 13r:] "In principio erat verbum..."
Language(s) Latin text with rubrics in French.
Notes (Text Level) Calendar celebrates feasts for many obscure saints, while other better-known saints appear on the wrong feast day. Text includes Hours of the Virgin, various prayers to the Virgin including "Obsecro te domina" (23r) and "Salve regina" (32v), prayers to St. Margaret (240v), "Adoro te domine Iehsu" (250r), and "Salve Sancte Facies" (253r).


Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County. Medieval Art in Upstate New York. Syracuse, NY: Everson Museum of Art of Syracuse and Onondaga County, 1974. [p. 110]