Handsome Suffrage Miniatures from Bourges
Type: Leaves & Fragments
SS. Paul and James the Great: Suffrage Miniatures from a Book of Hours. Single folio on vellum. Central France, doubtless Bourges, ca. 1480: 180 mm x 116 mm (justification, 96 mm x 52 mm). Single column, 18 lines. Unfoliated. Decoration: two high-quality eight-line miniatures (each 43 mm x 36 mm); the recto features St. Paul brandishing a sword. The background of a mountain with clouds (or smoking volcano) as well as the strong shading are notable. The second miniature of St. James shows the saint in his pilgrim garb, with pilgrim hat, walking stick and either a prayer book or wallet. He stands outdoors. His patronage of pilgrims is due to the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostella, where his remains are said to reside. He is the patron saint of Spain. In addition to the miniatures, this fragment bears handsome geometric borders infilled with flowers and birds. Two-line initials in liquid gold on red and blue grounds and rubrication in diluted red ink. Texts: end of the prayer for the Suffrage of St. Bartholomew; petition, versicle, responsory, and prayer for the Suffrage of St. Paul (complete); petition for St. James (incomplete). Provenance: when purchased, this manuscript was said to be from Bourges, but no other provenance information was provided. In fact, the borders do resemble Bourges borders as identified in the Elmhirst-Courtanveaux Book of Hours (see https://mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-elmhirst-courtanvaux-hours.html). Collection of Alexander E. Vida of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI (d. 2018) and by descent. Condition: virtually immaculate, the only visible issues being hinge residue in the corners, very slight cockling, and some slight wear in the lower corner of the border on the recto (doubtless where a thumb rested).