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MS. Buchanan e. 3

Book of Hours, Use of Rouen
France, Rouen; late 15th or early 16th century

Physical description

Material Parchment.
Dimensions The leaves 195 x 125 mm.
Number of leaves i (paper, conjoint with the pastedown) + i (post-medieval parchment) + 77 + i (post-medieval parchment) + i (paper, conjoint with the pastedown).
Foliation Foliated in modern pencil: i, 1-80.
Collation Mostly in quires of 8 leaves: I6+1 (1st leaf an added flyleaf) (fols. 1-7) | II8-1 (8th leaf excised with scissors(?) after fol. 14) (fols. 8-14), III-V8 (fols. 15-38), VI6 (fols. 39-44) | VII-X8 (fols. 45-76), XI2+1 (3rd leaf an added flyleaf) (fols. 77-79); no catchwords survive.
Ruling 26 lines ruled in pale red ink, with single vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page, the top and bottom horizontals ruled the full width; the ruled space c.115 x 65 mm. (the calendar with 32 lines per page, the ruled space c.123 x 63 mm.); no prickings survive.
Script Written in dark brown ink in lettre bâtarde with 25 lines of text per page; the written space c. 113 x 65 mm.; in two sizes of script, according to liturgical function.
Rubrication Headings in red, capitals touched with a yellow wash.
Sec. fol. (Calendar, fol. 3) 'KL Mars.'; (text, fol. 9) 'sed ex deo'.
Binding Sewn on four cords, with endbands; bound in 18th-cent. speckled brown leather over pasteboards (before 1776, since the last paper flyleaf (fol. 80r) is inscribed with this date (see under Provenance)); the first paper flyleaf apparently with the watermark '1749' (or '1719'?), within an amphora(?)-shaped framing, the last flyleaf with 'P[then a heart-shape]GIIGII'(?); the edges of the leaves-except the paper flyleaves-gauffered and gilt, thus this must pre-date the present binding; the parchment flyleaves (fols. 1, 79) must also belong to a previous binding, and may possibly have been its pastedowns, since fol. 79 shows the impression of a former turn-in around its outer edges.


[Item 1 occupies quire I]

1. (fols. 2r-7v) Calendar, in French, with an entry for every day, major feasts in gold, the others alternately red or blue; feasts in gold include the Transfiguration (6 Aug.), Martial (3 July), Denis (9 Oct.), and Romanus of Rouen (23 Oct.); feasts in red or blue include Ansbert of Rouen (9 Feb.), Eustaise of Luxeuil (29 Mar.), Valeric (1 Apr.), Eutropius of Saintes (30 Apr.), Ivo Helory (19 May), Desiderius (23 May), Mellon of Rouen (22 Oct.), Malo (14 Nov., as in Paris Books of Hours: the usual date is 15 Nov.).

[Items 2-5 occupy quires II-VI]

2. (fols. 8r-11r) Gospel Pericopes [John 1:1-14, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 2:1-12, Mark 16:14-20], John followed by the usual antiphon, versicle, response, and prayer: 'Protector in te sperantium ...' (pr. Wordsworth, Horae Eboracenses, 32-4).

3. (fols. 11r-14v) Prayers to the Virgin:
(i) (fols. 11r-13r) 'Obsecro te ...' [masculine forms] (cf. MS. Buchanan e. 2);
(ii) (fols. 13r-14v) 'O intemerata ... orbis terrarum. Inclina mater misericordie aures tue pietatis ...' [masculine forms] (pr. Wordsworth, Horae Eboracenses, 67-8).

4. (fol. 14v) The Five Joys of the Virgin: 'Quinque gaudia beate marie Aue cuius conceptio ...' (Repertorium hymnologicum, no. 1744), ending imperfect after the fourth verse (at '... nostra fuit purgatio. ||'), thus lacking the fifth verse, and the versicle, response, and prayer, due to the loss of a leaf after fol. 14.

5. (fols. 15r-44v) Hours of the Virgin, Use of Rouen, with three lessons at Matins, with the Hours of the Cross and of the Holy Spirit intermixed.

[Items 6-11 occupy quires VII-XI]

6. (fols. 45r-52r) The Seven Penitential Psalms.

7. (fols. 52r-54v) Litany and collects; the litany with Martial last among fifteen Apostles and Evangelists; followed by All Holy Disciples, All Holy Innocents, and Ursinus (cf. MS. Buchanan e. 14 and MS. Douce 268, Books of Hours of the Use of Evreux and Bayeux respectively, which each have Ursinus between Apostles & Evangelists and Disciples); and including Mellon, Romanus (both of Rouen) (8-9), Hugh (bishop of Rouen), Severus of Avranches (relics at Rouen), Julian, Wulfram, Wandregisil (venerated at Rouen), William (12-17) among seventeen confessors; and Austreberta (8), and Honorina (12) (both venerated at Rouen) among sixteen virgins; followed (fol. 54v) by three collects:
(i) 'Deus cui proprium est ...' (pr. Corpus orationum, no. 1143),
(ii) 'Ure igne sancti spiritus ...' (pr. Bruylants, Oraisons, no. 1168), and
(iii) 'Animabus quesumus domine ...' (pr. Corpus orationum, no. 260).

8. (fols. 55r-71r) Office of the Dead, Use of Rouen; the versicles after the ninth lesson are 'Dies illa ...', 'Quid ergo ...', and 'Requiem eternam ...'.

9. (fols. 71v-73v, first rubric on 71r) Suffrages to the Trinity and saints: 'Sequuntur suffragia plurimorum sanctorum et sanctarum. Et primo de sanctissima trinitate.'; to (i) the Trinity, (ii) Michael, (iii) John the Baptist, (iv) Sebastian, (v) Nicholas, (vi) Romanus of Rouen, (vii) Catherine, and (viii) Barbara. (The prayers are pr. Corpus orationum, nos. (i) 3920, (ii) 1198, (iii) 4492, (iv) 1472a, (v) 1463, (vi) 119b (adapted for Romanus), and (vii) 1521; for (viii) cf. Colker, Trinity College Dublin cat., II, 863 item 61).

10. (fols. 74r-78r) Prayers, in French and Latin, mostly in verse, to the Virgin, St. Barbara, and the Guardian Angel:
(i) (fols. 74r-77r, rubric on fol. 73v) 'Oraison tresdeuote a la vierge marie mere de dieu. Mere de dieu qui fustes mise. / Et assise / Lassus en throsne diuin ... Et sauuez / En la gloire pardurable. AMEN.' (Sonet, Répertoire, no. 1121; pr. Leroquais, Livres d'heures, II, 325-8);
(ii) (fol. 77r-v) 'Aultre oraison tresdeuote. Aduocate pour les pecheurs / Tourne vers moy ta doulce face / Et me fais viure tous les iours / En oraison quelque ie face / ...' (Sinclair, French devotional texts, first supplement, no. 3927, citing only this manuscript; Rézeau, Répertoire, states that this is the third stanza of Sonet, Répertoire, no. 1094);
(iii) (fol. 77v) 'Aultre oraison de nostre dame. Noble mere du redempteur / Fontaine de toute lyesse ... Que tous mes pechez a la fin / Vostre filz iesus me pardonne. AMEN.' (Sonet, Répertoire, no. 1241);
(iv) (fol. 77v) 'Oraison de saincte barbe. Saincte barbe comme ie croy / Que siege auez en paradis ... Que garder pouez voz subgictz / De mourir sans confession. Amen' (Sinclair, French devotional texts, first supplement, no. 5067, citing only this manuscript; Rézeau, Répertoire, no. 2306);
(v) (fols. 77v-78r) 'Aultre oraison de saincte barbe. O uirgo et martyr barbara. Quasi pulchra luna plena. Post mariam flos uirginum. Ora pro me ad dominum. Amen.';
(vi) (fol. 78r) 'Oraison a son bon ange. Angele qui meus es custos pietate superna me tibi commissum serua defende guberna. Amen' (pr. Wordsworth, Horae Eboracenses, 35).

11. (fols. 78r-78v) Prayer, in French verse: 'Le chemin de paradis. Qui veult en paradis aler / Cy en peult le chemin trouuer. ... Ce sont les vertus et la ioye. / Qui lhomme en paradis enuoye. Amen.' (Sonet, Répertoire, no. 1748).


Four large rectangular miniatures, each above four lines of text, with more-or-less elaborate renaissance architectural framing:

Ten large gently arched miniatures, each above four lines of text, with four-sided borders of foliage, birds, etc. on a painted gold ground:

One miniature in a nearly square frame (considerably wider than the text column) painted as if set with jewels and pearls, above four lines of text surrounded on the three lower sides by a partial border:

The iconography of the Virgin and Child with supplicant owner, incorporating both the comparatively common rosary, and the much rarer parrot, perhaps derives ultimately from Jan van Eyck's van der Paele Madonna (Bruges, Groeninge Museum), dated 1436 on the frame, or a similar work. (On the iconographic meaning of the parrot, see Carol J. Purtle, The Marian paintings of Jan van Eyck (Princeton, 1982), 91-2 and fig. 43, summarising Lawrence Naftulin, 'A note on the iconography of the van der Paele Madonna', Oud Holland 86 (1971), 3-8, at 7-8 n. 12). That a version of such an image circulated among Rouen illuminators is suggested by the fact that a closely-related image is present in Lampeter, St. David's University College, MS. 7, also a late 15th- or early 16th-cent. Book of Hours for the Use of Rouen, but without the rosary, by a different artist, and illustrating a different text (see Ker, MMBL, III, 11-12; I am grateful to Celia Hewardine for bringing the similarity of the image in the Lampeter manuscript to my attention).

Digitised images of the miniatures.

Twenty-four small rectangular miniatures as border panels in the calendar, depicting the Occupations of the Months and Zodiac signs, mostly against naturalistic landscapes or interiors; amid further border panels containing naturalistic flowers on a painted gold ground:

Digitised images of the calendar.

Borders to every text page: a narrow painted gold framing, with a painted border in the outer margin of stylized and naturalistic foliage, flowers, and fruit on a painted gold ground.

Four-line initials of stylized and naturalistic foliage and flowers on a painted gold ground to each hour, major prayer, etc.; similar two-line initials to psalms, lessons, etc.; one-line initials of painted gold on a blue or red ground, alternating, to verses and other minor divisions; similar line-fillers.


1. Unidentified laywoman: made for the woman depicted on fol. 74r, who, to judge by the suffrage and two prayers to St. Barbara, had a special devotion to her.

2. Gilbert de la Houssay du Trembley, 1776: inscribed (fol. 1r): 'Gibert delahoussaije | Dutrembleij', and '1776' (in paler ink); inscribed very similarly on fol. 80r, where the date is coeval, but the 'gibert' is added in paler ink.

3. Unidentified 18th/19th-cent. collections: the second compartment from the top of the spine with a polygonal paper label printed in blue (for a very similar, perhaps identical, label which has not been covered, see the spine of [pr. bk.] Buchanan c.12), covered by a rectangular paper label printed with a figure (? perhaps a '1' or an 'L'-only the very top is visible), which in turn is obscured by a third paper label, printed '5', which has had this number effaced with ink, and '3' inscribed next to it. The base of the spine with a paper label printed '650', and another similar, smaller, paper label pasted to fol. 1r is printed with the same number. The '650' and '3' may relate to the number '0653' on the upper pastedown (see below). There are traces of another rectangular paper label which has been removed from the second compartment from the bottom of the spine.

4. Unidentified French bookseller, 19th cent.: inscribed on the upper pastedown: '0653', 'u.m.m.' (perhaps upper-case?), and: '15 grandes miniatures | 12 petites - les mois'.

5. Messrs. T. & W. Boone, London booksellers: inscribed in pencil with their price-code in the upper right corner of the upper pastedown and in the top left corner of the lower pastedown (cf. MSS. Buchanan e. 2 and g. 1).

6. John (or Thomas?) Buchanan: bought Boone on 16 April 1862, for £25 and inscribed in pencil 'Boone' on fol. i verso, and with the 'Descriptive list' number, '3.', in the top left corner of the upper pastedown.

7. Rt. Hon. T. R. Buchanan (1846-1911); given to the Bodleian by his widow, Mrs. E. O. Buchanan, in 1939, when it was accessioned as MS. Lat. liturg. e. 24 (contrary to the pencilled record of accession (fol. 1r): 'D[onated]. 21.vii.1941').


Bodleian catalogue description

Printed version of this description forthcoming.

Other bibliography

'Fifteen illuminated Horae', Bodleian Library Record, 1 no. 7 (1939), 115-6, at 115 (cited as MS. Lat. liturg. e. 24).

S. J. P. van Dijk, Handlist of the Latin liturgical manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, IV [Books of Hours] (Unpublished Typescript, Oxford, 1959), 101

Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. 1: German, Dutch, Flemish, French and Spanish schools (Oxford, 1966, repr. with corrections, 1969), no. 807, pl. LIX (fol. 74r).

Celia V. Hewardine, 'Symbolic decoration in a fifteenth-century Book of Hours', Trivium 18 (1983), 49-54, pls. 5-6, at 53 n. 3 (cited as Buchanan liturg. MS. e.3).

Rowan Watson, The Playfair Hours: a late fifteenth century illuminated manuscript from Rouen (V&A, L.475-1918) (London, 1984), 52-3, 73, fig. 9 (fol. 29r).

Pierre Rézeau, Répertoire d'incipit des prières françaises à la fin du moyen âge: addenda et corrigenta aux répertoires de Sonet et Sinclair, nouveau incipit (Publications romanes et françaises, 174: Geneva, 1986), nos. 1094, 1241, 1748, 1804, 2306.

Sotheby's, Western manuscripts and miniatures ... 5th December, 1995 (London), cited under lot 45 (many of the miniatures in this manuscript are very similar to those in the present manuscript).

Sandra Penketh, 'Women and Books of Hours', in Women and the book: assessing the visual evidence ed. Lesley Smith and Jane H. M. Taylor (British Library studies in medieval culture: London, and Toronto, 1996), 266-80, at 274 fig. 100 (fol. 74r, detail).

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