[ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT15TH CENTURY.]
BOOK OF HOURS, WRITTEN THROUGHOUT IN SILVER INK.
Illuminated Latin manuscript on vellum. [Southern Netherlands, probably Bruges: third quarter of the 15th century]. 104 leaves (only), some catchwords, 13 lines per page, written in liquid silver paint in a gothic liturgical hand. Several small contemporary faces sketched in silver ink in lower margins, first incipit in liquid gold ink, others in pale red ink, rubrics in red, numerous 1-, 2- or 3-line and one 4-line initials in burnished gold on blue or pink grounds with white penwork, infilled with contrasting color, occasional color flourishing in margins, four 4- or 5-line initials in blue with white penwork on pink grounds with polychrome infill and a three-quarters border of floral sprays with burnished gold leaves (fols.37r, 42v, 48v, 93r). 8vo (107 x 78 mm). 17th century red morocco gilt-ruled, spine gilt in compartments. Several leaves excised (probably those with miniatures), few leaves at end affected by dampstain, slight trimming to some borders, larger initials with some rubbing, spine ends and corners lightly chipped.
Extremely rare Book of Hours written in silver, silver being very difficult to use as an ink and any book in that medium being of the utmost rarity. Silver scribework became briefly fashionable among members of the Burgundian Court in the third quarter of the 15th century. Seven of these manuscripts survive, the most lavish of which were written in silver and gold on black-tinted vellum. In all likelihood very few workshops ever mastered the skill of using silver ink and this manuscript, though for a more modest patron than that of the famous "Black Hours" or "Black Prayer Book" (held by the Morgan Library and by the ONB in Vienna respectively), results from the same vogue for this difficult technique.
Text comprises a calendar (fol.1r); the Gospel sequences (fol.13r); Hours of the Virgin consistent with the Use of Rome: Matins (fol.17r), Lauds (fol.24v), Prime (fol.35r), Terce (fol.37r), Sext (fol.40v), Nones (fol.44r); Vespers (fol.46v), Compline (fol.48r); Penitential Psalms with litany (fol.50r); other prayers (fol.89r); Hours of the Cross (fol.93r); Obsecro te (fol.100v).