An unprecedented number of people desired and valued Books of Hours in the later Middle Ages and beyond. Did owners read their Books of Hours or were they status symbols filled with costly paintings? Or both? We do encounter accounts of people reading their Books of Hours, and some even contain paintings of their owners praying with book in hand! Apart from its interesting grisaille (shades of grey and white) paintings and its remarkably large number of pictures (nearly fifty in total), the present manuscript is unique in that it includes page after page of people, often women, reading from their manuscripts, even when the text calls for no such representation.
234 ff., preceded and followed by 3 paper leaves, lacking at least 5 leaves (collation impracticable but clearly missing ff. between ff. 108-109, 131-132, 135-136, 149-150, 186-187, missing or rather a miniature planned but not carried out on ff. 176 (?), 179v, 183v (?), 191, 192v, perhaps also after calendar on justified blank leaves e.g. ff. 15-16; some prayers apparently unfinished or copy interrupted for ex. f. 188 ending abruptly with a blank ruled leaf on f. 188v), written in a bâtarde bourguignonne script (littera cursive formata) in brown ink, on up to 17 lines, in a single column (justification: 51 x 80 mm), parchment ruled in purple, rubrics in red (some in two shades of red, e.g. ff. 57v, 192, 193v etc.), 2-line high initials in burnished gold on blue and dark pink grounds highlighted in white, also larger (3- to 4-line high) initials in blue with white tracery on burnished gold grounds with vine-leaf infill or floral motifs, each prayer begins with a decorated initial and the page is framed with illuminated bracket-borders with hairline tendrils, floral, leafy and fruit designs, 5 small and 34 large arch-topped semi-grisaille miniatures, grisaille arch-topped miniatures are set in illuminated borders on reserved grounds (unfinished?) with colored floral arrangements and colored acanthus leaves, 10 large colored miniatures, all but 8 colored miniatures with full borders (colored flowers and acanthus leaves, black ink tendrils on reserved grounds). Bound in old red velvet (rebacked and resewn; slight wear to a few miniatures (e.g. ff. 141, 155v, 168) and borders, text or initials worn on a few leaves, staining to ff.146-148, some trimmed borders, nonetheless in overall fine condition). Dimensions: 129 x 85 mm.
1. Manuscript copied and painted in or around Brussels based on script and style of miniatures (the first artist, the Master of Johannes Gielemans, was active in Brussels in the 1460s, and his main patron was a prolific historiographer from Rookloster, near Brussels). There was a second campaign of miniatures added a decade or so later, perhaps in Lille (Master of the Grisailles Fleurdelisées), when the Prayer Book seems to pass in the possession of Claude de Menostey, at the service of Charles the Bold, whose children are baptized in Aaslt. There are some clues that point to individual monasteries tied to the Devotio Moderna movement (for instance Groenendael, also near Brussels).
The book might have been copied for (and by?) Henricus Ysendijc: his name appears twice in the prayer found on fol. 186v in a prayer to the Virgin. The passage reads: “Non despicias domina me indignum famulum tuum N. Henricum Ysendijc...”; again: “Conforta me famulum tuum Henricum Ysendiic prefatum mea domina in fide catholica, in dilectione dei et proximi, in vera paciencia, in humilitate…et in omni ecclesiastico ac monastic officio…” (f. 186v). The prayers and the first illuminator suggest contacts with Augustinian houses near Brussels of the Windesheim Congregation at the centre of the Devotio Moderna movement (in particular the Rookloster, near Brussels). Might Henricus Ysendijc be associated with one of the monasteries that adhered to the Devotio Moderna? Some mistakes in Latin and the idiosyncratic placing of miniatures could indicate an amateur scribe, perhaps Ysendijc himself. Or is the name Henricus Ysendijc simply here a generic name?
2. Claude de Menostey, receiver of the artillery (contrôleur ou receveur de l’artillerie) for Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy (1470-1477). The Prayer Book contains a “livre de raison” (family notes) recording births in 1478 and 1480 (inscription cut short in the right-hand margin, with loss of some words): “Le lundi .iii.e jour du mois d’aoust .iiii.e .lxxviii. entre .xii. et une heu[re] du midi fust né Jehan de Menos[tey] mon filz baptisié aux fons saint … d’Alostz levé par Jehan abbé de …messire Jehan Dynmersel […] de Baviere et ma dame de Wacquenes (?) // Le samedi .iii.e jour du mois de fev[rier] mil .iiii. c. .iiii.xx entre neufz et d[ix] heure du soir fust née Katherine de Menostey ma fille baptizée en …eglise levée par monseigneur le vico[nte] d’Alostz, Philippe du Chigne son oncle, ma dame du Fresnoy et mad[ame] dame de Wacquenes sa tan[t]e do[nt] elle porte le nom” (f. 14).
The inscriptions record the births of Menostey’s children in Aalst respectively in 1478 (Jehan de Menostey) and 1480 (Katherine de Menostey). The quoted godparents are from families such as the Van Immerseel (Immerselle de Lières), du Fresnoy, Wacquen (the generation later, Antoine II de Bourgogne was seigneur de Wacquen (or Vacquen) and his wife, Marie de Bruan, dame de Wacquen), all important Brabant families.
Alost (Aaslt) is a city and municipality on the Dender River, 19 miles northwest from Brussels. It is located in the Flemish province of East Flanders in the Denderstreek. In 1478, the “Vicomte d’Alost” was Jean d’Immerselle (dit de Lières) (died in 1503). On the Immerselle family, see L’Espinoy, Philippe de. Recherche des antiquitez et noblesse de Flandres…, Douai, 1631.
3. Very faint inscription found on f. 234v: “Ex libris Jacobi Godsteers cancellarii et presbiteri […] ecclesie sancte marie brugis …1646.” This appears to be the ex-libris of a priest named Jacobus Godsteers (or Godsleers), attached to the church of Sainte-Marie in Bruges (Church of Our Lady, in Bruges [Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk]?).
4. An inscription in righthand margin (f. 1) reads: “H[aut] du Pré.”
5.Allan Heywood Bright (1862-1941), British Liberal Politician, son of Henry Arthur Bright and Mary Elizabeth Thompson of nearby Thingwall Hall in Knotty Ash, where a substantial library was put together over generations (Joseph Brook Yates; Henry Yates Thompson; Samuel Ashton Thompson Yates). Allan Heywood Bright added to the library of Thingwall Hall. His armorial bookplate inside upper cover, with his motto: “Post tenebras lucem.”
ff. 1-12, Calendar (entries scarce), in red and brown ink, including noteworthy saints such as Aldegonde (30 Jan.); Gertrude (17 March; Gertrude de Nivelles); Cornelius (31 March); Georges (in red, 23 April); Quentin (30 April); Germain (28 May; 31 July); Roger (3 July); Bernard (20 Aug.); Gommaire de Lierre (Gummarus was a Brabantine saint, Lierre or Lier is located in the Brabant, 11 Oct.); Remi and Bavo (1 Oct.); Gall (16 Oct.); Severin (23 Oct.); Martin (in red, 11 Nov.); Katherine (in red, 25 Nov.); Barbara (in red, 4 Dec.); Nicaise (in red, 14 Dec.); Thomas of Canterbury (Beckett) (28 Dec.);
ff. 13-16, ruled blanks;
ff. 17- 52, Prayers and hymns, including prayers to the Holy Cross; to the Trinity; attributed to Saint Augustine (ff. 17; 42v): beginning with first prayer, Oratio sancti Augustini, incipit, “Deus propicius esto michi peccatori…”; Oracio private, incipit, “Domine deus saboath…”; rubric (f. 31), Ad sanctam crucem. Oracio;
ff. 52v-63, Prayers to the Holy parts of the body of Christ, attributed to Saint Bernard, long rubric, Hanc orationem subscriptam composuit beatus bernardus quam omni feria sexta cum effusione lacrimarum…; first prayer to the wounds of the Holy feet (De vulneribus pedum); prayer to the Holy knees (De genibus sanctissimis); prayer to the Holy hands (De manibus sanctissimis); prayer to the side wound (De latere sanctissimo); prayer to the Holy chest (De pectore sanctissimo); prayer to the Sacred Heart (De corde sanctissimo); prayer to the Holy head (De sanctissimo capite);
ff. 63-65, Prayer on the wounds of Christ and indulgences granted by Pope Benedict XII, rubric, Benedictus papa .xii. concessit devote dicenti hanc orationem tot dies indulgenciarum quot fuerit vulnera in Christo;
ff. 65v-85v, Prayers, including to the Holy Trinity, to receive sacraments (f. 81v, 82v, 84);
ff. 86v-88v, Prayers against various tribulations, including poverty, infirmity, imprisonment etc., long rubric, Si quis habens tribulationem vel paupertatem seu infirmitatem aut sit detentus in ira dei vel in carcere…;
ff. 89-92, Prayer attributed to Saint Augustine, rubric, Istam orationem composuit eciam beatus augustinus…;
ff. 93-97, Prayer (suffrage) to Saint John the Baptist
ff. 97-104, Prayers, rubrics, Oratio valde devote; Alia oracio valde devote;
ff. 104-106v, Prayer to the Holy Sacrament;
ff. 107-108v, blank ruled leaves;
ff. 109-120, Prayer to be said by a recluse woman (sister); foundation of a monastery for sisters near a river following a vision by a recluse sister in the woods; prayers preceded by a very long rubric (ff. 109-112v), “Femina quondam solitaria et reclusa numerum vulnerum Christi scire cupiens…”; “Apud supradictam feminam quidem solitaries in eodem nemore morabatur…Abbatissa vero nunciavit sororibus et hanc orationem frequentanda mandavit…Post hec idem solitaries quedam die cum quievit raptus est in visu in campum in quo fluvius dilectabilis fuit…aderant eciam iuxta fluvium predicte sorores conventus…” (ff. 111-111v);
ff. 120-126, Prayer to Our Father, Our Son and the Holy Spirit, rubric, Incipit oratio ad patrem et filium et spiritum sanctum quam consuluit beatam augustinus dictante angelo…;
ff. 126-128v, Prayers to the Image of Christ and to the Individual Wounds of Christ;
ff. 128v-131, Prayer on the 21 Golden Words pronounced by Christ during his Passion, rubric, Oratio de .xxxi. aureis verbis a domino in sua passione dictis… ;
ff. 131v-133, Prayers, including a suffrage to Saint Bernardinus, long rubric, Et notandum quod hec oratio studiosissime debet investigari considerari et intelligi… ; other rubrics, Sequitur oratio ad proprium angelum; Comemoratio beati Bernardini (incomplete? ends f. 133: “[…] a peccatorum languoribus et infimitatibus liberemur…”);
f. 134, blank ruled leaf;
ff. 135-135v, Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel;
f. 135v, Prayer to Saint Gabriel, missing 1 or 2 leaves; prayer ends incomplete and accompanying miniature wanting;
ff. 136-138, Prayer to All Saints (?), missing beginning of text, but miniature representing All Saints found on f. 136;
ff. 139-140v, Prayer to Saint Peter;
ff. 140v-141v, Prayer to Saint Paul;
ff. 141v-142, Prayer to Saint Andrew;
ff. 143-144v, Prayer to Saint John the Evangelist;
ff. 145v-146v, Prayer to Saint James Apostle;
ff. 146v-147v, Prayer to Saint Matthew;
ff. 147v-149, Prayer to Saint Thomas;
ff. 149-150, Prayer to Saint James the Minor;
f. 150v, Prayer to Saint Simon;
ff. 150v-152v, Prayer to Saint Jude Apostle;
ff. 152v-155, Fifteen Gradual psalms attributed to Saint Jerome [accompanied by Papal indulgences of Pope Urbanus V (1310-1370)];
ff. 155-157, Prayer to the Cross;
ff. 157-159v, Prayer to Saint Sebastian;
ff. 159v-162, Prayer to Saint Erasmus;
ff. 162-163v, Prayer to Saint Adrian;
ff. 163v-164v, Prayer to Saint Anne;
ff. 164v-165v, Prayer to Saint Anthony;
ff. 165v-167, Prayer to Saint Nicholas;
ff. 167v-169v, Prayer to Saint Catherine;
ff. 169v-172, Prayer to Saint Barbara;
ff. 173-173v, Prayer to Saint Apollonia;
ff. 173v-175v, Prayer to Saint Christopher;
f. 176, blank leaf (unruled);
ff. 176v-179, Confession attributed to Arnoldus of Rotterdam, rubric, Confessio generalis sumpta ex confessionali magistri arnoldi de Rotterdam decretorum doctoris canonici regularis professi in monasterio viridisvallis; incipit, “Omnipotens et misericordissime deus amator homini…”;
Confession excerpted from a General confession attributed to Arnold of Rotterdam (van Geilhoven, d.1442), Austin canon regular at Groenendael southeast of Brussels. The independent house of Augustinian canons at Groenendael Priory (“viridisvallis” or "green valley") was absorbed into the Windesheim congregation of the Devotio Moderna in 1413. Groenendael lost the title of monastery and became a priory, which was rebuilt and enlarged between 1450 and 1500.
ff. 179- [179v, blank]-180-183, Prayers to the Virgin;
f. 183v, blank unruled leaf;
ff. 184-188, Prayer to be said before Death, rubric, Hanc orationem cotidie…vigili dicens habebit ante obitum suum beatam virginem presentem;
f. 188, Prayer to the Virgin, attributed to Saint Bernard (wanting ending; unfinished copy, with blank ruled leaf on f. 188v);
f. 188v, blank ruled leaf;
ff. 189v-190v, Prayer of Saint Ambrose before Mass, rubric, Oracio sancti ambrosii pro comunicatione (for “communione”?);
f. 191, blank ruled leaf;
ff. 191v-192, Prayer of Saint Bernard on the third sermon on Advent;
ff. 192-[192v]-193-193v, Prayer to the Virgin, attributed to Jordan of Quedlinburg, Augustinian Friar, rubric, Oratio magistri Jordani ordo augustinus…; incipit, “Ave rosa sine spinis…”;
ff. 193v-197v, Prayers to the Virgin;
ff. 197v-205v, Prayer attributed to Saint Bernard, rubric, Oracio sequens fuit data beato abbati ab angelo…;
ff. 205v-209, Prayer to be said each day for protection against the devil;
ff. 209-220, Salutations to the Virgin;
ff. 221-233v, Prayer to the Virgin;
ff. 234-234v, Salve regina.
This manuscript is not a Book of Hours properly speaking since it does not contain the Office of the Virgin, nor the Office of the Dead. It does open however with a Calendar, much like a traditional Book of Hours. Rather it is a Prayer Book that deserves special attention because it contains a highly original array of prayers and devotions, with groupings around themes such as the sufferings of Christ, invocations for protection against a great variety of woes, the Virgin, and a large number of suffrages to saints. The present book is clearly a very individual compilation of devotions and prayers, some unusual or in significantly variant forms, often with lengthy rubrics to elucidate their contemporary significance. A number of references are to women (“Femina quondam solitaria et reclusa …”), but one should remember that the Devotio Moderna movement was as much dedicated to feminine and masculine spiritual renewal.
The manuscript appears to have been compiled in Belgium, likely near Brussels, in an environment clearly favorable to the spiritual and devotional movement known as the “Devotio Moderna.” The “Modern Devotion” was a movement for religious reform, calling for apostolic renewal through the rediscovery of genuine pious practices such as humility, obedience and simplicity of life. It began in the late fourteenth-century, largely through the work of Gerard Groote (1340-1384), and flourished in the Low Countries and Germany in the fifteenth century. The origins of the movement probably go back to the Congregation of Windesheim, though it has so far proved elusive to locate precise origin of the movement. Devotio Moderna began as a lay movement: around 1374 Groote turned his parental house in Deventer into a hostel for poor women who wished to serve God. Though similar to beguine houses, this hostel, and later communities of what came to be called the “Sisters of the Common Life,” were freer in structure than the beguines and kept no private property. The “Brethren of the Common Life” would soon follow. Groote paid a visit to the mystic John Ruysbroeck, prior of the Augustinian canons at Groenendaal near Brussels: during this visit was formed Groote's attraction for the rule and life of the Augustinian canons. Groote resolved to place this new institute under the spiritual guidance of the canons regular. The execution of this measure was left by Gerard Groote, at his death, to his disciple, Florentius Radwyn. The foundation of the first house was at Windesheim, near Zwolle. This became the mother-house of the congregation, which, only sixty years after the death of Groote, possessed in Belgium alone more than eighty monasteries. At the close of his life he was asked by some of the clerics who attached themselves to him to form them into a religious order and Groote resolved that they should be Canons Regular of St. Augustine. The present Prayer Book seems to be associated with one of the Belgian houses created in the fifteenth century, perhaps Rookloster (because of the first artist of the colored miniatures, known to have illustrated manuscripts tied to Rookloster), but perhaps also to Groenendael, also near Brussels, with an excerpt from a Confession attributed to Arnold of Rotterdam, an Austin canon regular at Groenendael
The spiritual life of the Devotio Moderna followers was marked by focus on inner devotions and frequent short periods of meditation. The writings of the Devotio Moderna followers such as Gerard of Zutphen and Jan Mombaer, as well as Groote introduced the tradition of "methodical prayer" which arranged exercises day by day and week by week. The present Prayer Book, with a vast array of different prayers and devotions, reflects well the frequency of devotions to be conducted during a given day. Many of these prayers and texts for devotional exercises were copied in books called “rapiarium,” which were personal collections, sometimes assembled from scraps of parchment, holding short sentences or paragraphs from various works, which were used as personal spiritual tools that enabled their creator to internalize and memorize his/or her devotions. Although the present manuscript is not an example of a “rapiarius” (a good example is described on this site www.textmanuscripts.com: TM 375), it certainly conveys the impression of a compilation, more or less ordered and constructed, around carefully selected devotions. In addition, our Prayer Book clearly conveys the centrality of Augustinian spirituality, with a non-negligible number of devotions and prayers attributed to Augustine (e.g. ff. 17, 89), or prayers presenting excerpts and Augustinian overtones, in keeping with the choice of the Congregation of Windesheim to adopt the habit and rule of St-Augustine. Another author that profoundly influenced the Devotio Moderna movement was St. Bernard. The writings of the Cistercian Father, with their focus on monastic reform, a return to earlier purity, and mystical union with God, were very popular among the writers of the Modern Devotion. It is thus not surprising that a number of prayers are here attributed to Bernard (e.g. ff. 52v, 188, 191v, 197v).
The subjects of the 10 large colored miniatures are as follows:
f. 139, St. Peter;
f. 141, St. Paul;
f. 142, St. Andrew;
f. 142v, St. John the Evangelist;
f. 145, St. James;
f. 147, St. Matthew;
f. 148, St. Thomas;
f. 149v, St. James the Less;
f. 150, St. Bartholomew;
f. 151, St. Simon Zelotes.
There are 34 large semi-grisaille miniatures:
f. 30v, Cross on an altar;
f. 36, Trinity;
f. 42, Scribe at a desk;
f. 49v, Empty Cross in a landscape;
f. 64, Pope Benedict XII at prayer;
f. 65, Man praying before an image of the Trinity;
f. 86, Pietà;
f. 92v, St. John the Baptist;
f. 104v, Elevation of the Host;
f. 133v, St. Bernardino;
f.134v, St. Michael;
f. 136, St. Ursula and her companions before the Pope;
f. 138v, Christ washing the feet of the Apostles;
f. 153, St. Jerome;
f. 158, St. Sebastian;
f. 160, St. Erasmus;
f.162v, St. Adrian;
f. 164, St. Anne holding the Virgin and Child;
f. 165, St. Anthony Abbot;
f. 166, St. Nicholas;
f. 168, St. Catherine;
f. 170, St. Barbara;
f. 173v, St. Apollonia;
f. 174, St. Christopher;
f. 189, Monstrance on an altar;
f. 194, Presentation in the Temple;
f. 196v, Virgin standing with the suckling Child;
f. 198, Virgin seated with a book; Child (Jesus grown child?) in the window;
f. 199, Virgin restraining the Child;
f. 203v, Virgin suckling the Child;
f. 206, Virgin seated with the Child standing;
f. 209v, Annunciation;
f. 220v, Virgin under a baldachin.
The subjects of the five small semi-grisaille miniatures are:
f.53, Christ holding the instruments of the Passion (rubric, De vulneribus pedum);
f. 54v, Christ holding the instruments of the Passion (rubric, De genubiis sanctissime);
f. 56, Christ holding the instruments of the Passion (rubric, De minibus sanctissimis);
f. 57v, Christ holding the instruments of the Passion (rubric, De latere sanctissimo);
f. 61v, Christ holding the instruments of the Passion (rubric, De sanctissimo capite).
This manuscripts contains a very large number of miniatures, colored or semi-grisaille by two distinct hands.
1. The Master of Johannes Gielemans (miniatures, ff. 139-151)
The colored miniatures of the Apostles (found on ff. 139-151, probably lacking St. Philip), present the stylistic traits of the Master of Johannes Gielemans, named from a collection of Brabantine saints’ lives written in Latin between 1471 and 1487 by Johannes Gielemans (1427-1487), an Augustinian canon (“sous-prieur”) at Rookloster outside Brussels, town of Oudergem (Vienna, ÖNB cod. s.n 12706-12707). Gielemans’ hagiographical and historiographical compilations reserved an important number of lives to female Brabant saints, and reflect the Devotio Moderna related concerns of the author. Johannes Gielemans was concerned with the decline of spirituality at Rookloster and in Brabant in general: he undertook his oeuvre in order to gather as many examples of sainthood. With over 2700 folios of copied text, his oeuvre became the most important compiler of saints’ lives at the end of the Middle Ages. This “collectio gielemanniana” comprises four works, the Sanctilogium, the Agyologus Brabantinorum, the Novale Sanctorum and the Hystoriologus Brabantinorum (on Jean Gielemans, see the important study by Hazebrouck-Souche, 2007). On the manuscripts that contain works by Jean Gielemans, see Hazebrouck-Souche, 2007, pp. 35-79: “Les manuscrits de Jean Gielemans.” Hazebrouck-Souche considers all the extant codices in Vienna as certainly autograph.
The manuscripts copied by Johannes Gielemans contain miniatures painted by an artist named “Master of Johannes Gielemans,” a painter active in Brussels and possibly also Ghent during the third and fourth quarters of the fifteenth century. The oeuvre of this painter is considerably larger than has been recognized previously and includes works that have been given different names of convenience in previous scholarship.
Previously known as the “Master of Fernando de Lucena” after a manuscript of the French translation of a Spanish text by Juan Rodriguez de la Camara, prepared by Fernando de Lucena for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, now in Brussels (Brussels, BR, MS 10778; see Smeyers, 1999, pp. 326-327; Bousmanne, Johan and van Hoorebeeck, 2003, pp. 189-192). The same painter received a different name when he was associated with the above-mentioned collections of Brabantine saints’ lives and history by Johannes Gielemans (see Bousmanne and Delcourt, 2011, pp. 202-203; see also Pächt and Thoss, 1990). The borders around the colored miniatures and on text pages throughout the book are probably by the same hand as the more elaborate borders in a collection of treatises illuminated by the Master between 1450 and 1461 (New York Public Library, Spencer 17, see J.J.G. Alexander, J.M. Marrow et al., The Splendor of the Word, 2006, pp. 407-412).
There is a description of the style and other codices painted by this artist by J. Marrow: “Among the characteristic features of works by this painter […] are the distinctive curved and pointed small plants, usually touched or highlighted in yellow or gold, that appear in landscape miniatures. Other works partially or wholly in the style of the Master of Johannes Gielemans include the Charter of the Riches-Claires of Brussels, dated 1475, an imposing copy of the Arbre des batailles of Honoré Bouvet (alias Bonet) made for the Connétable Louis de Luxembourg (1418-1475) in Chantilly, the Missal of Claudio Villa in Turin, and Books of Hours in Madrid, Budapest, London (Christie’s), New York, Brussels, Beloeil, Paris, Liège. The Master of Johannes Gielemans employs dense colors and models many faces with blue-gray tones; his drapery is heavy and angular; he favors crowded interiors and landscape settings, where many elements compete for the viewer’s visual attention. His brushwork and modeling are broad, rather than refined, and invest his miniatures with a certain rustic vitality. He may well have known the works of such contemporary Burgundian courtly miniaturists as the master of the Girart de Roussillon, Lieven van Lathem, and Loyset Liédet, but he does not seem to be a mere imitator or follower of any of these better-known painters” (J.J.G. Alexander, J.M. Marrow et al., The Splendor of the Word, 2006, pp. 410-411).
2. The Master of the Grisailles Fleurdelisées and workshop (all other miniatures)
Although the semi-grisaille miniatures are integral, they seem to have been painted in a later campaign, on leaves left blank, some ruled, others unruled. Most have borders in keeping with those associated with the Gielemans Master but the miniature depicting a “Scribe at his desk” (f. 42) has a characteristic gold frame decorated with fleur-de-lys, the hallmark of the Master of the Grisailles Fleurdelisées, active in Lille c.1460-1480 for bibliophiles like Louis of Gruuthuse.
The oeuvre of the Master of the Grisailles Fleurdelisées and workshop has not yet been assembled around one specific manuscript and certainly presents some stylistic diversity (Bousmanne and Delcourt pp. 372-377; I. Hans Collas and P. Schandel, Manuscrits enluminés des anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux, 1, Manuscrits de Louis de Bruges, 2009, pp. 164-173). At least two hands can be discerned in this Prayer Book: the very accomplished hand responsible for the miniature on f. 42 (miniature with the characteristic fleurdelisé border) and the more robust hand of miniatures such as the one found on f. 86.
If one of the early owners of this Prayer Book was indeed Claude de Menostey, the Receiver of the Artillery might well have turned to Lille, the centre of the Burgundian financial administration, to have the manuscript completed in a slightly later campaign of illumination. Possibly shown at work on f. 42 (?), de Menostey commissioned and owned a book that brought together work by two talented illuminators whose significance is only now emerging. This devotional book is an important addition to the largely secular works attributed to both Masters and its range of miniatures may help to distinguish the artists from associates.
Alexander, J.J.G., James H. Marrow & Lucy Freeman Sandler (with the assistance of Elisabeth Moodey and Todor T. Petev), The Splendor of the Word. Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at the New York Public Library, exhib. cat., New York-London-Turnhout 2005, no. 96.
Bousmanne, B., F. Johan and C. van Hoorebeeck ed. La librairie des ducs de Bourgogne. Manuscrits conservés à la Bibliothèque royale de Bruxelles, vol. 2 : textes didactiques, Turhout, Brepols, 2003.
Bousmanne B. and T. Delcourt dir., Miniatures flamandes 1404-1482, Paris et Bruxelles, 2011.
Hans Collas I. and P. Schandel, Manuscrits enluminés des anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux, 1, Manuscrits de Louis de Bruges, Turnhout, 2009.
Hazebrouck-Souche, V. Spiritualité, sainteté et patriotisme : glorification du Brabant dans l’œuvre hagiographique de Jean Gielemans (1427-1487), Turnhout, Brepols, 2007.
Pächt, O. and D. Thoss, Flämische Schule, II, 2 vol., Vienna, 1990.
Smeyers, M. Flemish Miniatures from the 8th to the mid-16th century: The Medieval World on Parchment, translated by Karen Boowen and Dirk Imhof, Turnhout, Brepols, 1999.
Van Engen, John H. Sisters and Brothers of the Common Life: the Devotio Moderna and the World of the Later Middle Ages, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.
On the Augustinian Canons:
On Rookloster (Rouge-Cloître):