6016. Book of Hours dated 1449 probably Florence

BOOK OF HOURS, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum. Northern Italy (most probably Florence), signed by scribe Egidius Theonicus and dated 1449.

170 leaves (plus 3 original endleaves at back reused from a thirteenth-century manuscript, and 1 modern paper endleaf), wanting single leaves from the second, seventh and sixteenth gatherings, else complete, collation: i12, ii9 (wanting first leaf), iii-vii10, viii4, ix-xv10, xvi7 (wanting last leaf), xvii8, xviii10, xix6, single column, 13 lines of an Italian late gothic bookhand, paragraph marks in blue, rubrics in red, small initials in red or blue with contrasting penwork, ten larger initials in purple, enclosing sprays of curled acanthus leaves and with others reaching into margins and terminating in bezants and gold seedpods (three of these historiated and with a skull, the Cross in liquid gold, and the head of David as a youthful and clean shaven man), seventeenth- or eighteenth-century additions to Calendar recording ownership by "Frater Gregorius confessor" and "sora gabriella", and an endleaf now reused as front pastedown with a longer inscription in Italian recording the gift of the book in Perugia in 1841 by "Sig. Avo: Giuseppe Senese" to "C. G. de Pranci", marks to endleaves at back from three oval items (perhaps metallic devotional objects like pilgrim badges) which have left ground-gold residue on those leaves, slight flaking of ink and paint from a few leaves, trimmed at edges with some effect to border decoration, small spots, else in good condition.
Binding of twentieth-century tooled brown leather, upper cover with gilt initials S.G. and date 1499, spine in compartments with blindtooled decor, in fitted beige cloth-covered case. Dimensions of leaves: 100x61 mm.

This charming pocket-sized volume is signed and dated by its scribe Egidius Theonicus on fol. 74v (following the Hours of the Virgin: "Egidius theonicus scripsit 1449"), and references to Florence in the Calendar establish that he most probably worked in that city. The presence of the antiphon and prayers to St. Francis on fols. 98r-99v probably indicate that it was produced for a Franciscan there, perhaps for an inmate of the convent of San Croce (founded in early thirteenth century, suppressed in early nineteenth century and their properties and library dispersed in 1868).
The volume comprises: a Calendar (fol. 1r); the Hours of the Virgin (fol. 13r); devotions to the Virgin and prayers (fol. 76r); the Office of the Dead (fol. 100r); the Seven Penitential Psalms (fol. 147r) followed by a Litany and further prayers.

We would like to thank Dr. Timothy Bolton for his cataloguing of the present lot.

Provenance: From the library of Ove Hassler (1904-87), Dean in Linköping, Sweden, and his son, Eivind Hassler (1939-2009)