Fauquier Book of Hours, use of Besançon

Master of Walters 219 and an artist from the circle of the Master of the Collins Hours

Illuminated manuscript on vellum 18 x 13 cm (7 x 5.1 in.) Besançon - circa 1420-1440

The Fauquier Book of Hours only recently resurfaced after having disappeared from the public eye for more than 50 years. The manuscript is rich in iconography and subtle in colours, with 13 miniatures of exceptional quality, all of which showcase their creators’ extraordinary storytelling abilities.

It was a commission for a gentleman living in the diocese of Besançon, likely a member of the family Fau(l)quier of Poligny. The Master of Walters 219 contributed two miniatures to this manuscript, while the second master, whose style points to Amiens, was responsible for the remaining eleven images. The style of the first illuminator, the Master of W. 219, likely an itinerant painter who came from Lombardy, is marked by ingenuous scenes that are rich in Italianisms and occupied by many small characters. He worked in the context of some of the best of French and Netherlandish traditions, where he may also have met the second illuminator.

Likely made for a man, possibly a member of the family Fau(l)quier of Poligny: coat of arms (f. 22r, incipit Hours of the Virgin, added over initial) d’azur à trois faux d’argent, emmanchées d’or le fer, posées 2 et 1, le deux du chef affrontées; A second coat of arms on f. 122r (lower border): D’azur au rencontre de boeuf d’or, allumé de gueules à la bordure parti d’azur et de gueules (?) seems contemporary, but remains unidentified (perhaps referring to Bouveret, Bouverot or Bouvret?); According to a note in pencil (f. 140v), part of the collection Leander van Ess, Darmstadt (but unidentified in the 1823 catalogue Sammlung und Verzeichnis…), sold in 1824 to; Collection Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872, f. 4r), his ms. 4795; Phillipps’ sale, Sotheby’s, 1 July 1946, lot 20, among ‘incerti’ as Missale, in Phillipps’ catalogue (Munby, p. 80). His coat of arms in a green laurel wreath (f. 4r): d’azur, au lion d’or rampant contre un montagne d’argent; Sir Thomas Barlow, G.B.E. (d. 1964); sale, Sotheby’s 16 June 1952, lot 35; offered by William H. Robinson Ltd., Rare Books and Manuscripts, cat. 83, 1953, pp. 188-90; Dawson, William & Sons, 1959, Cat. 102, lot 14; Sotheby's 18 June 1962, lot 122, sale Charles Traylen sold to an Italian collector; Private collection Switzerland (bought from Lardanchet 1964, lot 140; not seen in public since)


Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG

"Books, Maps and Manuscripts"

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