The Hours of Jean de Montauban

Bibliothèque des Champs Libres / Rennes Métropole




✵ Shelfmark: Ms 1834
✵ Date: c. 1430-1440
✵ Provenance: France, western France or Brittany
✵ Dimensions: ± 230 × 160 mm
✵ Artist: Master of the Jean de Montauban Hours and at least two other artists
✵ 258 pages, 254 miniatures (37 full page)
✵ Bound in gold-tooled, red leather
✵ Full-colour commentary volume written by internationally acclaimed experts

Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.

✵ Shelfmark: Ms 1834
✵ Date: c. 1430-1440
✵ Provenance: France, western France or Brittany
✵ Dimensions: ± 230 × 160 mm
✵ Artist: Master of the Jean de Montauban Hours and at least two other artists
✵ 258 pages, 254 miniatures (37 full page)
✵ Bound in gold-tooled, red leather
✵ Full-colour commentary volume written by internationally acclaimed experts

Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.



Description

The Hours of Jean de Montauban Bibliothèque des Champs Libres / Rennes Métropole


This book of hours is undoubtedly one of the most original and fascinating works of Breton manuscript illumination. Beginning with the very first folio, the start of the calendar section, readers are immediately enraptured by its vivid colours embellished with gold and its iconography, and the section containing the Hours of the Virgin leaves absolutely no doubt that this book of hours is truly exceptional!

Where else can such a long cycle about the tribulations of Adam and Eve be found? This is possibly the earliest and only illustrated Vita Adae et Evae in a book of this genre.

But this is not the only iconographic surprise: its 110 miniatures, including 37 which are full page, feature scenes more typical of secular books, such as the battle between Vices depicted as devils and Virtues in the form of maidens (f. 76), or apocryphal texts, such as the sacrilegious Jews attending the funeral of the Virgin (f. 61), and even the curious illustration of Mont-Saint-Michel on the page about the archangel Michael (f. 121).

The patron of this codex was probably, like all the noblemen of that period, a keen hunter, hence the small, unusual marginal scenes enlivening its pages. The reason for the devil’s ubiquity in this manuscript is, however, less obvious. Perhaps the owner of this book of hours needed reminders about the danger of succumbing to the temptations lurking around every corner…


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