As each day passes it seems, in a struggle for ‘new and better’ modes of communication, speed outstrips content, perhaps making both content and time rarer. My Blog promises to be slow, but still iI endevour to make additions as soon as new old books arrive.  In December 2012 with the closing of the store in Harvard Square, it has been hard to share the new books which arrive with more than a few customer, So I’ve decided to use this blog as a way to make it easy to see what is coming in and going out.

Today I’ll begin with a great Little Book of Hours.Image

155G                            Book of hours in Dutch 


((Diocese of ) Utrecht, ca. 1420-1430                      $42,000


Thick Octavo on vellum, 108 X 64 mm. 

243 Leaves on vellum plus five leaves of blanks. There are six major initials and over 30 two to 4 line initials and numerous red and blue   This manuscript is bound in sixteenth century full calf.  


 Fol. 1r-12v Calendar of the Diocese of Utrecht (one leaf,2 pp., per month)

 Fol. 13r Blank

Fol. 13v Prayer in the same hand that wrote the notes on fol. 243, in a corse Hybrida libris hand, written around a diamond shaped engraving (55 X 48mm) of the crowned Mary holding the Christ Child. Inc.:  “O geode heren Here jhesus/ laet uwen verduldigen doot/ sijn mijn troost in alre not…”

Fol. 14r-61r  Getijden van O.L.V. (Hours of the Virgin)
Fol. 14r has a decorated inital, blue heightened with wight on burnished gold with pink stems with red and white dits (flowers) with marginal decoration (4 margins: left a gold/red stave, botton  a gold spacer with red and blue stems, with white,redblue and gold dits, with a blue dragon sitting on a slender column, In the right margin there is foliage and flowers).

Fol. 61r-91v  Getijden onzer Vrouwen liden ( Hours of Mary s Suffering)
Fol. 61v : Decorated inital,pink highlighted with white on burnished gold with pink stem with red and white dots, and masrginal decoration( left gold/blue stave and Bottom gold with red and blue stems with white, pink and blue trifolds).

Fol. 91v-117r Getijden van de Eeuwige Wijsheid (Hours of Eternal Wisdom).
Fol. 92v:  Historiated inital: a bule griffin, Highlighted with white, in the shape of a  S  on burnished gold; Marginal decoration of foliage with pink,white and gold trifolds.

Fol. 117r  Getijen vanden Heilighen cruce, mit  lessen (Hours of the Cross)
Fol. 117v: decorated inital in pink highlighted with white on burnished gold with blue stems and red,blue and white trifolds; the margins are decorated with foliage in pink,white and gold trifolds with a green crane in the left margin.

Fol. 145r-175r  Getijden van de Heilighen Gheest ( Hours of the Holy Ghost)
Fol. 145r Large decorated initial in pink, with pink stems with red,blue and white trifolds, with marginal decoration of foliage with pink,white and gold trifold.

Fol.175r-197v De zeven Psalmen ( The Seven penitential Psalms)
Fol. 175r Large decorated innital in blue highlighted with white on brunished gold woith blue stems with red and white dots, the bottom and right margins are decorated with foliage with red and gold trifolds, the right margin has a gold stave with blue stem and red,white and gold dots.

Fol. 197v-243r  Die Vigilie van ix lessen. 
Fol. 197v: Drcorated inital, pink Highlighted with white on burnished gold with blue stems and blue and white dots. The margin is decorated with foliage with red,white and gold trifolds.

Written in a clear Textualis Libraria.
Illumination: At the begining of each of the six sections of the text (Five Hours and Seven penitential Psalms and the Vigile):  Five decorated and historiated (with a griffin) initals (5-7 lines), blue or pink,heightened with white and with blue or pink stems, most have characteristic dots (see text above and image below). The marginal decoration is also very characteristic with spaces of burnished gold with red and blue stems with the same white dots or foliage or trifolds; with two animals in the margin; a dragon (a so-called  Utrecht-Dragon  characteristic for manuscript illumination from Utrecht. in the right margin of fol.14r, and a crane in the left margin of fol.117v. There are alternating blue and red lombasrds (some duplex) with contrasting red and blue pen work sprouting into the margins.

This lovely book is bound in sixteenth-century calf, spine gilt in compartments with later marbled end papers.


     (1) Nies Wybrants dochter, sister living in the Catharijne convent (of the Tertiarisse[following the Third rule of St. Francis] in Hoorn (in the north of Holland). In a slightly later hand,probably of the first owner, is written on fol. 243r  dit boec te hoert te hoern tot sinte katherinen convent”  and on fol. 243v the same hands has written ” Item sinte katherinen convent binnen hoern is gesticht int jaer ond heren  m ccc ende xlii (1342) (op de octave onser vrouwen gheboert [15 August] is den kerc ended at hoghe outaer ghewyt) Item sinte katherinen kerc inj hoern ended at hoghe outaer is ghewyt int jaer ons here mcccc hondert end xii [1412]. Item dit boeck hoert toe nies wybrants dochter van hoern.”
     (2) Mr P. Clarke, Sept 1828 (on verso of fly leaf)

     (3) The Congregational Library Boston.

The Catharina monastery (convent)  was founded in the middle of the fourteenth century.  The conventexisted until 1566 when the remaining sisters joined the St. Geerten monastery. According to Velius, the historiographer of Hoorn, the Catharijne convent was the wealthiest monastery in Hoorn.