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Maker(s) &

, production, Emilia-Romagna, Parma, probably Parma


illuminated manuscript


book of hours; type of text
use of Rome; liturgical use


circa 1450 circa 1460


fifteenth century, third quarter


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i parchment flyleaf + 140 fols. + i parchment flyleaf, 119 x 85 mm (66 x 54 mm), 15 long lines, ruled in plummet, catchwords

BINDING: Nineteenth century, red velvet over pasteboards.

fols. 1r-12v Calendar
fols. 13r-55v Hours of the Virgin
fols. 55v-62v Psalms for the Office of the Virgin on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays
fols. 63r-70v Office of the Virgin for Advent and from Christmas to the Purification
fols. 71v-91v Penitential Psalms
fols. 93r-125r Office of the Dead
fols. 125v-126v Hymn to the Virgin in Italian, Ave de celi imperatrice sancta
fols. 127r-130v Hours of the Cross
fols. 131r-133v Office of St Catherine
fols. 134r-140v Prayer to the Virgin, Domina mea sancta Maria perpetua virgo

DECORATION: Eleven historiated initials on gold grounds with elaborate full or partial borders incorporating foliage coils, flowers, putti, human figures, some as busts, birds and gold balls: fol. 13r Hours of the Virgin, Matins, [D, 8 ll.] Seated Virgin and Child, the Child holding a bird, with a wide full border incorporating putti, birds, peacocks, a three-quarter length Annunciation, set in foliage coils of red, blue and green with gold balls; fol. 22r Lauds, [D, 6 ll.] Half-length saint holding a stone and a woman in a red robe; fol. 33r Prime, [D, 6 ll.] Bust of a prophet; fol. 37r Terce, [D, 6 ll.] Bust of a saint; fol. 40r Sext, [D, 6 ll.] Bust of a saint; fol. 43r None, [D, 6 ll.] Bust of a saint, with a half-length bishop and two half-length saints in the border; fol. 46r Vespers, [D, 6 ll.] Bust of a saint; fol. 52r Compline, [C, 6 ll.] Bearded man pointing upwards; fol. 71r Penitential Psalms, [D, 6 ll.] David kneeling in prayer in a landscape, with a very wide full border containing a bearded man praying, a fashionably dressed youth wearing a hat, the apostles at Pentecost, three half-length saints, the central one flanked by peacocks, and five small figures in medallions; fol. 93r Office of the Dead, [D, 6 ll.] Man lying on a bier, with a partial border, very wide at the bottom, containing a kneeling man in a brown habit watched by another man, behind whom stands an angel; fol. 127r, Hours of the Cross, [D, 6 ll.] Green cross on a green ground.

ORNAMENTATION: Foliage initial [C, 6 ll.] with a full acanthus and floral border for the Office of St Catherine (fol. 131r); alternate gold and blue initials [2 lll.] with violet or red pen flourishing.


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




presented; 1933; Aaron de Pass, Alfred


Alfred Aaron de Pass (1861-1952), who presented it to the Museum in 1933 in memory of his son, Crispin (Trinity Hall), who was killed in WWI in 1918 (bookplate inside upper cover).


Aaron de Pass, Alfred; previous owner


Wormald, Giles and Baroffio's suggestion of a Verona provenance as an alternative to Parma is not supported by the textual evidence. The Calendar contains local saints of Emilia: St Prosper (25 June, relics at Reggio-Emilia), St Herculanus (5 Sept., relics at Parma), St Domninus (9 Oct., relics at Borgo San Donnino, Fidenza, west of Parma), and St Moderanus (22 Oct., relics at Berceto, south of Parma). The Litany contains no characteristic local saints. The evidence from the Calendar is supported by the ornament, which, although of higher quality, finds close parallels in the heavy decorative borders of foliage coils populated by putti, human figures and birds in two Parma Graduals dated 1458 (Parma, Santa Annunziata, Graduale T and Graduale R; Parma 1994, 96-8, nos. 2-3, figs. 1-13, 38-54; Zanichelli 2000). Zanichelli has identified a group of manuscripts by the scribe Johannes Coppo di Prusia which have this form of ornament. These wide borders, populated with putti, birds and animals, though of a distinctively different character, bear some similarity to the borders painted by Belbello da Pavia in the Visconti Hours (Kirsch and Meiss 1972). Their origins may be in manuscripts made in Milan or Pavia c.1425-1450, such as a Breviary made for the Humiliati of Milan in 1443 (Vatican City, BAV, MS Vat. lat. 9217; O'Brien 1993, 156, fig. 11). The figure style is characterised by soft faces and draperies reminiscent of the International Gothic in Lombardy, as exemplified by the work of Michelino da Besozzo. The elegantly dressed youth on fol. 71r parallels figures in the work of Bonifacio Bembo and on the Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards of the late 1440s and 1450s (Bergamo, Accademia Carrara and New York, Morgan Library, MS M. 630; Dummett 1986; Bandera 1999). From fol. 131 to the end of the manuscript the leaves have been damaged by water.


secundo folio; fol. 14r; omnes deos


Splendours of Italian Illumination: Romanesque - Gothic - Renaissance. 1989 - 1990
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Notes: unpublished handlist of an exhibition held in the Adeane gallery, October 1989 - February 1990
Catalogue number: 50


Wormald, Francis. Giles, Phyllis M.. 1982. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Additional Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Musuem Acquired between 1895-1979 (excluding the McClean Collection).England: Cambridge University Pressp. p. 333-5

Baroffio, G.. 1999. Iter Liturgicum Italicum.Padua: p. 42

Wormald, Francis. 1952. English Drawings of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries.London:
p. 309, no. 133


Object Number: MS 339
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 179713; input: 2011-02-10; modified: 2012-08-29)


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