Bibliotheque nationale de France - Latin 1173

From the Bibliothèque nationale de France comes Latin 1173, the Hours of Charles d’Angoulême, made in France in the Late 15th C. Charles was the father of King François I(r. 1515-1547), and is identified by his arms on f.53r. The Hours are Use of Paris, but the calendar has not been localized.

Most of the literature on this MS is not focused on the text at all, but either the miniatures. Many of these are originals by Robinet Testard, but several are actually prints by Israel van Meckenem (signed IM), which have been colored and embellished by Testard. The calendar is populated with quite distinct illustrations. The labors of the month are unusual and 9 of the KL initials are formed by humans, often in brown/blue clothing, contorted and posing with strange beasts. May (f.3r below) is a representative example, with the woman seemingly unconcerned by the dragon attacking her to form the arms of the “K”. What seems to be the labor is, in fact, two “wild men” jousting

In the content of the calendar there are both some unusual saints listed as well as an interesting bit of scribal error. The calendar starts out mostly full, 27 in Jan, but immediately starts to open up, with only 12 in February. In January some of the entries are quite rare, eg. the heretofore unique 40 Martyrs (4294) on Jan 9.

The calendar starts out triple-graded, blue/red/black, and is carefully graded, several multiple-saint entries are graded distinctly for each saint. In November, however, the scribe seems to forget that he’s triple-grading, and starts to use red and blue in simple alternation when there are high-ranks. This was less definitive in early November, All Saints (2850) in blue vs. All Souls (2993) in red, but becomes more evident as the month proceeds. In December it is unavoidable with strict alternation of red/blue in the Christmas (814) through Holy Innocents (823) block. Were this still triple graded, Christmas, in red, would be outranked by the Holy Innocents and even St. Barbara (853), both in blue.

(DB Id: 278)

BnF Latin 1173 fr3.jpg