Leaf from a Book of Hours
Buono, Mariano del; artist
leaf (manuscript); sub-category
book of hours; type of text
fifteenth-century, third quarter
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, 120 x 86 mm (60 x 40 mm), 12 long lines ruled in brown ink.
CONTENTS: Rubric Das sind di siben psalm, followed by the incipit of Psalm 6 in Latin, DOMINE, and the German translation, Herr straf mich nicht in deinem grimm noch (continuing on reverse) zuchtig mich in deinem zorn. Erparm dich uber mich wan ich krankch pin; hail mich wan mein gepai[n] sind der pidempt. Wnd mein seel ist serbetrubt; wie lang pistu herr. Wecher herre und erlos mein seel: mach mich selig durch dein parmu[n]g. Wan
DECORATION: Historiated initial [D, 9 ll.] formed of acanthus in gold ink with pearls and stylised ornament on blue ground showing the Penitent David in the wilderness and surrounded by a full floral border with putti, pearls, gems, a vignette with Goliath’s severed head and medallions enclosing busts of God (top centre), Jeremiah (top right), Isaiah (bottom left) and another prophet (bottom right).
ORNAMENTATION:Gold one-line initials on alternate red and blue background for Psalm verses; opening word written in calligraphic capitals with penwork ornament in black ink on alternate lines.
Italy, production, region
height, 120, mm
width, 85, mm
bought; 2001-03-16; Bernard Quaritch
This leaf belonged to a Book of Hours which was presented by a Nuremberg nun to a ‘mein[er] herzen liebe Frau Elzerlin’ in 1542, belonged to the Servite Monastery of St Karl Boromäus in Volders in the Tirol by 1704, and was in the Servite Monastery at Innsbruck (MS 9.A; Hermann 1905, no. 122, with evidence for earlier provenance) until the Second World War (Cermann 2010); the leaf was acquired in Switzerland by a dealer based in Hartford, Connecticut, and sold by him in the early 1960s to the private collector who offered it at Sotheby’s, London, 5 Dec. 2000, lot 33 (copy of his letter to Sotheby’s dated 23 August 2000 kept on file); acquired at the Sotheby’s sale by Bernard Quaritch and purchased from them by the Fitzwilliam Museum in March 2001.
Quaritch, Bernard; previous owner
Servite Monastery at Innsbruck; previous owner
Servite Monastery of St Karl Boromäus; previous owner
Elzerlin, Frau; previous owner
This leaf, containing the beginning of Psalm 6 in German translation, opened the section with the Penitential Psalms in a Book of Hours produced in Florence for a German-speaking patron. The script and illumination suggest an origin in Florence c.1480. The decoration can be attributed to Mariano del Buono (1433/1434-1504), one of the most influential Florentine illuminators of the second half of the fifteenth century, who specialized in Humanistic texts and private devotional books at first, but later in his career, with the assistance of his workshop, undertook the production of patristic and liturgical manuscripts as well (Garzelli 1985, I, 190-215; Galizzi in Bollati 2004, 727-730). Executed in the precious all’antica style, characteristic of Florentine manuscripts from the 1480s onwards, the Fitzwilliam leaf exemplifies the second, mature phase in Mariano del Buono’s career, which began in the 1470s under the influence of Gherardo di Giovanni’s innovative treatment of landscapes and border design and through Mariano’s collaboration with Girolamo da Cremona on a Breviary made c.1473-1477 for Santa Maria Nuova (Florence, Museo nazionale del Bargello, MS 68). The latter and a Vallombrosan Breviary of c.1479 (Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 372) offer close parallels for the treatment of the landscape, and for the initials and borders studded with precious stones and pearls seen in the Fitzwilliam leaf, which displays a uniformly high standard of execution, unlike the uneven quality found in later products of Mariano del Buono’s workshop. The identity of the original owner remains unknown, but he or she was probably among the affluent and discerning patrons of fifteenth-century Nuremberg who commissioned their de luxe prayer books abroad, in major centres of manuscript production, notably Paris and, as this example reveals, Florence (Cermann 2010). The dialect of the German translation has been identified as Bavarian by Karl-Georg Pfändtner (in correspondence, Oct. 2010). The Fitzwilliam leaf belonged to a Book of Hours in German, which was preserved as MS 9.A in the Servite Monastery in Innsbruck until the Second World War (Hermann 1905, 110-113, no. 122, pls. 30-32; Cermann 2010;http://www.handschriftencensus.de/21635). Its Calendar, though for the diocese of Bamberg and indicating a likely Nuremberg provenance (St Sebald, 19 Aug.), also included St Reparata (8 Oct.), thus supporting the Florentine origin. The measurements, 120 x 86 mm, are an exact match for the Fitzwilliam leaf, which was fol. 122 in the original volume. If the main body of the manuscript survives, its location is unknown. It seems more likely that it was dismembered and there is hope that at least the other three sumptuously illuminated leaves at the major text divisions may be preserved in public or private collections: Annunciation (fol. 13r), the Man of Sorrows (fol. 106r; Hermann 1905, fig. 30), The Three Living and the Three Dead (fol. 152r; Hermann 1905, fig. 32).
, The Fitzwilliam Museum1982. Treasures of the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Pevensey Press
p. 224, col. pl
Hermann, J.H.. 1905. Die illuminierten Handschriften in Tirol.Leipzig:
Source Title: Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der illuminierten Handschriften in Österreich 1 ()
p. 112, fig. 31
Panayotova, S.. 2004. Contribution to 'Recent Acquisitions (1995-2004) at at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge'.
Source Title: Burlington Magazine 146 () : 505-512
p. 506, col. pl.
Cermann, R.. 2010. Über den Export deutschsprachiger Stundenbücher von Paris nach Nürnberg..
Source Title: Codices Manuscripti 75 () : 9-24
entry uploaded by Regina Cermann in Oct. 2010 on Handschriftencensus: Eine Bestandsaufnahme der handschriftlichen Überlieferung deutschsprachiger Texte des Mittelalters, http://www.handschriftencensus.de/21635
Object Number: MS 11-2001
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 32075; input: 2001-07-23; modified: 2012-08-20)