Price € 115'000,- (VAT not included).
Overall, this manuscript seems to be a typical representative of a Book of Hours, as it contains all canonic sections. However, the arrangement of the texts is remarkable in that it contains the Passion of Christ according to St. John, which in some parallel Dutch and Flemish Books of Hours became the Hours of the Passion (not a proper office). The inclusion of additional texts, such as the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin and the many Marian prayers, is also unusual and may refer to the patrons, who perhaps were members of the local Seven Sorrows Confraternity in Bruges or Brussels. The litany is not very specific, although “St. Otto cum sociis suis” (f. 61, referring to Otto of Bamberg), is quite unusual.
The original illustration cycle of the book must have consisted of about 18 small miniatures, 10 of which are still preserved. The dimensions of the miniatures differ considerably, each one seems to be individually shaped and outlined. All images are surrounded by an illusionist wooden frame that was employed to make the small images appear as intimate, secluded panel paintings. This technique was frequently employed by Bening and his workshop, and other members of the so-called Ghent-Bruges associates. The artist had access to compositions that originated in the circle of Simon Marmion and of several Masters who were the contemporaries of Simon Bening's father (Alex)Sander. In fact, it is assumed that Simon Bening inherited an extensive body of illuminators' workshop patterns from his father.
The images are small and reduced versions of compositions that occur frequently in the oeuvre of Simon Bening and reappear in countless manuscripts. For instance, this becomes apparent in the Nativity scenes. Though small in size, the miniatures in the present manuscript are a feast for the eyes.
The two coats of arms remain unidentified: “parti: au 1, parti d’argent et de gueules, à la bordure d’or chargée d’un lambel d’azur (?)” (presumably from the oldest son of a nobleman); “au 2, de gueules à la bande d’argent” (presumably from his wife). On one of the escutcheons is an additional, very faint lion of gules on the dexter silver side. Who can solve the mystery of this provenance?