The present manuscript is an especially rich Book of Hours. Sixty-six pages show illuminated scenes, some of which form narratives. Each full-page miniature is surrounded by full borders on a field of gold, painted in the Ghent-Bruges style. Each smaller miniature also has one or two ornamented borders of the same high quality. The illumination can be attributed to two different hands: one artist close to the Master of Charles V and the Master of Cardinal Wolsey.
The book's patron is presumably represented in the miniature of the guardian angel. He may have lived in the diocese of Cambrai, as is indicated by the liturgical use of the book. In 1508, the town was temporarily the centre of European nobility, as representatives of the Pope, Emperor, and French King resided there to conclude the – short-lived – League of Cambrai.
This small ‘treasure’ of a manuscript contains numerous leaves with illusionistic schemes painted in the famous Ghent-Bruges style. These borders are filled with delicate flowers, birds, and insects, mostly on a golden base or on a ground of a fine mix of alternating pastels.
Renaissance elements are mostly absent. Some scenes show inscriptions in text scrolls, others are encased by decorative letters. A few borders contain scenes within a winding plant stem or present a geometric design with exquisite jewels, pearls, and gems. The major text openings are presented on adjacent pages, the decoration forming a single unit presented in fine harmony. Although gold and silver are richly applied, overall, halos are modestly drawn and consist of thin golden circles.
One image in particular, that of the Corpus Christi venerated by high-ranking officials, including the Holy Roman Emperor, is remarkable and could point to the identity of the first owner of this book, who has not yet been detected for want of a coat-of-arms or inscriptions.
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