University of Kentucky Special Collections
Kentuckiensis IX

Book of Hours (mixed)

Ms. A: second half fourteenth century
Ms. B: second half fifteenth century
France (Paris?)

This manuscript is interesting because of the extremely high quality of some of its decoration and illumination and because it is made up of portions of two manuscripts of distinctly differing styles, approximately a century apart in execution. It is difficult to ascertain whether the newer manuscript, Ms. B was made with the intention of completing a fragmentary older work, Ms. A, but the resulting synthesis, KY. IX, is still incomplete, and so it is likely that two originally complete Books of Hours became somehow damaged and were subsequently joined in the curious hybrid that is KY. IX.

Ms. A was in all ways a beautiful, high-quality work: it was written on thin, white parchment by a scribe of great surety and illuminated and decorated lavishly with miniatures, drolleries, intricate frames, initials, bar-endings, all glitteringly highlighted in gold. Several portions of the Hours of the Holy Spirit, a less important text usually not very highly or extensively decorated, survive in Ms. A. They are heavily ornamented, with a miniature for each of the two surviving Hours and intricate borders on every folio. . . .

The later manuscript, Ms. B, offers contrasts on every count. The parchment is heavy and uneven, the hand of the scribe or scribes is insecure and variable as well as being rather unattractive, the borders limited to important openings only and then executed roughly in modest materials. Initials occur less frequently in the newer portions of the manuscript and are awkwardly done; evidently the illuminator worked in something of a hurry because offsets from the initials throughout Ms. B attest to the closing of the leaves while the paint was still wet.
Notes from "The Illumined Word." University of Kentucky Art Museum. Catalog, 1983.

Collation of Gatherings:
1. I (fols. i-ii) [modern hand on paper]
2. III (fols. 1-6) [Ms. B]
3. II (fols. 7-10) [Ms. B]
4. IV (fols. 11-18) [Ms. A]
5. III (fols. 19-24) [Ms. A]
6. III (fols. 25-30) [Ms. A]
7. III (fols. 31-36) [Ms. A]
8. I (fols. 37-38) [Ms. A]
9. III (fols. 39-44) [Ms. B]
10. III (fols. 45-50) [Ms. B]
11. IV (fols. 51-58) [Ms. B]
12. IV (fols. 59-66) [Ms. B]
13. IV (fols. 67-74) [Ms. B]
14. II (fols. 75-78) [Ms. B]
15. IV (fols. 79-86) [Ms. B]
16. IV (fols. 87-94) [Ms. B]
17. IV (fols. 95-102) [Ms. B]
18. IV (fols. 103-110) [Ms. A]
19. IV (fols. 111-118) [Ms. A]
20. IV+1 (fols. 119-127) [Ms. A; folio 127 tipped in]
21. II (fols. 128-131) [Ms. B]
22. II (fols. 132-135) [Ms. B]

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