C.228x159mm, vellum, ii(paper)+i(vellum)+242+ii(vellum)+i(paper) leaves, the paper end leaves including watermarks with two heads of fools and the letters 'NI' (not in Briquet; close to versions illustrated in Ash and Fletchers Watermarks in Rembrandts prints, 1998, pp.112, 117, from source documents dated 1659), modern foliation running from 1 to 236, not including the Calendar, but followed here, lacking two leaves after f.54 with miniature of Thomas Becket, probably cancelled in the 16th century after his cult was suppressed in 1538, collation: i8-1 (first flyleaf cancelled), ii6+1 (miniature on blank leaf inserted), iii6, iv8, v4+1 (miniature on blank leaf inserted), vi-viii8, ix8-2 (wanting v-vi), x-xx8, xxi6, xxii-xxvi8, xxvii6, xxviii-xxix8, xxx10, xxxi6, xxxii8, some alphabetical signatures, some catchwords from quire 19, 16 lines (108x178mm), opening words of every prayer in double-sized blue capitals, 43 FULL-PAGE MINIATURES IN ELABORATE FRAMES OR WITH FULL DECORATED OR HISTORIATED BORDERS on versos, and 43 LARGE DECORATED OR INHABITED INITIALS AND FULL DECORATED OR HISTORIATED BORDERS on facing rectos, 10 LARGE MINIATURES with partial decorated borders, 1 HALF-PAGE MINIATURE with partial decorated borders, 1 SMALL MINIATURE, 2 HISTORIATED INITIALS, 2 LARGE DECORATED INITIALS AND FULL DECORATED BORDERS (ff.7r, 161v), two- to four-line illuminated initials with foliate sprays, flourished one-line initials and line-fillers, in fine condition with very wide margins, vellum occasionally stained, some miniatures with small pigment losses, first paper flyleaf loose, probably 17th-century red velvet over pasteboards including a French printed text, perhaps indicated that the volume was rebound in France, marbled pastedowns, slightly worn, in a fitted case\nAN EXCEPTIONALLY LARGE AND RICHLY DECORATED BOOK OF HOURS IN FINE CONDITION, PROBABLY MADE FOR A NOBLEMAN OF THE ROYAL HOUSEHOLD Both natives of Denver, William M. B. Berger and Bernadette Berger began their collecting activities in the 1990s with a passion that has rarely been matched. Over the course of just a few years, they amassed one of the most important collections of British Art in America, spanning over 600 years, as well as excellent examples of French, Italian and American paintings and drawings.\nThe Bergers were dedicated to using Art as a vehicle for education: We have always believed that art, as well as music, poetry, and literature, refreshes and enriches our lives. In order to further their mission, they founded the Berger Collection Educational Trust. The Trusts mission focuses on British Art, culture and history, and uses the collection that the Bergers created to further its goals. It has sponsored numerous exhibitions throughout the United States devoted to British painting, as well as being a major supporter of the British Art Journal. The Trust administers together with the Journal the highly prestigious William M. B. Berger Prize for British Art History, awarded for excellence in the field.\nProvenance\n(1) Written for the man who appears with his wife and children in adoration of the Virgin and Child (ff.20v-21r), and elsewhere in the book (e.g. ff.22v, 117v, 197v, etc). The man is shown wearing a double chain of office, and the book has a strong royalist bias. Most remarkable is the office and miniature for King Henry VI who is shown as a saint with the owner of the manuscript kneeling before him (f.235r). Miracles were attributed to the king who died in 1471, and in 1484, his body was moved to St George's Chapel, Windsor. Henry VI was never canonised but Henry VII (reg.1485-1509) promoted the royal cult especially during the proceedings for his canonisation from 1495. The implication is that the present book may have been for a nobleman of the royal household.\nSeveral entries hint at a time of plague. St Roche, patron saint against the plague, appears right at the beginning (ff.12v-13v), second only to the Trinity, the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary. St Armel, the Welsh saint whose feast was adopted into the Sarum Calendar only in 1498, is invoked on f.226 so that the user 'shal be relesyd of all maner of sikenesse & soris'. The Plague broke out in London twice at the end of the Middle Ages, in 1499-1500 and again in 1537-9; the latter is too late for this Book of Hours but the earlier date seems possible. The sickness was so rampant that Henry VII retired to Calais with members of the court, and there is a possibility that the present book was made then as a votive offering by a member of the royal retinue.\nAmong the few double feasts in the Calendar are the Translation of the royal English saint, King Edward the Confessor (13 Oct.) and the feast of St George (23 April) whose cult was fostered during the 15th century and who was patron of the Order of the Garter. The frontispiece shows the banner of St George, and George is one of only two saints singled out in blue in the Litany (f.144r, the other is 'Sancte Albine' on the following verso). The most unusual of the Memorials are SS Armel (f.226v), Ninian of Scotland (f.228v); and King Henry VI (f.235r).\n(2) An old, probably 17th-century shelfmark 'III.c.2.' on flyleaves at end. (3) John Payne, his anonymous sale in our rooms, 20 June 1860, lot 117, for £84 to Quaritch. (4) Simpson Rostron JP (1833-1907), Beddington, Surrey: his bookplate inside upper cover. (5) Sold in our rooms, 21 July 1910, lot 119, for £580 to (6) Walter J. Leighton (1850-1917), London, his sale in our rooms, 15 November 1918, lot 380, with a four-page description; probably bought at or after the sale by John Crichton-Stuart, the Fifth Marquess of Bute (1907-56); thence by descent to his eldest son (7) John Crichton-Stuart, Sixth Marquess of Bute (1933-93) who was born fifteen minutes before his twin brother David; MS.273 (F.23), his sale in our rooms, 13 June 1983, lot 34, for £154,000 to (8) Karl Leister, Château Champvent, Switzerland. (9) William M.B. Berger and Bernadette Johnson Berger, Denver, 1997; Berger Collection Educational Trust; on loan to the Denver Art Museum, TL-17921.\nText and Illumination\nThe text comprises a Calendar (not foliated, [ff.i-vi]); prayers to the Holy Trinity including four pages in Middle English (f.2r); prayers for use at Mass with English rubrics (f.5r); prayers to Christ including one ascribed to St Anselm (f.7r); prayers to the Holy Spirit (f.9r), the Virgin Mary (f.11r), and various Saints (f.13r); prayer 'Sancta Maria Regina' (f.21r), for use 'Whan thou wollt sey our lady matens' (f.21v); the Pater Noster and Creed (f.23r); the Hours of the Virgin, Use of Sarum, intermixed with the Hours of the Cross, Matins (f.30r), Lauds (f.39r), followed by Suffrages to the Saints (f.48r), including St Thomas Becket (f.55r), Cross-Matins (f.62r), Prime (f.64r), Cross-Prime (f.69r), Terce (f.71r), Cross-Terce (f.75r), Sext (f.77r), Cross-Sext (f.81r), None (f.83r), Cross-None (f.87r), followed by a short Salve Regina (f.88r), Vespers (f.90r), Cross-Vespers (f.96r), Compline (f.98r), Cross-Compline (f.103r); the Salve Regina and other prayers to the Virgin and Christ (f.105r); the O intemerata (f.111r) and Obsecro te (f.114r); further prayers for use at Mass (f.118r); the Fifteen 'O's (f.121r); the Penitential Psalms (f.130r), litany (f.142r); the Office of the Dead (f.153r); the Gospel extracts (f.216r) including the Passion according to St John (f.223r); Suffrages to the Saints (f.227r).\nThis Book of Hours, commissioned for an English nobleman, is an exceptionally rare and exquisite example of Renaissance English manuscript illumination. Although published and described in our 1983 sale catalogue of the Bute Collection, the manuscript eluded further scholarly examination and remains mostly unstudied. Lavishly supplied with elaborate miniatures, historiated borders and initials this unique manuscript was produced by several different hands working in a homogeneous style, with an evident fondness for contemporary Netherlandish manuscript illumination, while also borrowing from German engravings notably by Martin Schongauer (d.1491). Schongauer was the most important German printmaker before Albrecht Dürer and his engravings were largely sold, not only in Germany, but also in Italy and even in England and Spain. The richness of this Book of Hours programme of illustration is unparalleled in contemporary English illuminated manuscripts, and is thus a reflection of the significant social status of its patron who is depicted throughout the book.\nThe subjects of the full-page and large miniatures are:\n(1) God the Father and Son enthroned (f.1v); (2) Pentecost (f.8v); (3) Christ Blessing (f.10v); (4) St Roch (f.12v); (5) St Sebastian (f. 14v); (6) St Christopher (f.16v); (7) St Anthony (f.18v); (8) the Owner of the present manuscript kneeling with his wife and children (f.20v); (9) Christ as the Man of Sorrows (f.22v); (10) Annunciation to the Virgin (f.29v); (11) Visitation (f.38v); (12) the Holy Trinity (f.47v); (13) St Michael (f.49v); (14) St John the Baptist (f.50v); (15) St Peter and Paul (f.51v); (16) St Andrew (f.52v); (17) St John the Evangelist (f.53v); (18) St Lawrence (f.54v); (19) St Nicholas (f.55v); (20) St Mary Magdalene (f.56v); (21) St Katherine (f.57v); (22) St Margaret (f.58v); (23) Arrest of Christ (f.61v); (24) Nativity of Christ (f.63v); (25) Christ before Pilate (f.68v); (26) Circumcision (f.70v); (27) Scourging of Christ (f.74v); (28) Adoration of the Magi (f.76v); (29) Christ Carrying the Cross (f.80v); (30) Presentation in the Temple (f.82v); (31) Crucifixion (f.86v); (32) Massacre of the Innocents (f.89v); (33) Descent from the Cross (f.95v); (34) Coronation of the Virgin (f.97v); (35) Entombment of Christ (f.102v); (36) Virgin and Child enthroned (f.104v); (37) Virgin and Child with St John the Evangelist (f.110v); (38) Pietà (f.113v); (39) Three Priests saying mass and the Elevation of the Host (f.117v); (40) Scouring of Christ (f.120v); (41) The Last Judgement (f.129v); (42) Job on the dung-heap (f.152v); (43) Angels raising souls to God (f.197v); (44) St John (f.216r); (45) St Luke (f.218v); (46) St Matthew (f.220v); (47) Instruments of the Passion (f.222v); (48) St Mark (f.225r); (49) St Armel (f.226v); (50) St Ninian (f.228v); (51) St Thomas Becket (f.230v); (52) St Denis (f.232r); (53) King Henry VI (f.235r).\nThe subject of the half-page miniature is: (1) Virgin and Child (f.88v). The subject of the small miniature is: (1) Virgin and Child blessing (f.21r). The subject of the historiated initials are: (1) David in Prayer (f.130r); (2) Scholar in Prayer (f.153r).