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les Enluminures

Hours of Jacques de Brégilles (use of Tournai)

In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Belgium, Brussels?, c. 1440-1450

TM 234
sold

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

[V] modern vellum flyleaves + 185 folios + [III] modern vellum flyleaves, on parchment, in 25 quires, mostly of 8, complete (collation i4, ii-iii6, iv2, v-xi8, xii7 [8-1] with last folio cancelled, xiii-xiv8, xv7 [8-1] with first folio cancelled, xvi8, xvii4, xviii-xxv8, xxvi7 [8-1] with final folio likely blank), written in a very regular bâtarde script on 12 long lines (justification 80 x 59 mm.), calendar on 17 long lines, ruled in violet, rubrics in red, 1-line high initials in blue or gold with red or blue penwork, 2-line high initials in burnished gold on pink and blue grounds highlighted with white tracery, 3- and 4-line high initials in blue or pink on pink, blue and burnished gold grounds with infill of colored ivyleaves. Bound in 19th-century dark brown morocco of English origin, back sewn on 5 raised bands, vellum pastedowns (signed binding: Birdball and Son, Northampton) (Some slight soiling and other signs of use, else in good condition). Dimensions 132 x 94 mm.

Of capital historical importance, the present modest Book of Hours (perhaps an autograph) records in considerable detail family events in the life of Jacques de Brégilles, “garde des joyaux” but also “libraire” for Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy. It is one of at least two Books of Hours owned by Jacques (the other was more richly illuminated) and offers vivid testimony to the use of Books of Hours as “livres de raison” in Burgundian court circles.

Provenance

1. Jacot, or Jacques de Brégilles (died in Brussels in 1474 or 1475), “garde des joyaux” of Philippe the Good, Duke of Burgundy and later Charles the Bold. Jacques may have written in his own hands notes concerning his family on ff. 1-3, beginning with his marriage with “Clere, sa femme” [Claire Le Vilain, died in 1496] in September 1442. Details concerning the births of his children follow: on June 20, 1446, Jean in the city of Brussels; on May 19, 1452, Isabeau, god-daughter of the Duchess of Burgundy; on June 5, 1454, his son Gérard; on September 11, 1458, Philippa, god-daughter of the Duke of Burgundy; on November 19, 1460, Isabeau, god-daughter of Madame de Charrolois; and on April 8, 1461, Jeanne, god-daughter of Madame the President of Burgundy. His demise is recorded on f. 4v: “Deces de Jacques de Bregilles. Le jour de la conversion saint Pol .xxv. jour de janvier l’an M. CCCC. LXXIIII [1474] trespassa ledict Jacques de Bregilles en sa maison en la ville de Bruxelles entre neuf et dix heures dudit jour.“ These contemporary notes have been published by J. Paviot (1995) in his article on Jacques de Brégilles: they contain hitherto unrecorded information on his life and offspring (see J. Paviot, p. 314 and pp. 319-320).

An important historical figure, Jacot or Jacques de Brégilles is well known in the accounts of the Duke of Burgundy (see for example, the list of domestic accounts of the Duke found in the accounts of the county of Hainault, in Laborde [1851-1852], II, p. xii). Jacot was paid 18 sols annually, a more elevated salary than others in the duke’s employ except the “first wine-steward,” who received the same wages. Jacot appears often in the chronicle of Olivier de la Marche where we find that he dispensed money during the diplomatic missions (H. Beaune and J. d’Arbaumont, ed., Mémoires d’Olivier de la Marche, Maître d’Hotel et capitaine des gardes de Charles le Téméraire, 4 vol., Paris, 1883-1888, II, p. 338; III, pp. 2 and 39). He is spoken of in very glowing terms in G. Chastellain, Oeuvres…., Chronique (t. V), pp. 230-232). His father was Guillaume, concierge of the Chambre des comptes of Dijon. The name of one of the sons of Jacques, Jean, is found in a Book of Hours in Brussels (Bib. Roy., MS II 4996).

2. Jeanne de Brégilles, daughter or grand-daughter of Jacques de Brégilles, with added note copied at the end of the manuscript: “L’an mil cinq cens et ung, le mercredy .vi. jour de octobre fut nee ma fille Jehanne en la ville de Chastillon entre deulx et trois heures après midi et fut parens mon pere et ma seur Marie pour ete ou nom de ma tante [signed] Jehanne de Brégilles” (fol. 184v).

3. M. Fyot de la Marche, comte de Bosjan, First President of the Parliament of Dijon (see note f. IVv).

4. M. Antoine-Etienne Millet (died in 1787, in Dijon). His note on fol. IVv: “Heures manuscrites en velin, ayant appartenu a Jacot de Bregilles, valet de chambre de Philippe le Bon, duc de Bourgogne, avec les notes de sa famille, ecrittes de sa main, les dites heures achetees 26 l. t. [livres tournois] a la vente des livres de M. Fyot de la Marche, premier president du Parlement de Dijon, ce 13 juillet 1770 [signed] Millet“.

5. Le Roy, his note on fol. IVv : “J’ai connus [sic] M. Millet, avocat et auteur, mort en 1787 [signed] Le Roy“.

6. Matthew Bigge, his ex-dono: “To Jules Regnier, in token of a much valued friendship of forty years, from his sincere friend. [signed] Matthew Bigge, Dundle (?), Jan. 1st (?) 1886”.

Text

ff. 1-3, Contemporary notes on the Brégilles family, recording the births of the children born to Jacques de Brégilles and his wife Claire (all published according to this manuscript by Paviot, pp. 319-320);

ff. 3-4, Prayer, in Latin in verse, in honor of Jesus, beginning: “Puer nobis nascitur / Rector quam angelorum…”

f. 4v, Contemporary note recording the demise of Jacques de Brégilles on 25 January 1474;

ff. 5-16v, Calendar, in French, in red and brown ink, with many saints in red: 28 January, Charlemagne; 17 March, Gertrude; 9 May, Nicolas; 28 May, Germain; 19 June, Gervais; 25 June, Eloy; 4 July, Martin, translation; 7 July, Thomas of Canterbury, translation; 27 July, Charlemagne; 25 August, Loys; 25 Septembre, Firmin; 1 October, Remy; 14 December, Nicaise. There was a local devotion at Tournai for saints Gertrude, Nicaise, Fremin and Thomas. Leroquais cites only one calendar with two feasts of Charlemagne (Leroquais, Livres d’heures…, I, pp. 127-128, Paris, BnF, lat. 1183). The presence here of two days devoted to the feast of Charlemagne may indicate a special veneration at the court of the Dukes of Burgundy, to which Jacques de Brégilles was closely tied.

ff. 17-18,Prayer, in Latin, rubric, De la glorieuse Vierge Marie. Antienne. “Inviolata intacta et casta…”

f. 18v, blank;

ff. 19-26v, Gospel Sequences;

ff. 27-33v, in Latin with rubrics in French: Quant tu te lieves au matin tu diras ainsi; En partant de vostre hotel vous direz; A entrer en l’atre dictes; A entrer en l’eglise direz; Devant l’ymage de nostre dame dictes; Devant le crucefix a .ii. genoulz vous direz [see Leroquais, Livres d’heures, II, 131];

ff. 35-103v, Hours of the Virgin, use of Tournai, with Matins (ff. 35-50v); Lauds (ff. 50v-66); Prime (ff. 66-73v); Terce (ff. 74-79v); Sext (ff. 79v-83); None (ff. 83-87v); Vespers (ff. 87v-97); Compline (ff. 97-103v);

ff. 104-126v, Penitential Psalms and Litany;

ff. 126v-129v,, of which Salve regina (ff. 127v-128); De saint Nicolay (ff. 128v-129);

ff. 130-130v, blank;

ff. 131-132v, Prayer, Doulce dame de misericorde… ;

ff. 132v-140, Fifteen Joys of the Virgin;

ff. 140-144v, Seven Requests of our Lord;

ff. 144v-146, Prayer,Veni creator…;

ff. 146-146v, Prayer, Deus qui cordi…;

ff. 147-184, Office of the Dead (short form with only three readings).

As “garde des joyaux” of the Dukes of Burgundy, Jacques de Brégilles occupied a most important function of keeper of gems and all precious objects and treasures and was also entrusted with the care and development of the ducal library (see de Schryver, 2000). The interest of the present manuscript is discussed by Paviot (1995): “Principalement connu, dans les sources imprimées, à cause de son rôle comme libraire du duc de Bourgogne, il ne fut pas lui-même insensible aux livres : l’exemple de son livre d’heures le prouve. D’un petit format, il ne contient pas d’enluminure historiée, seulement des lettrines enluminées. Nous sommes tentés de voir la main du copiste comme celle de Jacques de Brégilles lui-même, puisqu’elle est la même que celle qui a écrit les notations sur le mariage et les naissances des enfants du garde-joyaux (celle qui a écrit la notation de sa mort, tout a fait contemporaine de l’événement pourrait alors être celle de son fils Jean). Les heures étant celles à l’usage de Tournai indiquant une volonté d’implantation de ce Bourguignon d’origine dans les possessions septentrionales des ducs de Bourgogne, ce qui se retrouvera chez ses descendants“ (Paviot, pp. 317-318).

Another Book of Hours was commissioned for Jacques de Brégilles, illuminated by at least three different hands, with two full-page miniatures attributed to Willem Vrelant (see London, BL, Yates Thompson 4, “Hours of Jacques de Brégilles,“ Netherlands, c. 1460). The name of his son Jean de Brégilles is found in another Book of Hours in Brussels (Brussels, Bibl. Roy. MS II 4996).

Literature

Beaune H. and J. d’Arbaumont, ed., Mémoires d’Olivier de la Marche, Maître d’Hotel et capitaine des gardes de Charles le Téméraire, 4 vol., Paris, 1883-1888.

Chastellain, G. Oeuvres de Georges Chastellain… Chronique. 1464, 1466-1468, 1470, ed. M. le Baron Kervyn de Lettenhove, Brussels, 1863-1866, t. V.

Laborde, L. de. Les ducs de Bourgogne. Etudes sur les lettres, les arts et l’industrie pendant le XVe siècle, 3 vols., Paris, 1851-1852.

Paviot, J. "Jacques de Brégilles, garde-joyaux des ducs de Bourgogne Philippe le Bon et Charles le Téméraire," in Revue du Nord, 77 (1995), pp. 313-320.

Schryver, A. de. "Jacques de Brégilles, responsable de la librairie des ducs de Bourgogne sous Charles le Téméraire," in Les Chroniques de Hainaut ou les ambitions d’un prince bourguignon, under the direction of Dr. Pierre Cockshaw, ed. Christine Van den Bergen-Pantens, Turnhout, Brepols, 2000, pp. 83-89.

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