BOOK OF HOURS, use of Rome, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [?central France, c.1460] 186 x 138mm. 145 leaves: 113(uncertain), 2-88, 96, 10-168, 176, 188 (originally bound between 1 and 2), COMPLETE, 18 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 19 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 98 x 73mm, rubrics in red, text capitals touched yellow, one- and two-line initials and line endings in burnished gold on grounds of blue or dark pink with infills of the contrasting colour, both patterned with white, SEVENTEEN LARGE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURES WITH FULL BORDERS of burnished gold leaves and disks on hairline tendrils between acanthus and flower and fruit sprays in liquid gold, blue, green, red and pink framed in liquid gold, above large initials in burnished gold on grounds of blue or dark pink with infills of the contrasting colour patterned with acanthus or flowers in liquid gold (rare light smudging, inner border of f.37 ink-stained, slight cockling of f.132 affecting corner of border). Early 17th-century green morocco gilt tooled with CATHERINE in central oval on upper cover and BARRIN in central oval on lower cover, later green ribbon bookmarks (slight wear to extremities, lower corners bumped). AN EXTENSIVELY ILLUSTRATED HOURS IN REMARKABLE CONDITION PROVENANCE: Aspects of the style suggest the book may have been produced in central France; a 16th-century member of the family of Barasc, originally from near Toulouse: the two coats of arms added in the 16th century on f.14v; Catherine Barrin: the name on the binding and her coat of arms added on f.13v, since the sinister, female side, is the arms of Barrin, as used by Toussaint Barrin, Abbot of Ferrieres, Saint-Lo (Coutances) and Saint Maurice (Clohars Carnoet), royal almoner and servant of the Montmorency, who died in 1581; Honore Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791): a note on the first flyleaf 'Ce manuscrit ... appartenoit au Comte Mirabeau' presumably refers to the great writer and revolutionary; Comte Francois Potocki (1788-1853): his armorial bookplate inside upper cover; sold by Potier, Paris, Bibliotheque de Monsieur H.D.M. 23 April 1867, lot 20. CONTENT: Calendar ff.1-12; ruled blank with added coat of arms on verso f.13; Office of the Virgin, use of Rome, with season variants ff.14-66: matins f.14, lauds f.28v, prime f.37, terce f.40v, sext f.44, none f.47v, vespers f.51, compline f.57; Hours of the Cross ff.67-70; Hours of the Holy Spirit ff.72-5v; Penitential Psalms and Litany ff.76-90v; Office of the Dead, use of Rome ff.91-124v; Obsecro te and O intemerata ff.125-30v; Suffrages ff.131-135v: St Michael f.131, St John the Baptist f.132, St Anthony Abbot f.133. St Katherine f.134, St Margaret f.135; ruled blanks with erased phrases including 'tout pour dieu' in 17th-century hands on the final verso ff.136-137; Mass of the Virgin ff.138-9v; Gospel extracts ff.140-3v, with the Passion according to John, XVIII 26 - XIX 42, with prayers, added in a contemporary current hand on the margins of ff.142-3v and continuing on ff.144-5. This final gathering, ff.138-145, originally followed the Calendar. ILLUMINATION: The miniatures are attractively coloured in rich combinations of red, blue, pink and green with gleaming accents of burnished and liquid gold, colours echoed in the surrounding borders. Figures are clearly and expressively defined, often in movement suggested not only by posture but by the energetically tilted faces. The feeling for action is most evident in the miniatures of St Anthony, assailed by two loomingly aggressive devils, f.133, and St Michael, who is still engaged in combat, f.131. The landscape behind them is typical of the artist in its use of small trees to mark out the recession and of buildings to define the horizon; the composition is structured by steep triangular rocky outcrops, an archaic feature that was also still deployed in late works in the style of the Bedford Master. The dramatic battle for the soul of the deceased above a cemetery, f.91, is a composition originated in Paris by the Bedford Master himself in the early years of the century. The illuminator might have worked in the capital before moving to the south or he could have absorbed such designs indirectly, through the works of the Jouvenel Master and his circle. Whatever his origins and place of work, he was responsible for an appealing Book of Hours, worthy of its elegant 17th-century binding and of the care which has ensured its strikingly good condition. The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: the Annunciation f.14, the Visitation f.28v, the Nativity f.37, the Annunciation to the Shepherds f.40v, the Adoration of the Magi f.44, the Presentation in the Temple f.47v, the Flight into Egypt f.51, the Coronation of the Virgin f.57, the Crucifixion f.67, Pentecost f.72, David f.76, Burial in a cemetery with an angel and a devil battling for the soul of the deceased f.91, St Michael fighting the devil f.131, St John the Baptist in a landscape f.132, St Anthony Abbot enthroned menaced by a devil to either side f.133, St Katherine f.134, St Margaret emerging from the dragon f.135.