Jean Bourdichon - Book of Hours, about 1515-1520

Jean Bourdichon (about 1457 - 1521, Tours)

Book of Hours, about 1515-1520

Ink, colors, and gold on parchment , 16.5 x 10.5 cm (6 1/2 x 4 1/8 in.)

Close
(about 1457 - 1521, Tours)

Object details

Accession number

6.T.1

Primary Creator

Jean Bourdichon (about 1457 - 1521, Tours)

Full title

Book of Hours

Creation Date

about 1515-1520

Object Case

Book Of Hours Case

Language

Latin

Publication Place

Tours

Description

1 Vol. ( 131 + 4 leaves, 25 lines) ; parchment ; ill. : 16.5 cm (folio)

Provenance



Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from the antique dealer Consiglio Ricchetti, Venice on 12 August 1890 for 5000 lire.

Marks

Inscribed (third flyleaf): "Catherine Englefield from her beloved husband Henry Englefield"
Affixed (f. 1): Excerpt from Pitt sale [lot 842]

Dimensions

16.5 x 10.5 cm (6 1/2 x 4 1/8 in.)

Display Media

Ink, colors, and gold on parchment

Web Commentary

Court painter to four kings of France, Jean Bourdichon was best known for manuscript illumination of exquisite refinement and cosmopolitan sophistication. His books of hours mark the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Such richly decorated prayer books were favored by royalty, nobility, and the rich merchant classes who continued to prefer manuscripts to printed books as aids to their daily devotions.

The Book of Hours in the Gardner Museum has remained virtually unstudied. A late work by Bourdichon, it is characterized by ambitious Italianate frames which enclose the main illuminations. The book nonetheless remains intimate and private, the delicately colored scenes compelling close inspection.

Source: Myra Orth, "Book of Hours," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 135.

Permanent Gallery Location

Long Gallery

Bibliography

Leigh & S. Sotheby. A catalogue of the small & elegant library of a late, well-known literary amateur... (London, 20 June 1808), lot 842.
Isabella Stewart Gardner. A Choice of Manuscripts and Bookbindings from the Library of Isabella Stewart Gardner, Fenway Court (Boston: 1922), pp. 18-22. (as French, 16th-17th century)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston: 1935), p. 241. (as French, late 15th century)
Seymour De Ricci and W. J. Wilson. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, Vol. 1 (New York, 1935), p. 931, no. 8. (as probably illuminated by Jean Bourdichon)
John Plummer. The Last Flowering: French Painting in Manuscripts, 1420-1530. Exh. cat. (New York: J. Pierpoint Morgan Library, 1982), p. 83, no. 107. (as illuminated by Jean Bourdichon)
Ann Farr Snowden. Illuminating the Gardner Hours: A Question of Attribution and Devotion. Master's thesis (Wellesley: Wellesley College, 1985), pp. 1-85, ill. (as illuminated by the workshop of Jean Bourdichon (?), about 1500)
Myra Oaths in Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston: 2003), pp. 134-35. (as illuminated by Jean Bourdichon, about 1515)
Nicholas Herman. Jean Bourdichon (1457-1521): Tradition, Transition, Renewal. PhD diss. (New York: New York University, 2014), pp. 7-14.
University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, no. 198050, accessed 1 December 2016. (as illuminated by Jean Bourdichon (?), about 1510)
Nicholas Herman in Jeffrey F. Hamburger et al. Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections. Exh. cat. (Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Newton: McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College; Cambridge: Houghton Library, Harvard University, 2016), pp. 104,133, 144-46, no. 112, ill. (as illuminated by Jean Bourdichon, about 1515-1520)

Rights and reproductions

The use of images, text, and all other media found on this website is limited. Please review Rights and Reproductions for details.

Commentary

Court painter to four kings of France, Jean Bourdichon was best known for manuscript illumination of exquisite refinement and cosmopolitan sophistication. His books of hours mark the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Such richly decorated prayer books were favored by royalty, nobility, and the rich merchant classes who continued to prefer manuscripts to printed books as aids to their daily devotions.

The Book of Hours in the Gardner Museum has remained virtually unstudied. A late work by Bourdichon, it is characterized by ambitious Italianate frames which enclose the main illuminations. The book nonetheless remains intimate and private, the delicately colored scenes compelling close inspection.

Source: Myra Orth, "Book of Hours," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 135.