Flemish Hours

Does the world need another illuminated Book of Hours? These private prayer-books from about 500 years ago are fairly common on the art market. But some at the Vatican Library are such superb works of art that the answer has to be a resounding yes.

The latest batch of digitizations includes a wonderful prayer book for the use of Rome, attributed to an anonymous artist known as "the Master of James IV of Scotland". Dates between 1495 and 1520 have been suggested, and a Flemish origin seems proven. For the extraordinary quality, look at the iridescent wings on the angels here at the Last Judgement at fol. 222v:

As noted earlier this week, the Vatican Library is following a new policy of posting quick-and-dirty digital copies of its black-and-white microfilms as placeholders until it gets around to doing a proper color scan of each book.

In the upload of January 23, 2017, almost all 3,950 new items were marked "low quality", though a good number are actually proper scans. This seems have been for convenience only, since the "low quality" flag must next be replaced in many cases with a color thumbnail of a particularly pretty page from the scan.

I suppose some unfortunate individual will be given the tedious job of relabeling the scans (it would be an ideal penalty for the evil reader who spills smuggled Coca-Cola on a manuscript). Most if not all of the manuscripts listed below are in fact scans, not microfilms. I have marked all those full scans I have checked with the note "(color)".

Here is the list of 51 new items in the main Vat.lat. series:
  1. Vat.lat.1040, Thomas Bradwardine Against the Pelagians (color)
  2. Vat.lat.1113, Andredus Gonteri (color)
  3. Vat.lat.1174, Praepositinus, 13th century (color)
  4. Vat.lat.1769, Quintilian and Seneca in a 14th-century manuscript (color)
  5. Vat.lat.1942, Biondo Flavio (color)
  6. Vat.lat.1958, Pliny the Younger and a commentary by Leonardo Bruni, 15th century (color)
  7. Vat.lat.2151, Walter Burley's commentaries on Aristotle (color)
  8. Vat.lat.3057, Albert of Saxony (color)
  9. Vat.lat.3136, Legends of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem: in French, 1342 (color)
  10. Vat.lat.3211, poetry, Italian (color)
  11. Vat.lat.3770, volume 1 of  a magnificent 3-volume Flemish book of hours (above) (color)
  12. Vat.lat.3781, another book of hours (color)
  13. Vat.lat.3828, homiliary (color)
  14. Vat.lat.3966, a-15th century Register of Loans from the Vatican Library. For some time the Vatican let its library books circulate (what a dream!). Borrowers themselves entered "Ego..", their names and the titles of the books they took out in registers like this one (the second in the loans series), and the librarian criss-crossed the entry when the books came back. (color)
  15. Vat.lat.4863,
  16. Vat.lat.4962,
  17. Vat.lat.5379,
  18. Vat.lat.6767,
  19. Vat.lat.7194,
  20. Vat.lat.7260,
  21. Vat.lat.7616,
  22. Vat.lat.8193.pt.3,
  23. Vat.lat.9015,
  24. Vat.lat.9112,
  25. Vat.lat.9839.pt.1,
  26. Vat.lat.9839.pt.2,
  27. Vat.lat.9843.pt.A,
  28. Vat.lat.10191,
  29. Vat.lat.10498,
  30. Vat.lat.10959, a single leaf from a fifth-century African uncial run-together-writing manuscript of Cyprian, Epistulae. This two-column book later ended up at Bobbio, Italy, where the monks tore it up for re-use, employing this page as a fly-leaf.  TM 66155 = Lowe, CLA 4 458. The scan is in full color and includes a scholarly article by C. H. Turner about the leaf, plus the legacy whereby it came to the Vatican. (color)
  31. Vat.lat.11732,
  32. Vat.lat.12383,
  33. Vat.lat.12431,
  34. Vat.lat.12540,
  35. Vat.lat.12838,
  36. Vat.lat.13002,
  37. Vat.lat.13064,
  38. Vat.lat.13440,
  39. Vat.lat.13487,
  40. Vat.lat.13491,
  41. Vat.lat.13932,
  42. Vat.lat.14109,
  43. Vat.lat.14166,
  44. Vat.lat.14475.pt.1,
  45. Vat.lat.14475.pt.2,
  46. Vat.lat.14475.pt.3,
  47. Vat.lat.14478, old catalog of printed books at Vatican library (HT to Pieter Beullens (@LatinAristotle))
  48. Vat.lat.14586, a miscellaneous collection of papal chancery documents. Folio 7r is the original letter from abbot Egino of Augsburg, Germany complaining at the conflict Bishop Hermann of Augsburg had with him, written in 1118 to Pope Paschal II. (PND11859186X) (color)
  49. Vat.lat.14620, perspective drawings of St Peter's (color)
  50. Vat.lat.15395, handwritten catalog of the old (Palatine?) library (color)
  51. Vat.lat.15396, ditto (color)
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 91. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

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