At first glance, one could be forgiven for assuming that it is a standard Book of Hours, but it is not. The University website provides the following descriptive details, among others:
- Titre: Recueil de prières.
- Auteur: Ailly, Pierre d', 1351-1420
- Date et Lieu: XVe siècle (France )
- Description: Manuscrit exécuté en France au XVe siècle.
- F. 2r°-58v° : Offitium doloris et compassionis gloriosissime virginis Marie super passionem et sepulturam filii sui Domini nostri Jhesu Christi
- f. 60r°-76r° : Epylogus compositus a reverendo domino ; domino Petro de Aylliaco, Cameracense cardinale.
- Description matérielle: Parchemin. ii, 77, i feuillets. 18 lignes.
- Huit miniatures, dont seule la Descente de croix est d’origine. Les sept autres miniatures, provenant de divers manuscrits, ont été ajoutées dans le manuscrit ; décoration marginale avec motifs floraux, végétaux et arbres.
- f. 1v° : Nativité
- f. 2r° : Descente de croix. Dans la marge, un écusson d’argent au chevron de gueules avec trois grappes de raisin au naturel tigées de sinople
- f. 13r° : Martyre de saint Sébastien
- f. 13v° : Saint André
- f. 50r° : La circoncision
- f. 50v° : L’annonce aux bergers
- f. 59r° : La Visitation
- f. 59v° : Messe de saint Grégoire. [estamplille]
- Provenance : Présence dans la décoration marginale des initiales ou chiffres VI et d'amoiries non identifiées.
It was the " initiales ou chiffres VI" and "amoiries non identifiées" that particularly caught my eye:
The arms and initials occur about twenty times each in the manuscript -- an exceptional number -- usually with only one or the other on any page, but both together within a single border at the beginning of the two main texts in the volume:
I recognised the arms thanks to this manuscript now in Austin, Texas, in Digital Scriptorium:
|Austin, Univ. of Texas, Harry Ransom Center, HRC 40|
Source: Digital Scriptorium
about whose provenance Jean-Luc Deuffic has written an interesting blog-post.
The arms belong to the famous Budé family, whose members include several important biblophiles, most notably Jean Budé (1425-1502) and his son Guillaume Budé (1467-1540), librarian of François I's library at Fontainebleu.
At first I assumed that in order to identify the original patron of the manuscript I would need to find a Budé and his wife whose initials were "I" and "V", but in fact the "VI" that appears repeatedly in the Liège manuscript, joined by what is often called a love-knot, apparently stands for something else. The same combination of arms and letters "VI" occur together in several other manuscripts, including British Library, Harley MS 1441, which also has a contemporary inscription stating that Jean Budé had it written in 1486:
The bibliography on Jean Budé manuscripts is considerable, but unless I have failed to find the relevant publication the arms and "VI" cipher in the Liège manuscript seem to have escaped recognition until now.
I have to admit, however, that there is some confusion in the sources I have consulted about Jean's arms, as these three fiches from Bibale demonstrate:
These index cards suggest that all three arms were used by Jean, but the third has the added feature of a gold horseshoe on the chevron (chargé d'un fer de cheval d'or), and Léopold Delisle also states that Jean's arms have this feature (Le Cabinet des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Impériale (Paris, 1868), p.181 n.6.
It has been suggested (Jean Martin-Démézil, “Un manuscrit de la bibliothèque de Jean Budé”, Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes, 99 (1938), pp. 220-22 [online here]) that the arms with the gold horseshoe belong to Jean's son, also called Jean (the eldest sons of the family were usually called Jean or Dreux, in alternating generations).