A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Buchanan e. 3

Former shelfmark: MS. Lat. liturg. e. 24

Book of Hours, Use of Rouen, in Latin and French. France (Rouen), late 15th or early 16th century.


Book of Hours, Use of Rouen
Language(s): Latin and Middle French

[Item 1 occupies quire I]

1. (fols. 2r-7v)


With an entry for every day, major feasts in gold, the others alternately red or blue; feasts in gold include the Transfiguration (6 Aug.), Martial (3 July), Denis (9 Oct.), and Romanus of Rouen (23 Oct.); feasts in red or blue include Ansbert of Rouen (9 Feb.), Eustaise of Luxeuil (29 Mar.), Valeric (1 Apr.), Eutropius of Saintes (30 Apr.), Ivo Helory (19 May), Desiderius (23 May), Mellon of Rouen (22 Oct.), Malo (14 Nov., as in Paris Books of Hours: the usual date is 15 Nov.).

Language(s): Middle French

[Items 2–5 occupy quires II-VI]

2. (fols. 8r-11r)

Gospel Pericopes

[John 1:1–14, Luke 1:26–38, Matthew 2:1–12, Mark 16:14–20], John followed by the usual antiphon, versicle, response, and prayer: 'Protector in te sperantium ...' (pr. Wordsworth, Horae Eboracenses , 32–4).

Language(s): Latin
3. (fols. 11r-14v)

Prayers to the Virgin

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 11r-13r)
Incipit: Obsecro te

[masculine forms] (cf. MS. Buchanan e. 2)

Language(s): Latin
(fols. 13r-14v)
Incipit: O intemerata
Explicit: orbis terrarum. Inclina mater misericordie aures tue pietatis

[masculine forms] (pr. Wordsworth, Horae Eboracenses , 67–8).

Language(s): Latin
4. (fol. 14v)

The Five Joys of the Virgin

Rubric: Quinque gaudia beate marie Aue cuius conceptio
(Chevalier 1744), ending imperfect after the fourth verse (at '... nostra fuit purgatio. ||'), thus lacking the fifth verse, and the versicle, response, and prayer, due to the loss of a leaf after fol. 14.
Language(s): Latin
5. (fols. 15r-44v)

Hours of the Virgin, Use of Rouen

with three lessons at Matins, with the Hours of the Cross and of the Holy Spirit intermixed.

Language(s): Latin

[Items 6–11 occupy quires VII-XI]

6. (fols. 45r-52r)

The Seven Penitential Psalms

Language(s): Latin
7. (fols. 52r-54v)

Litany and collects

the litany with Martial last among fifteen Apostles and Evangelists; followed by All Holy Disciples, All Holy Innocents, and Ursinus (cf. MS. Buchanan e. 14 and MS. Douce 268, Books of Hours of the Use of Evreux and Bayeux respectively, which each have Ursinus between Apostles & Evangelists and Disciples); and including Mellon, Romanus (both of Rouen) (8–9), Hugh (bishop of Rouen), Severus of Avranches (relics at Rouen), Julian, Wulfram, Wandregisil (venerated at Rouen), William (12–17) among seventeen confessors; and Austreberta (8), and Honorina (12) (both venerated at Rouen) among sixteen virgins; followed (fol. 54v) by three collects

Language(s): Latin
Incipit: Deus cui proprium est
(pr. Corpus orationum, no. 1143)
Language(s): Latin
Incipit: Ure igne sancti spiritus
(pr. Bruylants, Oraisons , no. 1168)
Language(s): Latin
Incipit: Animabus quesumus domine
(pr. Corpus orationum, no. 260)
Language(s): Latin
8. (fols. 55r-71r)

Office of the Dead, Use of Rouen

the versicles after the ninth lesson are 'Dies illa ...', 'Quid ergo ...', and 'Requiem eternam ...'

Language(s): Latin
9. (fols. 71v-73v, first rubric on 71r)

Suffrages to the Trinity and saints

Rubric: Sequuntur suffragia plurimorum sanctorum et sanctarum. Et primo de sanctissima trinitate

to (i) the Trinity, (ii) Michael, (iii) John the Baptist, (iv) Sebastian, (v) Nicholas, (vi) Romanus of Rouen, (vii) Catherine, and (viii) Barbara. (The prayers are pr. Corpus orationum, nos. (i) 3920, (ii) 1198, (iii) 4492, (iv) 1472a, (v) 1463, (vi) 119b (adapted for Romanus), and (vii) 1521; for (viii) cf. Colker, Trinity College Dublin cat., II, 863 item 61).

Language(s): Latin
10. (fols. 74r-78r)

Mostly in verse, to the Virgin, St. Barbara, and the Guardian Angel

Language(s): Latin and Middle French
(fols. 74r-77r, rubric on fol. 73v)
Rubric: Oraison tresdeuote a la vierge marie mere de dieu
Incipit: Mere de dieu qui fustes mise. / Et assise / Lassus en throsne diuin
Explicit: Et sauuez / En la gloire pardurable. AMEN.
(Sonet, Répertoire , no. 1121; pr. Leroquais, Livres d'heures, II, 325–8)
Language(s): Middle French
(fol. 77r-v)
Rubric: Aultre oraison tresdeuote
Incipit: Aduocate pour les pecheurs / Tourne vers moy ta doulce face / Et me fais viure tous les iours / En oraison quelque ie face / ...
( Sinclair, French devotional texts, first supplement , no. 3927, citing only this manuscript; Rézeau, Répertoire , states that this is the third stanza of Sonet, Répertoire , no. 1094)
Language(s): Middle French
(fol. 77v)
Rubric: Aultre oraison de nostre dame
Incipit: Noble mere du redempteur / Fontaine de toute lyesse
Explicit: Que tous mes pechez a la fin / Vostre filz iesus me pardonne. AMEN.
( Sonet, Répertoire , no. 1241)
Language(s): Middle French
(fol. 77v)
Rubric: Oraison de saincte barbe
Incipit: Saincte barbe comme ie croy / Que siege auez en paradis
Explicit: Que garder pouez voz subgictz / De mourir sans confession. Amen
( Sinclair, French devotional texts, first supplement , no. 5067, citing only this manuscript; Rézeau, Répertoire , no. 2306)
Language(s): Middle French
(fols. 77v-78r)
Rubric: Aultre oraison de saincte barbe
Incipit: O uirgo et martyr barbara. Quasi pulchra luna plena. Post mariam flos uirginum. Ora pro me ad dominum. Amen.
Language(s): Latin
(fol. 78r)
Rubric: Oraison a son bon ange
Incipit: Angele qui meus es custos pietate superna me tibi commissum serua defende guberna. Amen
(pr. Wordsworth, Horae Eboracenses , 35).
Language(s): Latin
11. (fols. 78r-78v)
Prayer (in French verse)
Rubric: Le chemin de paradis
Incipit: Qui veult en paradis aler / Cy en peult le chemin trouuer
Explicit: Ce sont les vertus et la ioye. / Qui lhomme en paradis enuoye. Amen.
(Sonet, Répertoire, no. 1748).
Language(s): Middle French

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: KL Mars(Calendar, fol. 3)
Secundo Folio: sed ex deo(text, fol. 9)
Form: codex
Support: Parchment.
Extent: i (paper, conjoint with the pastedown) + i (post-medieval parchment) + 77 + i (post-medieval parchment) + i (paper, conjoint with the pastedown).
Dimensions (leaf): 195 × 125 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 115 × 65 mm.
(calendar c.123 × 63 mm.)
Dimensions (written): 113 × 65 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i, 1–80.


Mostly in quires of 8 leaves: I6+1 (1st leaf an added flyleaf) (fols. 1–7) | II8–1 (8th leaf excised with scissors(?) after fol. 14) (fols. 8–14), III-V8 (fols. 15–38), VI6 (fols. 39–44) | VII-X8 (fols. 45–76), XI2+1 (3rd leaf an added flyleaf) (fols. 77–79). No catchwords survive.


26 lines ruled in pale red ink, with single vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page, the top and bottom horizontals ruled the full width; the calendar with 32 lines per page); no prickings survive. 25 lines of text per page.


Written in dark brown ink in lettre bâtarde; in two sizes of script, according to liturgical function.


Headings in red, capitals touched with a yellow wash.

Four large rectangular miniatures, each above four lines of text, with more-or-less elaborate renaissance architectural framing:

  • (fol. 15r) Hours of the Virgin, Matins. Annunciation; the lower margin with the Meeting at the Golden Gate, and the Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple (the compositions very similar to those in Watson, Playfair Hours , pl. XIII); the framing columns with gold fleurs de lis on a blue ground, and crown-shaped elements.
  • (fol. 29r) Prime. Nativity; the Virgin, Joseph, and two angels all kneeling, adoring the Child; the lower margin with Moses removing his shoes before the Burning Bush ( Watson, Playfair Hours , fig. 9; the main scene and flanking columns are almost exactly as in Sotheby's, Western manuscripts ... 5 Dec. 1995 , lot 45, pl. on p. 73; the artist appears to be the same).
  • (fol. 45r) Penitential Psalms. David in Penitence, outside a fine château-like building (pl. 000).
  • (fol. 55r) Office of the Dead. Job on the Dungheap, tormented by four demons wielding clubs; God and two angels above; a larger miniature with a narrower border.

Ten large gently arched miniatures, each above four lines of text, with four-sided borders of foliage, birds, etc. on a painted gold ground:

  • (fol. 8r) Gospel Pericopes. St. John on Patmos; buildings and a windmill in the distance.
  • (fol. 21r) Hours of the Virgin, Lauds. Visitation; two angels behind the Virgin; buildings in the background.
  • (fol. 27r) Hours of the Cross. Crucifixion (the composition very similar to Playfair Hours, frontispiece).
  • (fol. 28r) Hours of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost (the composition very similar to Playfair Hours, fig. 20).
  • (fol. 32v) Hours of the Virgin, Terce. Annunciation to the Shepherds; two standing shepherds and a seated shepherdess.
  • (fol. 35r) Sext. Adoration of the Magi (the composition very similar to Playfair Hours, pl. XVII).
  • (fol. 37r) None. Presentation in the Temple.
  • (fol. 39v) Vespers. Flight into Egypt, from left to right; the Miracle of the Cornfield in the background (this page with a distinctive border, in which the foliage is almost entirely in shades of grey).
  • (fol. 41v) Compline. Coronation of the Virgin (the composition very similar to Playfair Hours, pl. XX).
  • (fol. 71v) Suffrage. The Trinity; God the Father holding the body of the dead Christ on his lap, the wings of the Dove touching their mouths; beneath a draped canopy lettered 'SAN[C]TAS TRIN', held open by two angels.

One miniature in a nearly square frame (considerably wider than the text column) painted as if set with jewels and pearls, above four lines of text surrounded on the three lower sides by a partial border:

  • (fol. 74r) Prayer. The Virgin and Child, with a supplicant laywoman; the Virgin with one hand on an open book in a chemise binding with two straps, and supporting the Christ Child with the other hand; the Child, with a coral rosary worn like a baldric, looking at a green parrot perched on his hand (pl. 000).

The iconography of the Virgin and Child with supplicant owner, incorporating both the comparatively common rosary, and the much rarer parrot, perhaps derives ultimately from Jan van Eyck's van der Paele Madonna (Bruges, Groeninge Museum), dated 1436 on the frame, or a similar work. (On the iconographic meaning of the parrot, see Carol J. Purtle, The Marian paintings of Jan van Eyck (Princeton, 1982), 91–2 and fig. 43, summarising Lawrence Naftulin, 'A note on the iconography of the van der Paele Madonna', Oud Holland 86 (1971), 3–8, at 7–8 n. 12). That a version of such an image circulated among Rouen illuminators is suggested by the fact that a closely-related image is present in Lampeter, St. David's University College, MS. 7, also a late 15th- or early 16th-century Book of Hours for the Use of Rouen, but without the rosary, by a different artist, and illustrating a different text (see Ker, MMBL , III, 11–12; I am grateful to Celia Hewardine for bringing the similarity of the image in the Lampeter manuscript to my attention).

Twenty-four small rectangular miniatures as border panels in the calendar, depicting the Occupations of the Months and Zodiac signs, mostly against naturalistic landscapes or interiors; amid further border panels containing naturalistic flowers on a painted gold ground:

  • (fol. 2r) Feasting; Aquarius: a naked youth pouring water into a river.
  • (fol. 2v) Warming by a fire; Pisces.
  • (fol. 3r) Pruning; Aries.
  • (fol. 3v) A woman sitting in a meadow holding flowers; Taurus.
  • (fol. 4r) A man and woman on horseback; Gemini: a naked couple embracing amidst shrubbery.
  • (fol. 4v) Scything; Cancer: like a crayfish.
  • (fol. 5r) Reaping; Leo.
  • (fol. 5v) Winnowing; Virgo, holding a bunch of three flowers.
  • (fol. 6r) Treading grapes; Libra: a woman, like Virgo, holding scales.
  • (fol. 6v) Sowing; Scorpio, like Cancer, but with a curled tail.
  • (fol. 7r) Knocking acorns from trees for pigs; Sagittarius.
  • (fol. 7v) Killing a pig; Capricorn.

Borders to every text page: a narrow painted gold framing, with a painted border in the outer margin of stylized and naturalistic foliage, flowers, and fruit on a painted gold ground.

Four-line initials of stylized and naturalistic foliage and flowers on a painted gold ground to each hour, major prayer, etc.; similar two-line initials to psalms, lessons, etc.; one-line initials of painted gold on a blue or red ground, alternating, to verses and other minor divisions; similar line-fillers.


Sewn on four cords, with endbands; bound in 18th-century speckled brown leather over pasteboards (before 1776, since the last paper flyleaf (fol. 80r) is inscribed with this date (see under Provenance)); the first paper flyleaf apparently with the watermark '1749' (or '1719'?), within an amphora(?)-shaped framing, the last flyleaf with 'P[then a heart-shape]GIIGII'(?); the edges of the leaves-except the paper flyleaves-gauffered and gilt, thus this must pre-date the present binding; the parchment flyleaves (fols. 1, 79) must also belong to a previous binding, and may possibly have been its pastedowns, since fol. 79 shows the impression of a former turn-in around its outer edges.


Origin: French, Rouen ; Late 15th or early 16th century

Provenance and Acquisition

Unidentified laywoman: made for the woman depicted on fol. 74r, who, to judge by the suffrage and two prayers to St. Barbara, had a special devotion to her.

Gilbert de la Houssay du Trembley, 1776: inscribed (fol. 1r): 'Gibert delahoussaije | Dutrembleij', and '1776' (in paler ink); inscribed very similarly on fol. 80r, where the date is coeval, but the 'gibert' is added in paler ink.

Unidentified 18th/19th-century collections: the second compartment from the top of the spine with a polygonal paper label printed in blue (for a very similar, perhaps identical, label which has not been covered, see the spine of [pr. bk.] Buchanan c.12), covered by a rectangular paper label printed with a figure (? perhaps a '1' or an 'L'-only the very top is visible), which in turn is obscured by a third paper label, printed '5', which has had this number effaced with ink, and '3' inscribed next to it. The base of the spine with a paper label printed '650', and another similar, smaller, paper label pasted to fol. 1r is printed with the same number. The '650' and '3' may relate to the number '0653' on the upper pastedown (see below). There are traces of another rectangular paper label which has been removed from the second compartment from the bottom of the spine.

Unidentified French bookseller, 19th century: inscribed on the upper pastedown: '0653', 'u.m.m.' (perhaps upper-case?), and: '15 grandes miniatures | 12 petites - les mois'.

Messrs. T. & W. Boone, London booksellers: inscribed in pencil with their price-code in the upper right corner of the upper pastedown and in the top left corner of the lower pastedown (cf. MSS. Buchanan e. 2 and g. 1).

John (or Thomas?) Buchanan: bought Boone on 16 April 1862, for £25 and inscribed in pencil 'Boone' on fol. i verso, and with the 'Descriptive list' number, '3.', in the top left corner of the upper pastedown.

Rt. Hon. T. R. Buchanan (1846–1911).

His widow, Mrs. E. O. Buchanan.

Given by her to the Bodleian in 1939, when it was accessioned as MS. Lat. liturg. e. 24 (contrary to the pencilled record of accession (fol. 1r): 'D[onated]. 21.vii.1941').

Record Sources

Adapted from Peter Kidd, Medieval Manuscripts from the Collection of T. R. Buchanan in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Oxford, 2001)

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (28 images from 35mm slides)


Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.