Skip to main content
clickable transparency Dartmouth College Library
Home >  About the Libraries >   Friends of the Library >   Dartmouth College Library Bulletin > November 1995 >
 

Dartmouth College Library Bulletin

Notes from the Special Collections

CUM CHARACTERIBUS EX NULLA MATERIA
COMPOSITUS: A UNIQUE(?) MANUSCRIPT (?)
FORMAT[*]

PHILIP N. CRONENWETT

Over the years, I have been a harvester of bibliographic curiosa, reaping bits of information regarding the history of manuscripts and books. There is no purpose to this omnium-gatherum other than to satisfy my own need to collect something. This leads me to prowl library stacks in search of such materials.

What I found on one expedition was a volume entitled Gleanings from the Harvest-Fields of Literature, a fascinating collection of oddments relating to books and manuscripts. The section quoted, 'The Most Curious Book in the World,'

is long, but relevant:

The most singular bibliographic curiosity is that which belonged to the family of the Prince de Ligne, and is now in France. It is entitled Liber Passionis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, cum Characteribus Nulla Materia Compositis. This book is neither written nor printed! The whole letters of the text are cut out of each folio upon the finest vellum; and, being interleaved with blue paper, it is read as easily as the best print. The labor and patience bestowed in its completion must have been excessive, especially when the precision and minuteness of the letters are considered. The general execution, in every respect, is indeed admirable; and the vellum is of the most delicate and costly kind. Rodolphus II. of Germany offered for it, in 1640, eleven thousand ducats, which was probably equal to sixty thousand at this day. The most remarkable circumstance connected with this literary treasure is, that it bears the royal arms of England, but it cannot be traced to have ever been in that country.[1]
I have been looking for this pseudo-manuscript for nearly twenty years. Searching catalogs of major collections in France and in other countries, asking curators and manuscript scholars, scouring the literature, all proved fruitless.

What made the search all the more frustrating was that Dartmouth acquired, in 1980, a similar pseudo-manuscript and it is that acquisition that is the focus of this essay.[2] It is unfortunate that Madelyn C. Hickmott is not as well known a collector as her husband Allerton, Class of 1917. Mrs. Hickmott was a collector of small books, not the miniature books that are printed in small press runs and sold to collectors for ridiculously inflated prices, but books that, for whatever reason, were small. Among her great treasures was the splendid Florentine hours created in the atelier of Attavanti di Attavanti, now arguably the most beautiful of all Dartmouth's books of hours. [3] In 1980, Mrs. Hickmott gave to Dartmouth a series of small books, one of which was in a restored eighteenth- century binding and bore the title on the spine Preces Latinae.

As will become apparent, this volume is, I believe, rare in its method of construction and has unique importance in the history of both the church in Spain and the spread of a new liturgical practice. The volume is rather difficult to describe codicologically as it rises above all the standard rules of description. In the first instance, it has been rebound, which makes it very difficult to examine the foliation. In the second instance, the text is cut into the paper so that it is the absence of the surface or medium rather than the presence of ink or color, that creates the written word 'on' the paper leaf. Each leaf is created as a sandwich of two sheets of paper adhered together with a swatch of silk between the two sheets to provide color. Thus, the recto and verso of each sandwiched leaf are actually two separate sheets of paper. The colors of the silk swatches appear to have no liturgical import.

The codex measures 92 mm high by 68 mm wide and the text block measures 66 mm high by 48 mm wide. The gatherings are primarily in sixes so that the volume collates as 1(8), 2(6)--7(6) with a total of 44 leaves of unwatermarked paper. Preces Latinae was created circa 1600 by Diego de Barreda, a Dominican of the Province of Andalusia, for Philip III of Spain. As Philip became king in 1598 and ruled until his death in 1621, termini are established. Other evidence, to be discussed later, indicates that the codex was created later rather than earlier in Philip's reign.

Because of the importance of the manuscript liturgically, the text of the codex will be described in detail. The recto of the first leaf contains the arms of Philip III cut in the paper as well as the king's name and title at the bottom of the leaf. The letters in the upper left and right are to be expected, the alpha and the omega, referring to the three times in Revelation (1:8, 21:6, and 22:13) that signify the beginning and the end of time. What is also of interest on this leaf are the characters in Hebrew found in the lower right and left corners. These are the text of the first half of the phrase from Psalm 121:2, 'My help comes from the Lord.' The use of Hebrew at this point, balancing the use of Greek, is most interesting.[4]

Photo of recto of first leaf

The spectacular upper border on f. 1v and the delicate dingbat on the first line signals the amazing work to follow. The text on this leaf not only gives the name of the donee, but also the creator of the codex: Fray Diego de Barreda of the order of Saint Dominic of the Province of Andalusia. The eye is immediately drawn to the incised 'e's' within the 'd's' on lines one and seven. These should be compared to the manner in which the letters are cut on f. 2r. On this folio, the letters are cut in with a bar through the center line of each of the letters, almost as if Father Diego was experimenting with different styles of excision. This made the cutting even more difficult as smaller areas of paper have been removed. It should be noted at this point that the letters have not been cut with punches. Each letter has been hand cut, each one meticulously cut, sliver by sliver of paper being removed to create the letter. At first, we believed that a set of punches was created to facilitate the work. The punches would have made it much easier to create the text as they could have been worked rapidly to punch out the letters. However, measurements have made it clear that each letter has been individually cut with what was obviously a very sharp instrument. The text of f. 2r consists of a further dedication to the king.

Photo of f. 1v

The prayers begin at the bottom of f. 3r. At the lower left corner of this leaf, beneath the last word of the text vulneratum, is a catch letter. The 't' is repeated as the first letter of f. 3v. The use of catch words or letters is not, of course, uncommon, from verso to recto, or from the last leaf of one gathering to the first leaf of the next. Because of the very eccentric construction of this manuscript, however, catch letters were necessary from every recto to every verso and from every verso to every recto.

Photo of f. 3r

The first prayer, beginning O Domine Jesu Christi adorote in cruce vulneratum, continues to f. 5r. This is followed by a set of rubrics cut in even smaller letters: Innocentius octauus addentibus duas sequentes orationes/ (f.5v) duplicauit indulgentias ante dictus. A second prayer, O Domine Jesu Christi fili dei qui mysterium, completes the opening sequence. The seven penitential Psalms follow. These are in the appropriate sequence of Psalm 6, Domine ne in furore tuo; Psalm 31, Beati quorum remissae sunt; Psalm 37, Domine ne in furore tuo; Psalm 50, Miserere mei Deus; Psalm 101, Domine exaudi orationem; Psalm 129, De profundis clamavi; and Psalm 142, Domine exaudi oratione meam. These are followed by Psalm 69, Deus in adjutorium meum intende. All of this occupies ff. 6v-23v, that is, half the manuscript.

It is the latter half of the manuscript that is of liturgical significance, for it begins on f. 23v with the rubric In Oratione Quadraginta Horarum. This is the Forty Hours Devotion, beginning with the Kyrie. To have this liturgical rite in Spain, circa 1600, is a most unusual circumstance. There are also a number of very interesting variations in this version of the Forty Hours that bear noting. Following the Kyrie, and on the same leaf, begins the Litany of the Saints, as one would expect with the Forty Hours. However, there is no request to Saint Joseph for his intercession as there should be on f. 24v. This may be an important omission. The Litany is followed by the Agnus Dei on ff. 30v-31v. Psalm 69, Deus in adjutorium meum intende should follow, but it is omitted as it was included with the seven penitential psalms.

The sequence of the Forty Hours Devotion resumes with the versicle Salvos fac servos tuos (ff. 31v-32r). On f. 32v, there is a specific request for a prayer for the king followed by a response. This does not appear in the modern version of the devotion. It is at this point that the volume of prayers diverges from the Forty Hours Devotion with some regularity and returns only infrequently. The next prayer (ff. 33r-33v) is Deus cui proprium est, usually found in the Good Friday liturgy. This is followed (f. 33v) by a prayer from the Mass for the Remission of Sins, Exaudi quaesumus, Domine. Next, (f. 34r) the prayer beginning Ineffabilem misericordiam tuam nobis domine, followed by a penitential prayer (ff. 34r-34v) Deus, qui culpa offenderis, paenitentia placaris. The text returns to the Forty Hours with Omnipotens sempiterne Deus (f. 34v) and then wanders off with a series of brief prayers that have no part in the devotion. These include (ff. 34v-35r) Omnipotens Deus ut famulus tuus rex, (ff. 35r-35v) Deus a quo facta de synderia recta, and (ff. 35v-36r) Ure igne sancti spiritus renes nostros et cor nostrum domine. Two commendations follow: (f. 36r) Fidelium deus omnium conditor et redemptor for the faithful departed and (f. 36v) Actiones nostras from blessings at the coronation of a king. Back to the Forty Hours, the prayer Omnipotens sempiterne Deus (ff. 36v-37r) is next.

The final five prayers all have rubrics to identify, perhaps, for King Philip, prayers that were unfamiliar to him. The first is (ff. 37v-39r) Oratione Sancti Thome Angelici Doctoris ante communionem, and the prayer begins Omnipotens sempiterne Deus. The second (ff. 39v-40v) is Oratio eiusdem post communionem and begins Gratias tibi ago Domine. The third is (ff. 40v-41v) Oratio post confessionem and begins Omnipotens sempiterne Deus cuius. Next is (ff. 42r-44r) Oratio valde devota ad beatissimam virginam Mariam and begins O sancissima virgo maria, and finally (ff. 44r-44v) there is the Oratio in fine dicenda and begins Gaudium cum pace emendationem.

The volume is, then, an eclectic mixture of penitential psalms, prayers taken from a number of different liturgical works, and, in the middle of it all, large portions of the Forty Hours Devotion. The importance of this latter liturgical event, found in a Spanish manuscript of the early seventeenth century, will become evident shortly. There are four issues that bear examination: the identity of the creator, the rationale for creating this pseudo-manuscript, the inspiration for the unique construction method, and, finally, the introduction of a new devotional form and its impact.

The answer to the first question is quite simple: We do not know the identity of Diego de Barreda. What is known is from the manuscript. He was a Dominican of the Province of Andalusia and was active circa 1600. He did not publish anything, at least anything that has made it into the standard Dominican bibliographies such as Kaepelli's Scriptores ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevi,[5] Quetif and Echard's Scriptores ordinis Praedicatorum,[6] or Simon Diaz's Dominicos.[7] Several attempts to gather information at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington have proven fruitless. The Istituto storico Domenicano in Rome has not been able to assist. Thus, de Barreda is as enigmatic as the origin of his pseudo-manuscript.

Why de Barreda created this manuscript for Philip III is somewhat less enigmatic. The Dominican vocation is, of course, Contemplare, et contemplata aliis tradere, 'To contemplate and communicate the fruits of that contemplation to others.' De Barreda was simply creating a book of prayers for personal devotion and presenting it to the king. But why such a book? Philip III was certainly not known for his piety. He was the child of Philip II's fourth marriage, to Anne of Austria, and was born in Madrid in 1578. He became king in 1598 and never was in Andalusia. He is described as frivolous, incompetent, sometimes pious, while other times decadent. His marriage in 1599 to his Hapsburg cousin Margaret of Austria was said to have cost 950,000 ducats. The administration of the state was left to others and soon fell into disorder. Economically, Spain suffered greatly under Philip's less than adequate rule. The arts and letters, however, flourished.

To provide some background, Spain completed a peace treaty with France in 1598, one that was to the advantage of France more than the Hapsburgs. Two years earlier, the plague had broken out in Spain. It had spread to New Castile in 1598 and to Andalusia in 1600. In 1605, the first part of Don Quixote was published. Inflation was rampant. While prices peaked in 1601 as a result of demographic recession and reduced silver imports from New Spain, there was a continuing sense of economic crisis throughout Philip III's reign.

Manuscripts created in Spain during this era are rather fine and could be quite sumptuous. Printing, too, was considered a fine art, and there were many practitioners. Why such a piece as Preces Latina for the king? Why something that was so unusual? The probable answer is that de Barreda himself, his house, the Provincial, or the order in Spain, wanted to provide a gift to Philip that would be memorable, that would stand up to review against the most costly manuscripts made in Spain at the time. It was not uncommon to present to the king such a manuscript in the hope that he would reciprocate with a gift of land, of rights, or of privileges.[8] If, however, de Barreda or his house or the province was not in a financial position to create or to have created a sumptuous manuscript on fine paper or parchment, with historiated initials, gold highlights, and full-page illuminations, why not create a manuscript that, in its raw materials and creation, did not cost much at all, except, of course, for the hundreds if not thousands of hours needed to cut the letters. Imagine completing the last word of the leaf and making an error or a slip of the knife that would cause de Barreda to have to discard the entire leaf and begin again. Even Philip III could appreciate the unique character of the volume. It should be borne in mind that the royal confessor during this period was invariably a Dominican, one of the few critical posts within the royal household that was held by a competent individual.[9]

Philip III was 21 when he attained the throne in September of 1598. He was given a huge, complex empire to rule and his father, for one, did not think him capable of ruling it. He was neither prepared nor preparable for these duties. He was benign and pious, impressing contemporaries with his moral virtures, and nothing else. One recent historian writes that 'his mind was empty, his will supine.'[10] Philip identified the interests of religion with the interests of Spain; divine approbation was reflected in success. At the same time, Philip has been described as the laziest king in the history of that nation.[11] Whatever the case, de Barreda did create this codex for Philip III.

The inspiration for the unique construction methods employed in this manuscript is worthy of speculation, and, at this point, it must be speculation. To be sure, some of the earliest known manuscripts can be seen as models for the de Barreda manuscript. Cuneiform tablets, for example, are created by excising out, by pushing away some of the clay with a wedge-shaped stick to form the representational symbols. Later, in both Greece and Rome, the use of incised letter forms on buildings was quite common. Examples of this can be seen today. The several plaques created by the late Stephen Harvard 1970, consisting of gold-filled letters incised in slate, that are mounted in Baker Library are excellent examples.

Another possibility, and one that is most intriguing, is that de Barreda had seen enough early manuscripts where the ink compounds were not quite properly formulated and where the ink had burned directly through the parchment or paper to create a stencil-like manuscript. The Latin term for iron gall ink is, after all, encaustum. It is also possible that de Barreda had seen some of the fine French manuscripts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with such intricate and complex vineal borders that the concept of lace designs merged with manuscript creation.

Without stretching the point, there are two other possible sources of inspiration that must be noted. The first is the fascinating use of paper-cuts in Jewish documents in Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany from the sixteenth century to the present day. These include Italian marriage contracts (ketubbot) on parchment, often folded double with colored paper, foil, or cloth interleaved to provide color and contrast. Other examples include Esther scrolls and other religious texts. These cut-paper documents were invariably created in Yeshiva, or by older men, but always for religious purposes and with the awareness that their work was an act of piety.[12]

A similar pious strain can be seen in the devotional cards--in France dévotes dentelles, in German lands Andachtsbilden--that were exceptionally popular from the fourteenth century through to the present day. We have all seen the devotional cards that are associated with particular saints or with the Virgin Mary. The cards known as dévotes dentelles or Andachtsbilden were carefully crafted of paper or parchment with paper cuts of saints, borders, and the like. An example of the text of the card cut as a stencil, as in the Dartmouth manuscript, has not been located, but there may well be examples such as this.[13]

There are a number of exceptionally important manuscript parallels to this format that are contemporary or nearly contemporary. Chief among them is W. 94 in the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore. W. 94 is a book of hours for the use of Chalons-sur-Marne, created during the first quarter of the fourteenth century. Every leaf of this codex has lace-cut borders cut into it. It has been argued, and there is no reason to doubt the argument, that the manuscript was not, at first, decorated with the lace-cut borders, but that these were cut at a later date. It is clear that this was done before the most recent binding, in the eighteenth century, of the manuscript as such cutting would be nearly impossible in a fully-bound codex.[14]

A fascinating manuscript came on the market several years ago that has some bearing. This is a small volume of 45 leaves measuring 155 mm x 220 mm, containing the seven penitential Psalms, the Litany, prayers to Saint Apollonia, and five leaves of portraits of the saints, all done in cut-work. The manuscript is described as being Portuguese and having been created during the reign of King Don Sebastian (1554-1578). An eighteenth-century note gives the name of Alvaro Lourenço as the creator of the manuscript. The sale estimate for this manuscript, described as 'of the greatest rarity,' was [[sterling]]2,500-[[sterling]]3,500.[15] The manuscript actually fetched [[sterling]]7,700 when purchased by a German dealer.

The splendid sale of the Estelle Doheny collection in 1987 also bears on this search. Two of the lots from the second part, that of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, are cut-work. The first is an Italian book of hours made for Marie de Medici, Queen/Regent of France, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. It was probably created after the assassination of Henry IV in 1610. It is very small, measuring 85 mm x 58 mm. Of the 62 vellum leaves, 39 have cut-work borders such as f.57r with its illumination of two individuals, most probably Henry IV and Marie flanking the symbols of death. There is no reason to think that the cut-work is not a part of the original design of this codex. Christie's estimated the sale price at [[sterling]]10,000-[[sterling]]15,000. It fetched [[sterling]]82,500 and was bought by the New York firm of H. P. Kraus for stock.[16]

Even more exciting was the next item to go on the block. This was Prière du Roy au Saint Esprit, a cut-work manuscript created in Paris in 1614 by Nicholas Gougenot for Anne of Austria, Louis XIII's wife-to-be, and equally important, the daughter of Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria. The couple were betrothed in 1612 and married in 1615. The manuscript, again, is small, 125 mm x 85 mm, with a text block of 100 mm x 58 mm. It consists of 72 leaves, interleaved with red and white glazed paper so that the cut letters will stand out. Included also are seven full-page miniatures including a title-page, a portrait of Louis XIII, King David, the Crucifixion, a king tentatively identified as Louis IX, and, finally, a portrait of Henry IV.[17]

What makes this manuscript important is that it is just one of a series of four cut-work manuscripts, all created at the same time by Nicholas Gougenot for the same purpose, the Order of the Holy Spirit. Founded by Louis of Taranto in 1352, the order fell into desuetude in the following century. However, Henry III of France was shown a copy of the statutes of the order when he was in Venice in 1574. The Order of the Holy Spirit was refounded by Henry in 1578 as a chivalric order and a religious fraternity for the elite of France. It was, according to Henry's letter to the Pope, a way of introducing the reforms of the Council of Trent to France.[18] The statutes of the order mandated that each member be inducted by reading from the Hours of the Holy Spirit, a set of texts similar to the Hours of the Virgin, but peculiar to the order. No copies of these hours are known.

The prayers and paraphrases of the Psalms, found in the Doheny manuscript and others, were written by Philippe Desportes, a poet very much liked by Henry III. The texts were first printed in 1583 with later editions in 1601 and 1614. The latter edition was the work of Jean-Baptiste Duval, secretary to both Marie de Medici and later Anne of Austria.

It would appear that the Doheny volume of prayers has three companions. The Doheny codex was most probably created for Anne of Austria in the year before her marriage to Louis XIII. Another copy was created for Louis himself. This is now Paris, Bibliothèque national, ms. français 24749. A third copy was made for the duchess of Orléans, the daughter-in-law of Louis, and is now Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 3032. Finally, a copy was made for Antonio, Cardinal Barberini, Grand Almoner of the order while he was in exile in France. It is now in the Vatican Library as ms. Barb. lat. 369.

This entire set of odd but important manuscripts has been carefully studied by José Ruysschaert in an essay published in the festschrift for Tammaro de Marinis in 1969. In the essay, Ruysschaert describes the manuscripts as canivets, knives or pen-knives, using presumably the very early diminutive of canif.[19] One of the more delightful aspects of Ruysschaert's essay is that he finally identifies the manuscript described in Gleanings from the Harvest-Fields of Literature as being in the Library of the Chateau of the Princes de Ligne in Beloeil, Belgium.[20] The precise relationship between this manuscript and those under discussion remains unstudied as the de Ligne manuscript was clearly created for Henry VII of England between 1485 and 1509, nearly a hundred years before the codices for the Order of the Holy Spirit, as it contains Henry's coat-of-arms as the frontispiece.

The final issue to be discussed is the Forty Hours Devotion. The Dominicans are, of course, noted for both prayer and eucharistic devotion. An example of the former is the addition of prayers within the office. A set of preces was, for example, added to prime and the ordinary required recitation nearly every day with very few exceptions.[21] The most popular eucharistic feast, Corpus Christi, began in Li`ege in the early thirteenth century and was spread by Dominicans beyond that city. It was Hugh of St. Cher, master of the Dominicans of Paris in ca. 1235, provincial of the French province in 1240, and cardinal in 1244, who was most influential in this process. He took observance of the feast to Rome and, in 1264, Urban IV, in the bull Transiturus, attempted to make the feast universal.[22] Thomas Aquinas, of course, is credited with the authorship of the Corpus Christi liturgy. The Council of Trent reiterated the cult and veneration of the Eucharist, particularly as a grenade to be lobbed in the theological war against the Protestants.

Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) attempted to encourage not only the church in France, but also the monarchy, as a counterweight to the power of the Hapsburgs in Spain and elsewhere. He needed to attend to the balance of secular power so that he could attend to his interests in the Tridentine reform. Thus, in 1598, he engineered a peace between France and Spain. At the same time, Clement was continuing his interests in the reform.

The Forty Hours Devotion was a eucharistic vigil held before the exposed host, exposed on the high altar for a period of three days, usually after the High Mass of the first day through the High Mass on the third day. After the mass the first day, there was a reading of lessons, a reading from the passion according to Saint John, the adoration of the cross, vespers, and a dispositio in which the Host was carried around the church and then placed in a monstrance on the altar. At the end of the mass on the third day, the Host was elevated at the high altar after ritual prayers. The devotion developed from earlier liturgical ceremonies that began on Good Friday and continued through Easter morning, between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The forty hours also was a reminder of the days of the Flood, the number of years Israel was in the wilderness, the days Jesus fasted and was tempted in the desert, and the time between the Resurrection and the Ascension.

For a number of years, the event was held only during Holy Week. In the 1520s, in Milan, it grew as a series of expiatory prayers to assist in petitioning for divine aid during times of crisis--war, famine, epidemics, and the like. It was particularly associated with recovery from the ravages of Emperor Charles V. In 1527, the Archconfraternity of the Church of Santo Sepolcro of Milan held the vigil during Holy Week, Pentecost, at the Feast of the Assumption, and at Christmas. In 1537, a Capuchin in Milan, Giuseppe da Ferno, preached the Devotion, and it was formally instituted in that city. When one church in the city completed the devotion, another took it up so that there was perpetual observation. St. Philip Neri is credited with taking the rite to Rome in 1550.

The Jesuits organized the first Forty Hours Devotion in Paris in 1574, but it was the Capuchins who were primarily responsible for the spread of the practice in France. St. Charles Borromeo, as Archbishop of Milan, regularized the devotion in 1576. In Rome, the devotion was formally recognized by Clement VIII in his instruction Graves et diuturnae of 24 November 1592. While this was binding only on churches in Rome, the practice was adopted by many other sites in short order.[23] The success of the devotion in both Italy and France naturally led to the embellishment of the practice. The Jesuits, particularly in France, embraced the rite as their own. The Capuchins decorated the altar and theatricalized the rite to make it special. In Rome, the devotion was one of the great theatrical events of the year. The Piranesi etching of the Quarant'ore, held in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican, that was displayed in the 'Age of the Marvelous' exhibition, exemplifies the gaudiness of what was to have been a simple observance.[24]

The devotion was, in the first instance, a response to the depredation of a Hapsburg emperor, and that its major proponents were members of monastic orders that were not always in favor in Spain. Even though the devotion was exceptionally popular both in France and Italy, there is little or no evidence that it was popular or, for that matter, even known in Spain. This is particularly interesting in light of the Hapsburg fascination with and adoration of the Eucharist and the interest the dynasty had in Eucharistic devotion.[25]

It would appear that the inclusion of large portions of the text of the Forty Hours Devotion in the Preces Latinae was a deliberate attempt on the part of the Dominicans in Spain to introduce the ritual at the highest level, the royal court. This was done to counter the possibility that the Jesuits would attempt to do the same thing, and, by being the first religious order to initiate the rite, would strengthen their influence on a weak and feckless king. The manuscript Preces Latinae is, then, of great importance in the history of the liturgy, for it is the first evidence we have for the introduction of a wildly popular devotion into Spain.

To conclude, and to hearken back to the string of question marks in the title of this essay, it is not a unique manuscript, if it is a manuscript at all. Preces Latinae is a variation on a model created at least a century earlier and brought to the fore in the volumes of prayers created for the Order of the Holy Spirit in France in 1614. The codex under discussion was most probably created by Diego de Barreda between 1615 and 1621. Just how or why or when de Barreda saw or learned of the format is not known, but it appears that he borrowed and improved upon the French model. It is possible that de Barreda was among the clerics who attended upon the Infanta Ana as she was married in Paris to Louis XIII or even when she was inducted into the Order of the Holy Spirit in 1614. If this is the case, then he would have had ample opportunity to see the new manuscript format. Aside from the somewhat unique aspects of the construction of the manuscript, its true importance lies in the contents, the Forty Hours Devotion, that Philip III of Spain, the spineless, empty-minded Hapsburg, first saw in a splendid, if eccentric, creation of a nearly anonymous Dominican.


[*] This essay was first read at the University Seminar in Medieval Studies at Dartmouth College in January, 1995. I wish to thank my colleagues in the seminar for their generous advice and criticism of the paper.

[1]Charles Carroll Bombaugh, compiler, Gleanings from the Harvest-Fields of Literature: A Melange of Excerpta, Curious, Humorous, and Instructive (Baltimore: T. Newton Kurtz, 1870), 482.

[2] Dartmouth College Library, Ms. Codex 001599.

[3] Dartmouth College Library, Ms. Codex 001054.

[4] I wish to thank William Fontaine for identifying this text for me.

[5] Thomas Kaeppeli, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevi, 4 vols. (Rome: Ad sancta Sabinae, 1970-1993).

[6] Jacques Quetif and Jacques Echard, Scriptores ordinis Praedicatorum recensiti notisque historicis et criticis illustrati, 2 vols. (Paris: J-B-C. Ballard and N. Simart, 1719-1721).

[7] J. Simon Diaz, Dominicos de los siglos XVI y XVII: escritos localizados (Madrid: Fundacíon Universitaria Espanola, 1977).

[8] I owe this suggestion to William J. Summers.

[9] Antonio Domínguez Ortiz, The Golden Age of Spain, 1516-1659, trans. James Casey (New York: Basic Books, 1971), 129.

[10] John Lynch, Spain and America, 1598-1700, vol. 2 of Spain Under the Habsburgs (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1969), 14.

[11] Lynch, Spain, 15.

[12] Giza Frankel, 'Paper-cuts,' Encyclopaedia Judaica, 13:60-65.

[13] See, e.g., Abbaye de Landévennec, Dévotes dentelles: canivets des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Landévennec: Parc Naturel Régional d'Armorique, 1990) and Adolf Spamer, Das kleine Andachtsbild, vom XIV. bis zum XX. Jahrhundert (Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1930).

[14] Lilian M. C. Randall, ed.,Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery, vol. 1, France, 875-1420 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), catalogue #57, 149-152, and figures 118 and 119.

[15] See Christie's [London] sale catalogue of 26 June 1991, lot 34, for details.

[16] See Christie's [London] sale catalogue of 2 December 1987, lot 179, for details.

[17] Christie's, 2 December 1987, lot 180.

[18] Frances Amelia Yates, The French Academies of the Sixteenth Century (London: The Warburg Institute, 1947), 156-157.

[19] This and the preceding paragraph are taken from the splendid essay of José Ruysschaert, 'Les quatre canivets du manuel de prières de l'Ordre du St-Esprit. Philippe Desportes et le livre d'heures au XVIe siècle,' Studi di bibliografia e di storia in onore di Tammaro de Marinis, 4 vols. (Vatican City: Biblioteca apostolica Vaticana, 1964-1969), 3: 61-100.

[20] Ruysschaert, 'Les quatre canivets,' 69-70, and figure 1.

[21] William Raymond Bonniwell, A History of the Dominican Liturgy, 1215-1945, 2d ed. (New York: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., 1945), 142-143. This is perhaps the most accessible history of the liturgy in English.

[22] Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi, The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). See pp. 164-210 for the rise and spread of the feast.

[23] Bernard Dompnier, 'Un aspect de la dévotion eucharistique dans la france du XXVIe siècle: Les prières des quarante-heures,' Revue d'histoire de l'Eglise de France, 67 (1981), 6-8. The modern devotion is described in Adrian Fortescue, The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, 6th ed., rev. (London: Burns, Oates, & Washbourne, Ltd., 1937), 383-393. Michael P. Carroll, Catholic Cults and Devotions: A Psychological Inquiry (Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1989), 104-113, is an interesting study of the devotion but should be used with caution.

[24] Joy Kenseth, ed., The Age of the Marvelous (Hanover: Hood Museum of Art, 1991), no. 223. See also Mark S. Weil, 'The Devotion of the Forty Hours and Roman Baroque Illusions,' Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 37 (1974), 218-223, for additional information on the ritual.

[25] Marie Tanner, The Last Descendant of Aeneas: The Hapsburgs and the Mythic Image of the Emperor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993). See, in particular, Chapter XI, 'The Hapsburg Cult of the Eucharist,' 207-222.


Converted to HTML 12/18/95 JKM

Last Updated: 5/3/12