Henri d'Orquevaulx or Workshop
Ten Leaves from a Book of Hours,
St. Barbara (Suffrages, Memorial to St. Barbara)
[Cat. no. 38]
Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection [Cat. nos. 29-38]
This group of leaves and numerous others now in private collections survive from what must have been an extraordinarily rich book of hours. The elaborate Passion cycle and suffrages point to an important commission. Evidence within the calendar and texts suggests that Metz was probably the place of production. Situated on the Moselle River, Metz was the cultural and commercial capital of Lorraine during the 15th century, as well as the location of an important bishopric. It was thus the center of a growing book trade.
The illuminations appear to come from the workshop of Henri d'Orquevaulx, a documented Metz manuscript painter. Little is known about d'Orquevaulx's life or career. Compositionally, structurally, as well as stylisti-cally, the miniatures suggest strong links to Netherlandish illumination. Details such as the tub, ewer, towel, and fireplace in the Nativity, are typical of the northern love of crowded and unusual compositions, as well as domestic details. It is not known whether d'Orquevaulx came originally from the Netherlands or whether he simply worked or trained there at some point in his career.