Ms. Codex 2032: 18th Century Prayer Book

Coffee With a Codex on Monday, November 8, featured Schoenberg Curator of Manuscripts Nick Herman with Ms. Codex 2032, a book of prayers for a lay reader’s private use during the Mass. Unlike a book of hours, which was designed for private contemplation, this book was made to be taken to Mass so the user could follow along with the service.

This is an aesthetically pleasing manuscript, written in a neat italic script and decorated with watercolor and gold.

Ms. Codex 2032, f. 1r

The iconography featured in Ms. Codex 2032 is drawn primarily from the Passion cycle used for the Hours of the Cross. A full-page miniature of the Adoration of the Magi appears on f. 2v, just before the introductory prayer.

Ms. Codex 2032, Adoration of the Magi, f. 2v

Small watercolor paintings introduce the titles for each section, several of which are pictured here.

Ms. Codex 2032, Betrayal, f. 11r
Ms. Codex 2032, Betrayal, f. 12v
Ms. Codex 2032, Christ before Pilate, f. 14v
Ms. Codex 2032, Flagellation, f. 18r
Ms. Codex 2032, Agony in the Garden, f. 44r
Ms. Codex 2032, men spreading flowers on a cloth, f. 53r

There are also eight cartouches in watercolor with gold at section endings, including this one illustrating the Holy Spirit, on f. 60r, at the end of Au dernier evangile.

Ms. Codex 2032, f. 60r

The binding of Ms. Codex 2032 is 18th-century ox-blood morocco, gilt-stamped with unidentified coats of arms on covers (ducal coronet above a double coat of arms enclosed by a cordon, in front of crossed maces) and flowers in corners.

Ms. Codex 2032, front cover

Find out more about this manuscript by viewing the digitized version and reading the full catalog record on Colenda.

We host Coffee With A Codex every Monday at 12pm ET / 5pm GMT on Zoom. For a schedule three weeks ahead, visit our main page here.

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