Measurements: 16 cm - length, 11.5 cm - width


Description: A finely decorated vellum leaf from a Medieval Book of Hours, use of Rouen, France. It contains one single column of 15 lines, ruled in red, of written text in Latin. The text is a fine example of the popular Medieval script, used extensively for French vernacular books, known as lettre bâtarde. The leaf is executed in red, green, yellow, orange and blue tempera, gold and liquid gold on both sides. Initials are beautifully and colourfully painted on a liquid gold ground, further enriched by blue, white and red tempera. The border displays an elaborate panel of acanthus and floral motifs, rendered in blue, red and green tempera, and highlighted in liquid gold, with finely detailed flowers, fruits and leaves. The recto text opens with one illuminated initial, highlighting the beginning of Psalm 62:10, Ipsi vero in vanum quaesierunt animam meam introibunt in inferiora terrae, while on the verso the beginning of Psalm 66:4, Confiteatur tibi populi Deus, confiteantur tibi populi omnes.


The Book of Hours is a book of Christian devotion, which evolved from the psalter. It gained popularity during the Middle Ages, and typically consisted of psalms, prayers, and other devotional texts. It is the most common surviving type of manuscript, but each copy was unique – whether on account of a different selection of texts, or different decoration. As a result, books of this type offer some of the most interesting examples of medieval calligraphy and decorative practice.


Period: France, Paris circa 15th century AD


Condition: Extremely fine.

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