FINELY DECORATED MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT
S O L D
Measurements: Length – 18.4 cm, width – 12.8 cm
Description: This beautiful leaf is an excerpt from a medieval Book of Hours. The decoration is executed in red and blue tempera, gold and liquid gold on vellum. The recto begins midway through Psalm 39:15, and consists of 14 lines of Latin text written in brown ink. Individual letters are highly decorated, and the text is bordered by a motif of floral tendrils, with a small roaring dragon at its top. The text has been ruled in red, and it is an excellent example of the calligraphy type known as lettre bâtarde.
The verso begins during Psalm 39:17 and finishes with the beginning of 40:2. Again, we have 14 lines of Latin executed in brown ink, with a border motif of floral tendrils. The verso features a particularly magnificent illumination of the letter ‘B’ at the beginning of Psalm 40:2 towards the page’s bottom.
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: Paris, France, Late XIV century.
Condition: Extremely fine.