LEAF FROM AN ILLUMINATED BOOK OF HOURS

S O L D

Measurements: 10 cm – height, 14 cm- width

 

Description: A finely decorated vellum leaf from a Medieval Book of Hours. It contains one single column of 16 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 and blue tempera, gold and liquid gold on vellum on both sides. Initials are beautifully and colourfully painted on a liquid gold ground, forming graceful scrolls which twist into sprays of foliage within their bodies. 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 highly illuminated initial, highlighting the beginning of the prayer Deus in Audiutorium Meum Intende, while on the verso the prayer Domine Jesus Christi Fili Dei Vivi.

 

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.

 

 Condition: Extremely fine.

 

 Period:  Paris, circa 1430

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