Period of King Philip II of France Manuscript

£ 1,975.00

An exquisitely preserved illuminated vellum leaf from a Medieval Book of Hours belonging to the reign of King Philip II, the first of the great Capetian kings of France. The leaf contains 21 lines, ruled in brown, of written text in Latin. The text is a fine example of the popular Medieval script, used extensively for French and Italian vernacular books, known as lettre bâtarde. The leaf is executed in red and blue tempera, gold and liquid gold on vellum on both sides. The recto opens with the ending of Psalm 41, Quare Tristis Es Anima Mea, and closes with a beautifully adorned and highly illuminated initial D, marking the beginning of Psalm 43, Deus Auribus Nostris Audivimus. Further decoration includes a hybrid head to the recto’s low right corner.  Although the original patron cannot be identified, the high quality and extensive use of gold leaf in this piece suggest that it likely belonged to a member of the court.

Date: Circa 1180 – 1223 AD.
Period: North-East France, period of King Philip II.
Condition: Extremely fine.
Product Code: MS-24
Category: Tags: ,

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. This exceptional leaf would have been probably produced in North-East France, perhaps in the region around Noyons, Soissons and Lyon. The 12th century was a period of artistic renaissance and renewal, with beautifully illuminated manuscripts recovered from the areas in North-East France, Ile de France and Champagne. Comparative material suggests that the leaf might have been calligraphed during the last part of the reign of King Philip II of France. Interestingly, the revised edition of the Grandes Chroniques de France (1332-1350), now at the British Library, shows many stylistic similarities with our leaf.

To learn more about Medieval manuscripts, please visit our relevant blog post: A Brief History of Manuscripts.

Dimensions L 17 x H 23.2 cm



Western Europe

You may also like…