French Manuscript Leaf with Saint Julian of Brioude

£ 1,295.00

A beautifully decorated vellum leaf from a Late Medieval early Renaissance Franco-Flemish Book of Hours, dating to the 15th century. The leaf contains two columns of written text in Latin, a fine example of the popular Medieval script, used extensively for French vernacular books, known as lettre bâtarde. The leaf is executed in brown, red, green, yellow and blue tempera, gold and liquid gold on both sides. Initials are beautifully rendered in liquid gold, standing on colourfully painted grounds. The recto left border displays an elaborate panel of acanthus and floral motifs, rendered in blue, yellow and green tempera, with finely detailed flowers, fruits and leaves. The recto features also an extremely elaborate initial, letter S, rendered in dark blue ink, standing on a purple ground, further enriched by gold scrolls. To the centre the refiguration of a saint, portrayed standing, wearing a full armour, and holding a long cross-topped spear and a shield. The figure is rendered in gold pigment, emerging from a red ground. The capital S marks the beginning of the life of Saint Julian of Brioude: Sanctus igitur Iulianus Viennensi ortus urbe. The miniature of the saint matches the iconography of Saint Julian of Brioude, who is usually portrayed richly armoured and holding a long staff or sword. An exquisite leaf testifying the refinement of Medieval and Renaissance amanuensis and calligraphers.

Date: Circa 15th Century AD
Condition: Extremely fine, with pigments still visible. Some minor loss of pigments to the recto.
Product Code: MS-27
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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 specific leaf contains lives of saints, which would have been read as act of devotion. Lists of saints would have been featured in Books of Hours for personal devotions, but also in lectionaries used in in monasteries and cathedrals.

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

Dimensions H 17.2 cm
Material

Vellum

Region

Western Europe

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