"[Illuminated Leaf]", Bois, Simon du
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1527 (published)
Publication: Hore in laudem beatissime virginis Marie…
Color: Hand Color
5.2 x 7 inches
13.2 x 17.8 cm
Book of Hours were prayer books designed for the laity, but modeled on the Divine Office, a cycle of daily devotions, prayers and readings, performed by members of religious orders and the clergy. Its central text is the Hours of the Virgin. There are eight hours (times for prayer ): Matins, Lauds. Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. During the Middle Ages, the leaves making up a Book of Hours were written by hand on expensive parchment and beautifully illuminated with jewel-like pigments and gold leaf. These illuminated manuscripts combined the collaborative efforts of an array of highly skilled craftspeople; requiring the joint labors of the parchmenter, professional scribes to write the text in Gothic script, artists to illuminate the pages with decorations, and masterful binders to complete the process.
Beautifully decorated vellum leaf printed for Geoffroy Tory on Oct. 22, 1527. This is a fine example of the transitional period at the beginning of the 16th century with the text and illustrations printed, and the initials and decorations illuminated by hand. This leaf is decorated in the Italian style with unusual woodcut illustrations of flowers, insects, and animals, including a great dragon. In the bottom margin on both sides are beautiful crowns. The text is from Seven Penitential Psalms.
A translation of part of the text (Psalm 6) is as follows: O Lord, rebuke me not in thy indignation, nor chastise me in thy wrath. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak: heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. And my soul is troubled exceedingly: but thou, O Lord, how long? Turn to me, O Lord, and deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercy's sake.