"Horae D[omi]nae Iohannae", Anon.
Subject: Prayer Book
Period: 1350-1450 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4 x 5.5 inches
10.2 x 14 cm
This little manuscript prayer book is made up of a 14th century Book of Hours written in Latin and a prayer book written in French, probably from the late 15th century when the use of the vernacular became popular. The book contains 116 vellum leaves with text written in a regular gothic book hand in brown/black ink with the rubrics in red. The decoration of the first part of the book is typical of the 14th century scriptoriums of Northern France; large initials illuminated in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf, with some decorations embellished with dragon heads. There are about 15 large, 4-line initials and many smaller initials throughout the text in the same colors and pen work. The book begins with the Passion of Our Lord with the first text from the Gospel according to St. John. At the end are many prayers in French including some prayers to Katherine, who may have been the patron saint of the original owner of the book. The book has been rebound, likely early 20th century, in brown suede with silver-plated brass clasps. A new title page, Horae Dominae Iohannae (Hours of Lady Johanna) has been added with decorative endpapers in the medieval style. The pages have been numbered in pencil. At least one leaf is missing: page 5 starts with psalm 1 verse 1, but the first line of this verse is missing.
Some water stains throughout, mostly on edges. Last leaf is faded. Some of the larger decorations have been trimmed at the top by a previous binder. Still remarkable condition for such an early book.