"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1470 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.3 x 6.6 inches
10.9 x 16.8 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.
A very nice vellum leaf of a French Book of Hours was written around 1450 in Paris or Rouen. Most striking is the elaborate penwork decoration in red, blue and black, especially around the large initials. There is quite a bit of burnished gold leaf on the initials and the line fillers. This is a passage from Psalms praising God and all creation.
Lightly smudged on the recto, still very good.