"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1475 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.6 x 6.4 inches
11.7 x 16.3 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.
This fine vellum leaf is from a Parisian Book of Hours. It is decorated on both sides with initials, line fillers and floral panels in the margins, all colorfully painted and illuminated with burnished gold leaf. The text is from the Office of the Blessed Virgin, Vespers, part of the famous songs Stella Maris and the Magnificat.
There is a smudge on the recto, else fine.