"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1480 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.5 x 6.5 inches
11.4 x 16.5 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 is an unusual vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. It is written in a batarde letter with many vertical strokes, ruled in red, with the initials painted in blue and gold and alternately with gold leaf. The text is from the Hours of the Virgin, Lauds, the Psalms 62 and 66.
A small cut in the top margin has been mended with tiny stitches, probably contemporary to the manuscript.