"[Book of Hours Leaf]", Anon.
Period: 1570 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.3 x 6.4 inches
10.9 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.
A wonderful vellum leaf from a Parisian Book of Hours. The scribe used dark brown ink and wrote in a fine rounded roman hand. The recto includes a finely illuminated large initial M, and both sides have several smaller initials and delicately painted line fillers. The text is from the Office of the Dead, part of Psalm 137, and the whole Canticle of the Virgin, the Magnificat.
There is some minor soil in the margins.