"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1360 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
3.5 x 4.8 inches
8.9 x 12.2 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 tiny vellum leaf is from an early French Book of Hours. Each side has a single illuminated initial; one painted in blue and red pen work, and on verso a large initial painted in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. The text includes prayer, Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi, Quia per sanctam crucem Tuam redemisti mundum (We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world).
There are damp stains in the margins, else very good.