"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1460 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.8 x 6.3 inches
12.2 x 16 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 pretty leaf from a Parisian Book of Hours, written on a fine sheet of buttery, white vellum in black ink. Both sides of the leaf are decorated with initials and line fillers illuminated in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf, as well as decorative panels painted with gold leaves on hairline stems with colorful flowers and fruits. Among the smaller initials are three X's, which are quite rare, and three of the line fillers are flowers. The text on recto begins:
Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi exaudi nos domine.
Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mu[n]di miserere nobis.
Xriste audi nos. Xriste exaudi nos.
Kyrie eleison. Xriste eleison.
This translates as:
Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world, hear us graciously, O Lord.
Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us.
Marginal soiling and one minute worm hole only visible when held to light.