"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1430 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.3 x 6 inches
10.9 x 15.2 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.
A nice vellum manuscript from a French Book of Hours, in the style of a Rouen scriptorium. Written in brown and red ink, the leaf has two large initials and numerous small initials and line fillers in red and blue and burnished gold leaf, as well as decorative panels in the margins with ivy and flowers. The text, from the Gospel of Luke, is the Magnificat (also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary), beginning with the large "M" on the recto. The beginning of the Magnificat text translates in English as:
My soul: doth magnify our Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Lightly toned with minor soiling and a few tiny worm holes.