"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1300 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.1 x 5.6 inches
10.4 x 14.2 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 vellum leaf is from an early Breviary written in northern France or Flanders. The text is written in a single column (21 lines) in a clear gothic book hand in black and red ink. Each side has three large initials and a lovely left border in red and blue pen work.
Starting with the large "S" on the recto at top, the text translates as:
Receive o virgin Mary the word which is brought unto thee, from our Lord by the angel: thou shalt conceive and bring forth both God, and likewise man: that thou mayest be called blessed among all women.
The large "D" at the bottom of the recto is part of Luke 1:
The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. And he will reign in the house of Jacob for eternity.
Light soiling with numerous tiny holes and cracks caused by the oxidation of the black pigment.