"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1430 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.4 x 5.9 inches
11.2 x 15 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 one large initials and one line filler in red and blue and burnished gold leaf, as well as a decorative panel in the margin on the recto with ivy and flowers. The text is from Isaiah 7, verses 14 and 15. Beginning with the large initial "E" on the recto, the text translates as:
Behold, a virgin will conceive, and she will give birth to a son, and his name will be called Immanuel.
He will eat butter and honey, so that he may know to reject evil and to choose good.
Lightly toned with a few minute worm holes only visible when held to light.