"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1460 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.8 x 6.4 inches
12.2 x 16.3 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. The leaf is decorated with one large and seven small initials as well as four line fillers illuminated in red, blue, white and burnished gold leaf. Both sides feature decorative panels painted with gold leaves on hairline stems with colorful flowers and fruits. The text is from Psalm 8. Beginning on recto at the large initial "D" the text translates into English as:
O Lord, our Lord,
how wonderful is your name in the whole earth!
Since your magnificence is lifted above the heavens.
You have brought praise from the mouths of babies
and infants because of your enemies,
so that you may destroy the enemy and avenger.
So I will see your heavens, the works of your fingers,
the moon and stars which you created.
Minor marginal soiling.