"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1460 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
3.8 x 5.3 inches
9.7 x 13.5 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 Book of Hours from Bruges, written in batarde script with several initials in red and blue pen work with some gold leaf decoration. The text is part of the Seven Penitential Psalms, beginning with Psalm 37 on the third line:
O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy furor; nor chastise me in Thy wrath.
For thy arrows are fastened in me: and Thy hand hath descended upon me.
There is no health in my flesh in the face of Thy wrath: there is no peace for my bones in the face of my sins.
For my iniquities are gone over my head: and are a heavy burden too heavy to bear.