"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1460 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.9 x 6.5 inches
12.4 x 16.5 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 Parisian Book of Hours, written on a fine sheet of buttery, white vellum in black ink. The leaf is decorated with three large initials and two small initials 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 the Hours of the Holy Spirit and the Mass of the Virgin. The red rubrics indicate at which hours the prayers should be read. Beginning on verso at the large initial "O" the text translates into English as:
All powerful and everlasting God, grant us the grace of the holy spirit which your disciples bestowed upon us on the holy day of Pentecost. At the sixth hour of the day (noon).
Very light soiling with one tiny tear at right that has been professionally repaired.