"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1450 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.8 x 6.7 inches
12.2 x 17 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 beautifully decorated vellum leaf from a French Book of Hours. The text is written in a regular gothic book hand, in brown/black ink with the rubrics in red ink. The simple decoration includes large initials in blue, red and burnished gold leaf, each with pen work extending into the margins. There are also line fillers in blue and burnished gold leaf. The recto begins with Psalm 149, verse 8, and ends with Psalm 150:
To bind their kings with fetters, and their nobles with manacles of iron.
To execute upon them the judgment that is written: this glory is to all his saints. Alleluia.
Praise ye the Lord in his holy places: praise ye him in the firmament of his power.
Praise ye him for his mighty acts: praise ye him according to the multitude of his greatness.
Praise him with sound of trumpet: praise him with psaltery and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and choir: praise him with strings and organs.
Praise him on high sounding cymbals: praise him on cymbals of joy:
let every spirit praise the Lord.
Some small stains and toning, mostly in the margins.