"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1450 (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.
This vellum leaf is from a French Book of Hours, written in or near Rouen. The text is written in Latin in regular book hand in brown ink. The leaf is embellished with one large initial, ten small initials, and several line fillers in red and blue ink and burnished gold, as well as a decorative panel in the left margin with leaves and flowers. Beginning with the large initial "D" on verso, the text is Psalm 130, and translates as:
Lord, my heart is not exalted: nor are my eyes lofty. Neither have I walked in great matters, nor in wonderful things above me.
If I was not humbly minded, but exalted my soul: As a child that is weaned is towards his mother, so reward in my soul.
Let Israel hope in the Lord, from henceforth now and for ever.
There is some staining and warping along the top and right edges of the leaf. Remnants of hinge tape on recto.