"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1470 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.4 x 6 inches
11.2 x 15.2 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 buttery vellum leaf is from a French Book of Hours, written in or near Rouen. The text is written in French in regular book hand in brown ink. The leaf is superbly embellished with two large initials, three small initials, and one line filler in red and blue ink and burnished gold, as well as a decorative panel filling almost the entire leaf on verso and part of the left margin on recto with leaves and flowers. The verso, beginning with the large letter "D" is the beginning of the devotional of the seven requests to our Lord; the recto includes the end of the prayer of the 15 Joys of the Virgin Mary.
Light soiling with some abrasions and rubbing.