"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1485 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.8 x 6.9 inches
12.2 x 17.5 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 buttery vellum leaf is from a French Book of Hours, written in or near Tours. The text is written in Latin in regular book hand in brown ink and includes two large and several small initials illuminated in red and blue ink and burnished gold. On verso is part of the Gospel of Matthew, which translates in part as:
In the fourth book of Kings we read, that Ochozias was the son of Joram. On his death, Josabeth, sister of [p. 26] Ochozias and daughter of Joram, took Joash, her brother's son, and preserved him from the slaughter of the royal seed by Athalias. To Joash succeeded his son Amasias; after him his son Azarias, who is called Ozias; after him his son Joatham. Thus you see according to historical truth there were three intervening kings, who are omitted by the Evangelist. Joram, moveover, begot not Ozias, but Ochozias, and the rest as we have related. But because it was the purpose of the Evangelist to make each of the three periods consist of fourteen generations, and because Joram had connected himself with Jezebel's most impious race, therefore his posterity to the third generation is omitted in tracing the lineage of the holy birth.
A bright example with minor marginal soiling and three tiny worm holes.