"[Illuminated Leaf] ", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1335 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
3.6 x 4.7 inches
9.1 x 11.9 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 early manuscript on vellum was written in Tournai, Belgium. This leaf has three large initials illuminated in red, black, white and burnished gold leaf, along with a superb vine decoration in the left blank margin. The lines used by the scribe to keep the text straight can be faintly seen. The text includes the Lord's Prayer beginning with the large "P" on recto, which translates as:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Light toning and soiling with a small hole at bottom right.