"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1430 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
2.6 x 3.6 inches
6.6 x 9.1 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 is a lovely, tiny leaf from a Book of Hours created in France in the region between Tours and Rouen around 1430. The book was so small, it must have been the property of a lady who carried it in her purse. The are a number of initials in blue, red and burnished gold leaf, with the text is in dark brown ink. The text is part of Psalm 2, verses 4-11:
[They said: Let us break their bonds asunder:] and let us cast away their yoke from us.
He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them.
Then shall he speak to them in his anger: and trouble them in his rage.
But I am appointed king by him over Sion his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.
the Lord hath said to me: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance: and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron: and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.
Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.
Very light toning and soiling.