"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1335 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
3.6 x 4.8 inches
9.1 x 12.2 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 early manuscript on vellum was written in Tournai, Belgium. This leaf has one large initial illuminated in red, blue, 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 still be seen. The text includes Psalm 148 beginning with the large "L" on recto, which translates as:
Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise ye him in the high places.
Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts
Praise ye him, O sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars and light.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens: and let all the waters that are above the heavens
Praise the name of the Lord. For he spoke, and they were made: he commanded, and they were created.
Light toning and soiling.