"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1480 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
4.4 x 6.1 inches
11.2 x 15.5 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.
A nice vellum manuscript written in black ink with eight small initials in red and blue ink with burnished gold leaf. In this example, the scribe has omitted a phrase on verso, which he has marked with X's and added at the bottom of the leaf. Beginning with the initial "G" at top on recto, the text translates as:
Rejoice, O mother of wretches all,
For the Father, that is eternal,
To them that do thee reverence
In this world gives them wages
And a place in the heavenly stages
In the kingdom of excellence.
Rejoice, O mother of Jesus Christ,
Which wast alone most worthiest,
O virgin immaculate,
To be of such high dignity
That next to the blessed Trinity
In place thou art now collocate.
Rejoice, O mother maiden pure,
And of this be certain and sure,
That these joys seven
Shall neither diminish, nor also cease,
But still continue and ever increase
While the Father is in heaven.
Light soiling with a small remnant of hinge tape on recto at top.