"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1430 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
2.6 x 3.5 inches
6.6 x 8.9 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 is a lovely, tiny vellum leaf from a Book of Hours created in Tours/Rouen around 1430. The book was so small, it must have been the property of a lady who carried it in her purse. This leaf includes 9 initials in red, blue and burnished gold, as well as vines and leaves in the margins on verso. The leaf includes most of Psalm 149, and translates as:
Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: and let the children of Sion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in choir: let them sing to him with the timbrel and the psaltery.
For the Lord is well pleased with his people: and he will exalt the meek unto salvation.
The saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their beds.
The high praise of God shall be in their mouth: and two-edged swords in their hands:
To execute vengeance upon the nations, chastisements among the people:
To bind their kings with fetters, and their nobles with manacles of iron.
To execute upon them the judgment that is written: this glory is to all his saints.
Light toning and soiling.