The initial of the preyer is rendered in grey and white pigment, standing against a golden background, and is further enriched by beautiful illumination, comprising finely detailed floral and foliage decoration. Each flower and fruit had a specific meaning in Christian symbolism and they were extensively used to deliver messages beyond the text in illuminated manuscripts. Psalm 121 is one of the 15 psalms categorized as a “Song of ascents”. This psalm was sung by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. At beginning of his pilgrimage, the pilgrim makes sure he is assisted with Lord’s help. The one who trusts the Lord is sure He will cast protection on him day and night.
The Book of Hours is a book of Christian devotion, which evolved from the psalter. It gained popularity during the Middle Ages, and typically consisted of psalms, prayers, and other devotional texts. It is the most common surviving type of manuscript, but each copy was unique – whether on account of a different selection of texts, or different decoration. As a result, books of this type offer some of the most interesting examples of medieval calligraphy and decorative practice.
To find out more about Medieval manuscripts please see our relevant blog post: Illuminated Manuscripts and Vellum Pages.