Illuminated Vellum Leaf


A finely decorated vellum leaf from a Renaissance Book of Hours, containing one single column of 20 lines, ruled in red, of written text in Latin. The text is a fine example of the popular Medieval script, used extensively for French vernacular books, known as lettre bâtarde. The leaf is executed in red, green, black, blue, grey and gold. The column is lined with a golden border which mimics an actual frame. This leaf features a series of illuminated and beautifully rendered initials, with the most elaborate one highlighting the beginning of Psalm 121, Levavi oculos meos in monte.


Date: 15th century AD
Condition: Extremely fine, the leaf has been professionally framed and trimmed.


SKU: VB-45 Category: Tags: , ,

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.

Weight 450 g
Dimensions W 22.5 x H 27.5 cm



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