Medieval Book of Hours Leaf with Illumination
A spectacular, previously unknown example of a leaf from a Psalter. The piece dates from the reign of King Philip Augustus (1179-1223), and was illuminated in Northern France.
The text opens with a beautifully executed and intricately illuminated initial “A” (‘Audite hec omnes gentes’), which opens Psalm 48. The velum is decorated with gold leaf, liquid gold, and red and blue tempera. It contains twenty-one lines of text on the recto and verso in the finest angular Gothic script, featuring numerous initials ornamented with gold leaf, and highlighted by pen work ornamentation in red and blue. Red ink, blue ink, and gold leaf are also used as a variety of colourful line fillers.
Probably produced in North-eastern France, perhaps in the region around Noyons, Soissons, and Lyon, or at least strongly influenced by court productions from this area. Although its original patron cannot be identified, the lavish use of gold leaf and high artistic quality leads us to suspect that the work was made for a member of the court.
Circa AD 1179 - 1223Condition:
Extremely fine condition.
The Book of Hours is a literary work of Christian devotion, which gained popularity during the Middle Ages. In addition to their stimulating content, comprising psalms, prayers, and devotional texts, these books are among the most interesting examples of medieval calligraphy and decorative practice. This leaf was almost certainly influenced by manuscripts produced in Ile-de-France, especially those of the Abbey of St. Victor. Comparative material suggests this piece dates from the last part of the reign of King Philip Augustus.
To discover more about Medieval manuscripts please visit our relevant blog post: Illuminated Manuscripts & Vellum Pages.