An original illuminated vellum leaf from a Medieval Book of Hours. It contains 12 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 and blue tempera, gold and liquid gold on vellum on both sides. The recto contains one highly illuminated initial, P highlighting the beginning the prayer Pelli meae consumptis carnibus. The initial, standing on a liquid gold ground, is further enriched by an elaborate acanthus and floral motif in red, blue pigment and liquid gold.
Date: Possibly Paris, France, circa 1410. Condition: Extremely fine.
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.
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