An original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. On each side of the page are 25 lines of text, arranged in two columns, and written in red and brown ink. The script, known as lettre-batarde, has been written on animal vellum. Fillers and line-endings are decorated with red and blue ink, as well as some gold infill. Elaborate panel border of acanthus and floral motifs are also highlighted with liquid gold. The obverse is believed to red from the Book of Mark, specifically chapter 16:1, due to the mention of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome at the top of the second column.
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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