A Book of Hours leaf - c 1450-75 - miniature of the Annunciation


Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 14 lines, ruled in red and written in Latin with dark brown ink on animal vellum. (170 x 130 mm – 6 ¾ x 5 1/8‘‘) 

One three-line initial and one two-line initial illuminated in colors of pink/blue with an ivy leaf design on a gold ground; five one-line illuminated initials in gold on alternating blue and red ground. Panel border decoration filled with delicate gold ivy sprigs, berries and flowers with acanthus sprays in the corner.   Pictured and described in Manuscripts Sacred and Secular; Boston University, Figure 30, # 105.

Northern France (Normandy, Use of Coutances), c. 1450-75.

MINIATURE PAINTING OF THE ANNUNCIATION:  The Angel Gabriel with blue and white wings, wearing a gold houpeland garment kneels behind the Virgin Mary.  Mary kneels before an orange-curtained prie-dieu with an open book and turns to face Gabriel.  A spiraling scroll unfolds between them with the inscription “Ave maria…” A white dove descends between Mary and the scroll.  A dark starry sky is seen above with the face of God-Father at upper right looking down from heaven. The miniature is surrounded with serrated lunette frame.

This impressive painting, done in a strong provincial style, opens the Hours of the Virgin, Hour of Matins. The initial “D” begins: “Domine labia mea…”  (Lord, Thou shalt open my lips. And my mouth shall sing thy praise. Incline unto my aid O God. O Lord make haste to help me.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be world without end amen. Alleluia, Alleluia. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee).

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory Number: IM-12714