A Book of Hours Leaf - c 1450-75 - Litany of the Saints


Original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 15 lines of hand-ruled text written in Latin on animal vellum in brown ink. (184 x 125mm – 7 ¼ x 4 7/8’’) 

Twenty-six one-line illuminated initials and twenty-six line extender in burnished gold on red and blue ground with delicate white penwork. The panel borders contain a highly decorative floral design with flowers, berries, and acanthus leaves in blue, red, green, pink, and burnished gold.                 

France (Anjou), Use of Angers, c. 1450-75.

The one-line illuminated “S” Continues the Litany of the Saints (first prescribed by Pope Gregory in 590 for a public thanksgiving following a plague that ravaged Rome Names of saints are listed with each invocation followed by the abbreviation for “ora pro nobis” (Pray for us). Among the saints listed are: Sts. Michael (patron of battles), Gabriel (patron of telecommunication), Peter (patron of fishermen), Paul (patron of tent makers), Andrew (patron of fisherman), John (patron of theologians), and Thomas (patron of architects).

Angers was the cradle of the Plantagenet dynasty and one of the intellectual centers of Europe during the reign of Rene of Anjou, (1434-80). When this leaf was scribed the two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty, House of Lancaster & House of York, were engaged in the War of the Roses.

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory Number: IM-12578