A Book of Hours leaf w exceptional illumination - Italy c 1470


Original leaf from a small medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 13 lines of text, ruled in red, written in Latin with dark brown ink & red rubrics in fine rounded gothic script on animal vellum. (96 x 70mm – 3 ¾ x 2 7/8) 

One illuminated three-line initial in green, yellow, blue & red on a burnished gold ground with an interior floral motif and extending along the margin in a floral design in red, green, blue and burnished gold! One illuminated two-line initial in deep blue with red internal & external penwork. The penwork extends from the two-line initial into the margin.

Northern Italy (probably Ferrara), c. 1470.

The colorful initials are characteristic of Ferrarese illumination of the 1470’s – especially the work of Guglielmo Giraldi (Ref: Toniolo, La miniature a Ferrara (1998), pp. 214-223). The precise & elegant penwork flourishing is also represented in manuscripts of that workshop & similar to the ornamentation found in the pattern book of Guinfortus de Vicomercato (Ref: J. G. Alexander, The Painted Page, London 1994, p. 109).

The three-line “D” begins Psalm 69 (KJ 70): 1-2: “Deus…” (O God come to my assistance…).

The two-line “M” begins the hymn Memento Salutis (Remember O Creator Lord, that in the Virgin's sacred womb Thou wast conceived…).

Books of Hours are personal prayer books of a devout, status-conscious society. They are both works of art & cultural documents of their time. They are made of the finest materials, by the best craftsmen, for a small audience that could both appreciate and afford them.

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory Number: IM-12720