Medieval Book of Hours Leaf c 1420-40 in French

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Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 15 lines of red-ruled French text, in dark brown ink, on animal vellum.(197 x 138 mm - 7.9 x 5.5") 

Three two-line illuminated initials alternating in blue & red with delicate white penwork & an interior floral design in red, blue & orange on a burnished gold ground - one into margin with a rinceaux floral motive in burnished gold & blue; three one-line illuminated initials & four illuminated line-extenders in burnished gold on red & blue ground with delicate white penwork.

Text is surrounded on 3 sides with an elegant rinceaux panel border in a delicate floral motif with ivy leaves in red, blue, green, orange & burnished gold, and an illuminated bar extends beyond the length of the text in red, blue & burnished gold.  Northern France (Paris), c. 1420-40.

This leaf begins one of the most popular 15th century prayers:  the Fifteen Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The prayer celebrates the joyous moments of the Virgin Mary's life (The Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity...ending with the Assumption into Heaven). Each two-line illuminated ''E'' begins:  ''E tres doulce dame...'' (Very sweet lady...)

Books of Hours are personal prayer books of a devout and status-conscious society and are not only works of art, but cultural documents of their time. They reveal a unique combination of sacred and secular imagery - made of the finest materials, by the best craftsmen, for a small audience, which could both appreciate and afford them.

Presented in an archival 14x11'' mat

  • Inventory Number: IM-10901
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