2 Breviary Leaves - Christmas Season Homilies - Bifolium c.1475


Original continuous bifolium leaves from a medieval manuscript Breviary.  31 lines written in Latin in double columns with dark brown and red ink on animal vellum. (Each leaf: 187 x 135mm – 7 3/8 x 5 ¼’’)  France, c. 1475.

This is the center pair of leaves from a signature, thus the text is continuous from the recto of the first leaf to the verso, then to the recto of the second leaf and finally to its verso. Scarce, because that can only happen on the center bifolium. The two joined leaves impart the feeling and appearance of an open medieval book !

Fifteen two-line illuminated initials alternating in red & white or blue & white, with a floral or geometric interior - all on a burnished gold ground, and twelve extending into the margin with a delicate rinceaux border in red, blue, green, yellow burnished gold.    

A lavishly embellished leaf in remarkably fine condition -  containing text concerning the Christmas Season.

It concludes a homily on the Nativity by Bishop and Saint Maximus of Turin (c. 350-415). He was the first Bishop of Turin. Around 100 of his sermons have survived.

Following, the two-line illuminated “S” begins a homily on Luke, Chapter 2, by the Venerable Bede “Sanctum venerandamque presentis festi memoriam paucis quid…”.  St. Bede (c. 673-735) was an English Benedictine monk and first English historian. His Historica Ecclesiastica is the single most valuable source for the history of the period.

The two-line illuminated “I” begins Luke 2:21:  “In illo…” (And at that time: After eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb).

The two-line “I” begins Matthew 2:19-20: “In illo tempore: Defuncto…” (At that time: When Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, saying: Arise and take the child and his mother and go into the land of Israel For they are dead that sought the life of the child).

Presented in an archival 11 x 14'' mat

  • Inventory Number: IM-12114