c 1470-90 Medieval Book of Hours Leaf - The Deposition


Original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 14 lines of Latin text, ruled in red with rubrics in red. Written in angular gothic bookhand on animal vellum. (147 x 95 mm - 5.9 x 3.8").

One illuminated two-line initial in pink on a blue ground with an interior having a blue lion on a liquid gold ground; one illuminated two-line initial in pink on a blue ground; one one-line initial in red on a pink ground.  Panel border in a floral motif in blue, white, green and yellow with an owl (attribute of Christ, who sacrificed Himself to save mankind) on a deep red ground.

France (Bourges or Chalons-sur-Marne ?), c. 1470-90.

Miniature painting (73 x 50mm) of The Deposition:  Christ is shown being removed from the cross with the Virgin Mary kneeling beneath, arms outstretched to receive his body - His bloody wounds evident. Nicodemus, on the ladder, hands Christ's body to Joseph of Arimathea who stands to the right of the Virgin Mary. Set in a landscape with tower in background. The elaborate border surrounding the miniature show diverse floral motif and birds (including 3 owls, and a snail) on a liquid gold ground.

The two-line ''F'' begins the prayer: ''Famulorum...'' (Forgive, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the sins of Thy servants, that we, who by our own deeds are unable to please Thee, may be saved...). The two-line illuminated ''D'' begins:  ''Deus...'' (Incline unto my aid O God). 

Provenance: from a Book of Hours once owned by the Marquis de Courtanvaux (1718-81), and later by the American collector Henry Walton (d. 2007) - described in the Ricci Census supplement, p.518 no.A-103. It was sold at Bloomsbury NY 4-3-2009 , lot 15 and subsequently dispersed. Leaves have appeared at Reiss & Sohn and Sotheby's London. The leaf with the Courtanvaux owner's mark was removed from the parent manuscript before 1973 when it was acquired by the University of South Carolina Collection: id Early MS67.

This is a remarkably attractive leaf in spite of obvious devotional use. There is some rubbing, particularly in the lower outer border, and a small burn at the blank lower right edge.

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# IM-10272
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