Flemish Book of Hours leaf, c. 1475

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“Lest sometime he as a Lion violently take my soul…”



Recto:  Text in Latin written on vellum in brown ink an assured Gothic bookhand.   Ruled in red and rubrics in red.   One two-line illuminated initial ‘D’ in raised and burnished gold on a ground of blue and pink outlined in black and with white penwork.  5 one-line initials alternating in blue with red penwork and burnished gold with black penwork, two with decorative penwork extending into the left margin.


Verso:  As Recto, with a further 7 one-line illuminated initials, one with marginal extensions..


Origin:  Flanders


Date:   c.1475


Content:  The text is from the Office of the Dead, First Nocturne. The first lines of Recto are the end of Psalm 5.  …secundum multitudinem impietatum eorum expelle eos: quoniam irritaverunt te Domine. Et laetentur omnes, qui sperant in te: in aeternum exultabunt, et habitabis in eis. Et gloriabuntur in te omnes, qui diligunt nomen tuum: quoniam tu benedices iusto.  Domine ut scuto bonae voluntatis tuae: coronasti nos. (…according to the multitude of their impieties expel them: because they have provoked thee O Lord.  And let all be glad, that hope in thee: they shall rejoice forever, and thou shalt dwell in them.  And all that love thy name, shall glory in thee: because thou wilt bless the just.  Lord as with a shield, of thy good will: thou hast crowned us.

Then follows the Requiem and two antiphons before the two-line illuminated initial ’D’ begins Psalm 7 which continues on Verso: Domine Deus meus in te speravi: salvum me fac ex omnibus persequentibus me, et libera me.  Nequando rapiat ut leo animam meam: dum non est qui redimat, neque qui salvum faciat.  (O Lord my God I have hoped in thee: save me from all that persecute me, and deliver me.  Lest sometime he as a Lion violently take my soul: whilst there is none to redeem nor to save.)


Condition:  The leaf is in good condition, showing only minor ink loss and slightly rubbed gold. It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.  Please note that postage is invoiced separately.  Australia $22.50. Overseas: ask for quote.


Notes:  Books of Hours were prayer books designed for the laity who wished to emulate the cycle of daily devotions followed by the clergy but without taking actual vows.  The contents grew out of the psalter but included a mixed variety of other types of material - hymns, lessons, biblical readings, calendars etc. Its central text is the Hours of the Virgin. There are eight Hours (times for prayer): Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline.


The Office of the Dead (its old name was Office for the Dead) was in the back of every Book of Hours the way death itself was always at the back of the medieval mind.   It was the cause of considerable anguish for medieval men and women to think of the potentially long periods of time their relatives would spend in the painful fires of purgatory. Along with the funding of funerary Masses, praying the Office was considered the most efficacious means of reducing this fiery price of obtaining paradise. These aids were essential, because only the living could help the dead. The Office of the Dead includes a moving series of readings from the Old Testament Book of Job. The trials endured by Job become an allegory for one's time on earth, or one’s relatives in purgatory.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 195x135 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx. 110x80 mm.


Stock No:  MBH102a

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