Book of Hours leaf c.1470 in medieval French


Prayers to Saints Sebastien and Gaon.


Recto: 17 lines of text in French written in a Gothic bookhand in brown ink on vellum. Rubrics in red.  One two-line illuminated initial ‘O’ in pink outlined in black and finished with fine white penwork. The initial is on a ground of raised & burnished gold and is infilled with an elaborate coloured foliate design.  Extending from the initial into the left margin are black tendrils bearing coloured flowers and gold ivy leaves. One line filler in pink, black and blue with intricate white penwork and raised & burnished gold ovals. 


Verso:  As Recto, text only.


Source:  Northern France


Date:   c.1470


Content:  The illuminated initial ‘O’ begins the prayer to “Saint Sebastien ton glorieus martyr.” 

Verso includes part of a prayer to Saint Gaon.


Condition:  This leaf is in excellent condition with clear text on fine, clean vellum, bright illuminations and lustrous gold.  The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 150x110 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx.100x75 mm. Please note that packing & postage is invoiced separately.  Australia: $22.50.  Overseas, ask for quote.   


Notes:   The French language, originally just a vernacular, started developing in the area known as Île-de-France, the region surrounding Paris where most of the royal administration took place. While it was at first a regional dialect, it eventually expanded and became the kingdom's “langue maternelle,” or mother tongue. In French society in the Middle Ages Latin was considered to be at the very top of the linguistic hierarchy while French, along with the various regional dialects in France such as Gascon, Occitan or Provençal, was considered the language of the common people. Books of Hours, however, were primarily owned by laymen and women, individuals who were not part of the clergy.  These individuals increasingly preferred that prayers to saints they were particularly devoted to be in French, rather than Latin, and partial vernacular text in Books of Hours became more prevalent in the second half of of the 15th century.  

Item No:  MBH080

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