Early 15th C. Book of Hours leaf. Ivy illuminations


Recto: 15 lines of text in Latin written in in two sizes of an accomplished Gothic bookhand in black ink on vellum. Rubrics in red. One two-line illuminated initial ‘T’ in burnished gold outlined in black on a ground of blue with black and white penwork.  The initial is infilled in red and white. Extending from the initial and running the length of the text are black tendrils bearing burnished gold ivy leaves. Three one-line illuminated initials and two line fillers in red, blue, burnished gold and white.


Verso:  As Recto with five one-line initials and the catchwords et in mari (and in the sea) in the bottom margin.


Source:  Northern France.


Date:   c.1425


Content:  The text is from the Office of the Dead, at Lauds.  It begins towards the end of Psalm 50 (KJV 51) before the rubrics indicate the antiphon Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. (Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.)  Another antiphon follows:  Exaudi Domine (Hear O Lord.)  The two-line illuminated initial ’T’ begins Psalm 64 (KJV 65):  Te decet hymnus* Deus in Sion: et tibi reddetur votum in Hierusalem. Exaudi orationem me[am: ad te omnis caro veniet.] (A hymn O God becometh thee in Sion: and a vow shall be rendered to thee in Jerusalem. Hear my prayer: all flesh shall come to thee.)  The psalm continues on Verso.


Condition:  This leaf is in excellent condition with quality calligraphy on fine, clean vellum, bright illuminations and lustrous gold.  Minor edge browning is well away from the text. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 180x125 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx.100x75 mm.  Presented in a museum quality mat, ready for framing.  Please note that packing and postage is invoiced separately.  Within Australia: $22.50.  Overseas: ask for quote.


Notes:  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.

* The word hymnus is incorrectly written by the scribe as hympnus

 Item No:  MBH105

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