The “Song of the Three Children” c.1500 Hours leaf.

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Pretty illuminations on both sides.


The “Song of the Three Children”, also called “A Song of Creation”, or simply The Benedicite, is a canticle taken from the book of Daniel in the Apocrypha. (The Greek translation of Daniel contained material not in the original Hebrew.) The three children, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego  recite or sing this song as they stand in the flames of Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace.

Verso: 16 lines of text in Latin written on vellum in brown ink. Ruled in red and rubrics in red. One two-line and three one-line initials in liquid gold on alternating red and blue grounds.   A panel of illuminations beside the text includes blue and liquid gold acanthus leaves and other flowers & foliage.

Recto:  As Verso with five illuminated initials, two line fillers and a similar illuminated panel.

Source:  France.

Date:   c.1500.

Content: The leaf is from the Hours of the Virgin 1, Matins.

An antiphon begins on the third line of Verso: In odorem unguentorum tuorum currimus: adolescentulae dilexerunt te nimis.

(Into the odour of thy ointments we run: young maidens have loved thee.)

The Benedicite begins at the two-line gold & blue initial ‘B’:

Benedicite, omnia opera Domini, Domino; laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.

Benedicite, caeli, Domino, benedicite, angeli Domini, Domino.

Benedicite, aquae omnes, quae super caelos sunt, Domino, benedicat omnis virtutis Domino.

O all ye Works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

O ye Angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord : praise him, and magnify him for ever.

O ye Heavens, bless ye the Lord : O ye waters that be above the firmament, bless ye the Lord.

Condition: The leaf is in excellent condition, with just some edge browning. The beautifully executed illuminations retain their original bright colours and lustrous gold. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Size: Leaf: c.135x90 mm. Text and illuminated area : c.75x75 mm.

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.

Item Number: MBH139

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