Skylark in a Book of Hours leaf, c. 1500.

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Hours of the Virgin at Matins in a French Book of Hours leaf c.1500

with a skylark in the illuminations.

The bird depicted in the illuminations is a skylark - the joyous spirit of the divine was often symbolised by a skylark singing as it flew to heaven.

Verso:  22 lines of text in Latin written on vellum in black ink. Ruled in red and rubrics in red. . Nine one-line illuminated initials in gold alternating on red and blue grounds.  One two-line initial ‘D’ in gold, red and white. A panel of illuminations beside the text includes colourful acanthus leaves in blue and liquid gold and other flowers & foliage. A particularly finely painted skylark in flight and fine black seeding complete the illuminations.

Recto:  As Verso with different flowers in the illuminated panel.

Source:  France.

Date:   c.1500.

Content: The text is from the Hours of the Virgin at Matins. The text on Verso is the end section of Psalm 44 (KJV 45) followed by the doxology:

Gloria Patri, et Filio: et Spiritui sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper: et in saecula saeculorum, Amen

(Glory be to the Father, and to the Son: and to the Holy Ghost.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Psalm 45 (KJKV 46) begins at the two-line illuminated initial ‘D’:

Deus noster refugium, et virtus: adiutor in tribulationibus, quae invenerunt nos nimis. Propterea non timebimus, dum turbabitur terra: et transferentur montes in cor maris.

(Our God is a refuge, and strength: and helper in tribulations, which have found us exceedingly.Therefore will we not fear when the earth shall be troubled: and mountains transported into the heart of the sea.)

Condition:  The leaf is in very good condition, apart from a couple of spots in the bottom margin which are well away from the text and illuminations.  Some edge browning. The beautifully executed illuminations retain their original bright colours. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Size: Leaf: c.160x100 mm. Text and illuminated area : c.105x85 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.

A doxology is a short hymn of praise to God in various Christian liturgies.

Item Number:  MBH146

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