Elaborate foliate panels, beloved hymn, Hours leaf, c.1490.

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"Ave maris stella" (Latin for 'Hail, star of the sea') is a Marian hymn sung at Vespers from about the ninth century. Its frequent occurrence in the Divine Office made it popular in the Middle Ages, and has been used by composers including Palestrina, Byrd, Monteverdi, Dvorak, Grieg and Liszt as the basis of other compositions.

The text is not found written by 9th-century hands, but as a tenth-century addition in two 9th-century manuscripts, one from Salzburg now in Vienna and the other still at the Abbey of Saint Gall.  The hymn is frequently used as a prayer for the safe conduct of travellers.

Verso: 15 lines of text in Latin written in an assured lettre bâtarde bookhand on vellum. Ruled in red.  Two illuminated two-line initials ‘A’ in liquid gold with fine penwork on red grounds and one one-line gold initial on a blue ground. Beside the text is an illuminated panel of elaborate foliate designs in gold and blue on a dark red background a section of red and blue flowers with green leaves on liquid gold

Recto:   As Verso, with four one-line initials and one line filler.  The panel of illuminations includes a section of blue with white penwork, a red and gold section and red and blue flowers with green leaves on liquid gold

Source:  France.

Date:   c.1490.

Content:   The first two-line illuminated ‘A’ on Verso begins the Capitulum in the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Vespers:

Ab initio, et ante saecula creata sum, et usque ad futurum saeculum non desinam: et in habitatione sancta coram ipso ministravi.

(From the beginning, and before worlds was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease: and in the holy habitation have I ministered before him.)

The second initial ‘A’ begins the hymn Ave maris stella:

Ave maris stella,

Dei mater alma,  Atque semper virgo,

Felix caeli porta.  Sumens illud Ave,

Gabrielis ore, Funda nos in pace,

Mutans Evae nomen.

All hail star of the sea,

God's mother clear and bright, The happy gate of bliss,

And still in virgin's plight. Receiving that all hail,

Which Gabriel's mouth did give, Establish us in peace,

Changing the name of Eve.

Condition: The Verso is in very good condition with just some darkening to the outer edge. Recto has some smudging to the black outline of the illuminated panel and darkening to the outer edge  There is a small area of water staining on the inside margin which is masked off by the mat. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Size: Leaf: c.170x125 mm.  Please note that shipping is invoiced separately.

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: MBH157.

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