Intricate Flemish penwork. Hours leaf, Flanders, c.1450.

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Illuminated Book of Hours leaf, Flanders, c.1450.

    “My tears have been my bread by day and by night…”    

Recto: Text in Latin written in a rounded Gothic bookhand on vellum.   Ruled in red and rubrics in red.  Capitals touched in yellow..  Five one-line illuminated initials alternating in liquid gold with black penwork and blue with red penwork.  The first two initials have intricate penwork radiating into the margins. The lively, almost playful nature of the penwork flourishes is typical of Flemish decoration..

Verso:   As Recto, with two one-line initials with contrasting penwork.

Origin:  Flanders

Date:   c.1450

Content: The text on Recto is a section of Psalm 41 (KJV42):

In die mandavit Dominus misericordiam suam: et nocte canticum eius. Apud me oratio Deo vitæ meæ,

(In the daylight, the Lord has ordered his mercy; and in the night, a canticle to him. With me is a prayer to the God of my life.)

The psalm continues to 41:12 on Verso,  then follows the antiphon:

Sitivit anima mea ad Deum fortem vivum:

quando veniam et apparebo ante faciem Dei?

Fuerunt mihi lacrymae meae panes die ac nocte,

(My soul has thirsted for the living God:

When shall I come and appear before the face of my God?

My tears have been my bread by day and by night.)

Condition:  The leaf is in excellent condition on clean vellum and with bright illuminations.  A  small  pale stain in the top margin is masked off by the mat.  It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

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.

“In a kind of bibliophilic jealousy, medieval laypeople sought for themselves a book that paralleled the clergy’s Breviary. They found it in the Book of Hours, a book that bestowed direct, democratic access to God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints, unmediated by the Church”.  Roger S. Wieck. “Painted Prayers”.

Size: Leaf: approx. 115x85 mm.  Please note that shipping is quoted separately.

Item No:  MBH180

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