Book of Hours leaf. France/Flanders, c.1475.

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"Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them."

Verso:  17 lines of text in Latin written on vellum in an accomplished gothic bookhand,  Ruled in red and rubrics in red.  Capitals touched in yellow.  One two-line illuminated initial ‘D’ in raised and burnished gold on a blue and salmon ground outlined in black and finished with fine white penwork.  Three decorative one-line initials in blue enclosed by fine red penwork and two one-line illuminated initial in raised and burnished gold enclosed by black penwork.

Recto:   Six one-line illuminated initials alternating in blue with red penwork and raised and burnished gold with black penwork, one with red penwork radiating into the top margin

Origin:   Flanders/Northern France.

Date:   c.1475.

Content:  The text is from the Office for the Dead*, Matins, First Nocturne.  The blue initial 'R' on the fourth line of Verso begins the prayer:

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis. (Eternal rest give unto them O Lord: and let perpetual light shine unto them.)

Then follows the antiphon:

Dirige Domine Deus meus in conspectu tuo viam meam. (Direct O Lord God my way in thy sight.)

The gold 'D' begins Psalm 6:

Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me: neque in ira tua corripias me.

Miserere mei Domine, quoniam infirmus sum: sana me Domine, quoniam conturbata sunt ossa mea.

Et anima mea turbata est valde: sed tu Domine usquequo.

Convertere Domine, et eripe animam meam: salvum me fac propter misericordiam tuam.

(Lord rebuke me not in thy fury: nor chastise me in thy wrath.

Have mercy on me Lord, because I am weak: heal me Lord, because all my bones be troubled.

And my soul is troubled exceedingly: but thou Lord how long.

Turn thee O Lord, and deliver my soul: save me for thy mercy.)

Condition:  The leaf is in very good/excellent condition. The edges of the vellum have darkened over the centuries and there is a clear spot in the bottom margin (candle-wax?), but the text and colours remain bright and the high quality gilding shines.  The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Size:  Leaf: approx. 190x130 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, litanies etc. Its central text is the Hours of the Virgin.  The eight "Hours" (times for prayer) are

Matins and Lauds at night or upon rising

Prime (first Hour) at 6:00 a.m.

Terce (third Hour) at 9:00 a.m.

Sext (sixth Hour) at noon

Nones (ninth Hour) at 3:00 p.m.

Vespers (evensong) in the early evening

Compline           before retiring.

*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.  While the name may conjure images of grief and decay, in fact praying The Office was an act of love.  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.

Item No:   MBH203

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