Breviary leaf with jewel-like illuminated initials. 1475, France


Breviary for the Use of Sarum (Salisbury)



Verso:  Text in Latin written on high quality vellum in black ink in two sizes of an assured Gothic bookhand.  Pricking marks on the left and bottom margins. Ruled in red and rubrics in red.  Some initials touched in yellow.  Six exquisite two-line illuminated initials in pink and blue outlined in black and finished with fine white penwork and an internal foliate design. The initials are on highly burnished gold grounds and four have illuminations radiating into the margins of black tendrils bearing coloured acanthus and other flowers, green leaves and burnished gold ivy leaves and bezants.


Recto:  As Verso, with a further five equally exquisite illuminated initials.


Origin:  Northern France/Flanders, for the Use of Sarum (Salisbury).


Date:   c.1475


Content:  The text contains sections of the mass for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost.  The illuminated initial ‘I’ at the top of the left column on Verso begins a Gospel reading from Matthew 18: In illo tempore: dixit iesus discipulis suis parabolam hanc:  Similatum est regnum cælorum homini regi, qui voluit rationem ponere cum servis suis. (At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is compared to a man who was king, who wanted to take account of his servants.)

The illuminated initial ‘F’ in the centre of the right column begins the Collect: Familiam tuam quaesumus domine continua pietate custodi  ut a cunctis adverstatibus te protegente sit libera et in bonis actibus tuo nomini sit devota.  (O Lord we beseech thee to keep thy church and household continually in thy true godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities and devoutly given to serve thee in good works to the glory of thy name.)


Condition: The leaf is in pristine condition with clean, fine vellum and jewel-like illuminations as colourful and lustrous as the day they were done, well over 500 years ago. It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 190x140 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx. 135x95 mm. Presented in a museum quality mat, ready for framing.  Please note that packing and postage is invoiced separately.  Within Australia: $22.50.  Overseas: ask for quote


Notes:  The luxuriously illuminated parent Breviary of this leaf would have been produced for a high ranking member of the clergy.  Breviaries were generally the equivalent of “text books” used by the priest to conduct the mass and for daily prayer.


Stock No:  MOT070

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