Original continuous bifolium (two leaves – four pages) from a medieval illuminated manuscript Book of Hours. 25 lines of text, ruled in red, written in Latin in angular gothic book-hand script on animal vellum. Overall dimensions 6.25 x 9 inches (Each leaf: 160 x 115mm – 6 ¼ x 4 ½’’)
This is the center pair of leaves from a signature, thus the text is continuous from the recto of the first leaf to the verso, then to the recto of the second leaf and finally to its verso. Scarce, because that can only happen on the center bifolium. The two joined leaves impart the feeling and appearance of an open medieval book !!!
Seven two-line illuminated initials in blue, blue and white, or red on gold ground. Unusual vibrant and elaborate panel borders in colorful floral and gemstone motif on a red, gold or rich sable ground – one with a wonderful whimsical dragon-like creature dancing in the margin!
France: Rouen (Use of Rouen) c. 1490-1510.
Style and execution of the miniature paintings in the parent manuscript were closely related to the Master of the Geneva Latini (see Walter 224 & 233 for examples).
This leaf continues the section of Suffrages - prayers to saints who were considered the protectors, helpers and guardians of medieval people. The leaf begins with suffrages of St. Mary Magdalene: “Maria…” (Therefore Mary poured oil on the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair, and the house was filled with the scent of the oil. Many sins were forgiven her. Because she loved much).
The two-line illuminated “L” begins: Grant to us, most merciful Father, that just as the Blessed Mary Magdalene obtained pardon for her sins…).
The two-line illuminated “I” begins suffrages of St. Barbara: “Intercessio…” (May the intercession, we pray, O Lord, of Blessed Barbara thy virgin and martyr protect us from all misfortune…).
The two-line illuminated “D” begins suffrages of St. Margaret: “Deus…” (Rejoice blessed Barbara, greatly powerful in doctrine by the mystery of the angel…). The remaining suffrages are for Saints Apollonia (patron saint of dentists) and Desideratus.
An unusual and attractive presentation. The borders are particularly noteworthy, and continuous pairs of leaves such as these are seldom seen.
Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat