c 1480-90 Book of Hours Leaf - Adoration of the Magi


Original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 23 lines of red-ruled Latin text on animal vellum; lettre bâtarde script, with rubrics in red; line endings in red & blue, with liquid gold infill. (160 x 115 mm – 6 3/8 x 4 5/8’’) 

One illuminated three-line initial and two illuminated two-line initials in red & white on liquid gold ground with floral infill; eight illuminated one-line initials and one illuminated line-extender in gold on red or blue grounds; Elaborate panel border (verso) in acanthus & diverse floral motifs in colors & liquid gold.

The leaf contains an exceptional miniature painting in the style of the Playfair Hours – surrounded by an elaborate border, similar to the panel border verso, but on a liquid gold ground.

France, Rouen (Use of Rouen): c. 1480-90.

The painting depicts The Adoration of the Magi. The Virgin Mary, wearing blue robes, is seated holding the nude Christ Child. The oldest king, on bended knee, crown on ground, presents the golden vessel to the Christ Child. Two other kings behind him also hold golden vessels. The stable in the background is wooden with a hole in the roof.

The large floral decorated “D” opens the Hours of the Virgin – Hour of Sext: “Deus…” (Incline unto my aid O God…). The two-line illuminated “V” begins the hymn: “Veni creator…” (Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest, and in our souls take up Thy rest; come with Thy grace and heavenly aid to fill the hearts which Thou hast made…).

The two-line “A” begins Psalm 122 (King James 123) 1-3 “Ad te levavi…” (To thee have I lifted up my eyes, who dwellest in heaven…)

An attractive miniature from the popular Nativity cycle. Some devotional wear, and minor flaking of pigment, particularly on the Christ Child.

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-12722
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