c 1450 Book of Hours Leaf - Madonna and Child


Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 23 lines of ruled lettre batarde, written in Latin with dark brown ink and red rubrication, on animal vellum.  (125 x 90mm – 4 7/8 x 3 ½’’) 

Northern France or Flanders, c. 1450.

One historiated six-line initial depicting the Madonna and Christ Child with the Virgin Mary cradling the Christ Child in her arms on a brushed gold ground within a deep blue initial with gold work which rests on a sepia ground with delicate gold work.  Surrounding the text is a floral border with acanthus leaves, grapes along left (symbol of the blood of Christ) thistles along top (symbol of the Passion of Christ) and white lilies along lower right (symbol of the Virgin Mary).

The historiated initial begins the popular medieval prayer Obsecro te: (I beseech thee, Lady Holy Mary, Mother of God, most full of piety, daughter of the Most High King, Mother most glorious, Mother of orphans, consolation of the desolate, way of the straying, health and hope of those hoping in thee, virgin before giving birth, virgin during birth, and virgin after giving birth. I beseech thee font of mercy, font of grace and well-being, font of piety and joy, font of consolation and indulgence. I beseech thee through that holy ineffable joy in which thy spirit rejoiced at that hour when the Son of God was announced to thee by the Archangel Gabriel and was conceived, and through the divine mystery worked by the Holy Spirit, and through that holy ineffable grace, piety, mercy, love and humility by which the Son of God descended to accept human flesh in thy most venerable womb and which He saw in thee when He commended thee to St. John the apostle and evangelist,..).

An inexpensive example of the medieval miniaturist's craft, with a popular subject and content. It shows devotional wear, with rubbing and stains at the outer margins. Attractive and presentable nonetheless.

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-12771