c 1450 Book of Hours Leaf - Saint Mark writing his Gospel


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

Northern France or Flanders, c. 1450.

One historiated six-line initial depicts Saint Mark seated while writing his Gospel.  His attribute, a lion, sits to his left.  Surrounding the text is a floral border with acanthus leaves, columbines along the top (symbol of the Holy Spirit)

The text (recto) continues the Third Gospel Lesson – Matthew 2:5-12: “Et illi dexerunt…” (They said to him: In Bethlehem of Judah, for so it is written by the prophet… And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Heron, they went back another way into their country).

The historiated initial (verso) begins the Fourth Gospel Lesson – Mark 16: 14-17 “In illo tempore recumbentibus…” (And at that time he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils).

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

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-12772