A Medieval bifolium - continuous Book of Hours leaves - 1470-90


Original continuous bifolium (two leaves, scribed on both sides –  thus, four pages) from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 24 lines of text, ruled in red, written in Latin in an elegant angular gothic book-hand script on animal vellum; rubrics in red. The bifolium measures 7 x 10 inches (Each leaf: 178 x 125mm – 7 x 5’’)

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 !

Two two-line illuminated initials, thirty-five one-line illuminated initials and twenty-five illuminated line-extenders in gold on red or blue ground.                                  

France: Rouen, (Use of Rouen) c. 1470-90.

Unusual vibrant and elaborate panel borders on recto and verso in colorful floral (including strawberries – symbol of perfect righteousness) and geometric motif in red, green, blue and white on gold ground.

The one-line “D” begins Psalm 18 (King James 19) 13-15: “Delicta…” (Who can understand sins? From my secret ones cleanse me O Lord…).

The two-line illuminated “D” begins Psalm 23 (King James 24) complete: “Domine est terra…” (The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the world, and all they that dwell therein.  For he hath founded it upon the seas; and hath prepared it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord: or who shall stand in his holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor…Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory).

The two-line illuminated “E” begins Psalm 44 (KJ 45) 1-18: “Eructavit…” (My heart hath uttered good word: I speak my works to the king: My tongue is the pen of a scrivener that writeth swiftly. Thou art beautiful above the sons of men: grace is poured abroad in thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee forever…).

Attractive and uncommon, with fresh bright colors and gold -  excellent condition and content.

Presented in an archival 11 x 14'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-11845
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