Original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 15 lines of hand-ruled text written in Latin on animal vellum in brown ink with rubrics in red. (184 x 125mm – 7 ¼ x 4 7/8’’)
One exceptional four-line initial in blue & white on burnished gold ground with floral infill; one line extender in burnished gold on red and blue ground with delicate white penwork. The panel borders contain a highly decorative floral design with flowers, berries, and acanthus leaves in blue, red, green, pink, and burnished gold. A charming ink drawing (doodle) of a man’s head extends from the last line of text (verso) into the margin!
France (Anjou), Use of Angers, c. 1450-75.
The elaborate illuminated “D” 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, and when He exalted thee over the choirs of angels…).
Angers was the cradle of the Plantagenet dynasty and one of the intellectual centers of Europe during the reign of Rene of Anjou, (1434-80). When this leaf was scribed the two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty, House of Lancaster & House of York, were engaged in the War of the Roses.
Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat