c 1490-1510 - Book of Hours Leaf - The Nativity


Original leaf from a medieval illuminated manuscript Book of Hours. 25 lines of text (recto), ruled in red, written in Latin in angular gothic book-hand script on animal vellum. (160 x 115mm – 6 ¼ x 4 ½’’) 

One four-line illuminated initial and two two-line illuminated initials in blue & white on gold ground with floral infill; seven one-line illuminated initials  & two line-extenders in gold on red ground or blue ground. Elaborate panel border (verso) in colorful floral & gemstone motif on rich sable ground. Text (verso) opens the Hours of the Virgin – Hour of Prime.         

France: Rouen (Use of Rouen) c. 1490-1510.

Exceptionally fine full-page illuminated painting of the Nativity. Style and execution of the miniature painting is closely related to the Master of the Geneva Latini (see Walter 224 & 233 for examples), and very similar to a miniature in the Book of Hours, Bodleian Library MS Buchanan e3, likely painted by the same artist - notable for beautifully modelled faces and eyes.

The dramatic miniature painting depicts Mary and Joseph kneeling with hands clasped as they gaze at the radiant Christ Child who rests on the spread hem of her blue mantle and gazes back at her. Three angels with gold wings and golden robes kneel in prayer behind them with a fourth angel holds up a deep blue baldachin with gold patterning over a stable door. Behind Mary is an ox and donkey while behind Joseph are three shepherds outside the stable gate with a town in the far background, and a large single star in the sky. Surrounding the miniature painting is a golden bar supported by two elaborate columns in blue and gold on either side. 

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat                                             

  • Inventory# IM-11809