Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 15 lines, of red-ruled Latin text written in dark brown ink, in fine gothic script on animal vellum. (155 x 105mm – 6 1/8 x 4 1/8’’)
Two two-line illuminated initials, eight illuminated one-line initials and seven line-extenders in gold on blue and red ground with delicate white penwork. Rinceaux panel border decoration with burnished gold ivy leaves and a floral motif in red, pink, blue, green and burnished gold.
France (Paris or Loire Valley), c. 1440-60.
The two-line illuminated ''A'' begins Psalm 122 (King James 123) complete: ''Ad te...'' (To thee have I lifted up my eyes, who dwellest in heaven. Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters, As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress: so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us...).
The two-line illuminated ''N'' begins Psalm 123 (KJ 124): 1-5: ''Nisi...'' (If it had not been that the Lord was with us, let Israel now say: If it had not been that the Lord was with us, When men rose up against us, perhaps they had swallowed us u alive...).
Books of Hours are personal prayer-books of a devout and status-conscious society and are not only works of art, but cultural documents of their time. They reveal a unique combination of sacred and secular imagery - made of the finest materials, by the best craftsmen, for a small audience which could both appreciate and afford them.
Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat