c 1450-75 Book of Hours Leaf - in French - Joys of the BVM


Original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 15 lines of hand-ruled text written in French on animal vellum in brown ink. (184 x 125mm – 7 ¼ x 4 7/8’’) 

Four two-line illuminated initials, three one-line illuminated initials and five line extenders 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.                

France (Anjou), Use of Angers, c. 1450-75.

This leaf commemorates of the Fifteen Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary: “Etres doulce dame…” The prayer was one of the most popular of all accessory prayers – especially in fifteenth century France. Each of the 15 sections is divided into two parts, first a direct address to Mary, recalling one of her joyous moments as the mother of Christ, and then asking her to intercede for the salvation of the praying soul. 

The prayer which begins with the two-line illuminated “E” pertains to the Immaculate Conception. The second two-line illuminated “E” pertains to the Nativity. The third two-line illuminated “E” pertains to the Adoration of the Shepherds. The fourth two-line illuminated “E” pertains to the Adoration of the Magi. This is one of the very few leaves written in French – once the prayer was completed, the text reverted to Latin.

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

  • Inventory# IM-12778