c 1450-75 Book of Hours Leaf - Annunciation to the Shepherds


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 five-line historiated initial in blue, red & white with an internal painting on burnished gold,  one two-line initials, nine one-line illuminated initials & ten illuminated line-extenders in burnished gold on red & blue ground with delicate white penwork. France (Anjou), Use of Angers, c. 1450-75.

The elaborate full border (recto) is a dense floral motif in red, blue, pink, green, liquid & burnished gold, with one amusing drollery  (right margin) facing the miniature painting, and a man holding a pole axe (lower margin). Panel border (verso) contains a highly decorative floral design with flowers, berries, & acanthus leaves in blue, red, green, pink, & burnished gold.  

The historiated initial depicts The Annunciation to the Shepherds. Three male shepherds, their sheep grazing in the background, react to an angel seen in the sky holding a banner announcing the birth of Christ.  The background is a hilly treed landscape.

The historiated “D” begins: “Deus…” (Incline unto my aid O God….).

The two-line illuminated “A” begins Psalm 119 (King James 120) 1-5:  “Ad dominum…” (In my trouble I cried to the Lord…).

A charming ink drawing (doodle) of a man’s head extends from the last line of text (verso) into the lower margin!

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-12539
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