c 1450-75 Book of Hours Leaf - The Nativity


Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 15 lines of text, ruled in red, written in Latin with dark brown and red ink in an elegant and refined gothic script on animal vellum.  (205 x 150mm – 8 x 6’’)

Northern France or French Flanders, c. 1450-75.

Two two-line illuminated initials, seven one-line illuminated initials and seven line-extenders in burnished gold on a blue and red ground; elaborate rinceaux border (recto) in red, green, gold, blue, liquid and burnished gold. 

One three-line historiated initial in red with delicate white penwork on a burnished gold ground with an interior painting of the Nativity. The baby Jesus is seated between Mary and Joseph who both kneel in prayer while golden rays descend from above. 

The historiated initial begins the Hour of Prime : “Deus…” (Incline unto my aid O God. O Lord make haste to help me…). 

The two-line “V” begins: “Veni creator…” (Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest, and in our souls take up Thy rest; come with Thy grace and heavenly aid to fill the hearts which Thou hast made. Remember, O Creator Lord, that in the Virgin's sacred womb Thou wast conceived, and of her flesh didst our mortality assume. Mother of grace, O Mary blest, to thee, sweet fount of love, we fly; shield us through life, and take us hence to thy dear bosom when we die…).

The two-line illuminated “B” begins Psalm 1: 1-3: “Beatus vir…l” (Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, or stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence. But his will is the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night…).

A particularly attractive illuminated leaf in excellent condition. Bright colors, clean and unworn with little sign of devotional use beyond light flaking to the white pigment in the scene.

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-12860

Max: 10