c 1470-90 elegant Book of Hours Leaf - Litany of Saints


Original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 24 lines of text, ruled in red, written in Latin in an elegant angular gothic book-hand script on animal vellum. (178 x 125mm – 7 x 5’’) 

Forty-four one-line illuminated initials, one illuminated paraph,  and thirty-nine illuminated line-extenders in gold on red or blue ground.            

France: Rouen, (Use of Rouen), c. 1470-90.

Unusual vibrant and elaborate panel borders on recto and verso in colorful floral and geometric motif (including strawberries – symbol of perfect righteousness) in red, green, blue and white on gold ground.

The one-line illuminated “S” continues the Litany of the Saints (first prescribed by Pope Gregory in 590 for a public thanksgiving following a plague that ravaged Rome). Names of saints are listed with each invocation followed by the abbreviation for “ora pro nobis” (Pray for us).

Among the saints listed are: Sts. Sebastian (patron of archers and athletes), Gregory (patron of musicians), Nicholas (patron of children), and Ambrose (patron of bee keepers). The one-line illuminated “A” begins the section of “Abs”(Deliver us from…): “Ab omni malo…” (From all evil, O Lord deliver us. From all sin, O Lord deliver us…).

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-11945