c 1450-75 Book of Hours Leaves - Continuous Bifolium


 Original continuous bifolium leaves (two leaves – four pages) from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 15 lines of red ruled text written in Latin on animal vellum in brown ink.The bifolium measures 7.25 x 9.75 inches (Each Leaf: 184 x 125mm – 7 ¼ x 4 7/8’’) 

This is the center pair of leaves from a signature, thus the text is continuous from the recto of the first leaf to the verso, then to the recto of the second leaf and finally to its verso. Scarce, because that can only happen on the center bifolium. The two joined leaves impart the feeling and appearance of an open medieval book !

 Four two-line illuminated initials, twelve one-line illuminated initials and twelve 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.

The two-line illuminated “L” begins Psalm 150 complete: “Laudate…” (Praise ye the Lord in his holy places: praise ye him in the firmament of his power. Praise he him for his mighty acts: praise ye him according to the multitude of his greatness…). 

The two-line illuminated “G” begins: “Gaude…” (Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, for alone thou hast put an end to all heresies in the whole world).

The two-line illuminated “O” begins the hymn: “O Gloriosa domina…” (O heaven’s glorious mistress, enthroned above the starry sky. Thou feedest with thy sacred breast thy own Creator, Lord most high…).

The two-line illuminated “B” begins the Canticle of Zachary – Luke 1:68-71: “Benedictus…” (Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people: And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant…).

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.

A scarce and appealing artifact in an excellent state of presentation with a skillfully executed contemoprary patch to the vellum in the blank lower margin. The vellum is very clean and the colors and gold are fresh and bright. 

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat.

  • Inventory# IM-12525