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. Some flaking in miniature due to devotional use. (205 x 150mm – 8 x 6’’)
Northern France or French Flanders, c. 1450-75.
One three-line historiated initial in red with delicate white penwork on a burnished gold ground with an interior miniature painting depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing dark blue robes and with arms crossed (an act of submission - Luke 1:38 “Be it done to me according to thy word). Elaborate rinceaux border (recto) in red, green, gold, blue, liquid and burnished gold – with strawberry (symbol of perfect righteousness).
The historiated initial begins a popular medieval prayer – the Obsecro te: “Obsecro te domina sancta maria…” (I beseech thee, Lady Holy Mary, Mother of God, most full of piety, daughter of the Most High King, Mother most glorious, Mother of orphans, consolation of the desolate, way of the straying, health and hope of those hoping in thee, virgin before giving birth, virgin during birth, and virgin after giving birth. I beseech thee font of mercy, font of grace and well-being, font of piety and joy, font of consolation and indulgence. I beseech thee through that holy ineffable joy in which thy spirit rejoiced at that hour when the Son of God was announced to thee by the Archangel Gabriel and was conceived, and through the divine mystery worked by the Holy Spirit, and through that holy ineffable grace, piety, mercy, love and humility by which the Son of God descended to accept human flesh in thy most venerable womb and which He saw in thee when He commended thee to St. John the apostle and evangelist…).
Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat