c 1474-5 Breviary Leaf - Use of Autun - Advent Season


Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Breviary.  31 lines written in Latin in double columns with dark brown and red ink on animal vellum. (183 x 135mm – 7 3/8 x 5 ¼’’). Full margins, retaining evidence of the pinprick guide marks.

Six two-line illuminated initials alternating in red and white or blue and white, with a floral or geometric interior - all on a burnished gold ground, extending into the margins with delicate rinceaux borders in red, blue, green, yellow and burnished gold. 

France (Use of Autun), c. 1474-75.

This leaf continues prayers for the Second Sunday in Advent  The two-line illuminated “E” begins: “Ecce in nubibus…” (Behold, on the clouds of heaven, the Lord will come with great power, alleluia. We have a strong city; he sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, for God is with us, alleluia…). 

The next illuminated “E” begins:  “Excita…” (Rouse up our hearts, Lord, to make ready the way of your only-begotten Son, that we may be worthy to serve you with purified minds, through his coming: who lives and reigns with you).

Provenance:  from a Breviary written for the Use of Autun c. 1474-75; property of the descendants of Sir William Forbes, 6th Baronet of Pitsligo (1739-1806) from the Library at Fettercairn House, Kindardineshire; sold at Sotheby’s London Dec 2016, subsequently dispersed.

A lovely leaf in impeccable preservation from an elegant breviary of extremely high quality. Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

A Breviary is composed of many books (prayers, hymns, psalms...) painstakingly but carefully written by hand, and used by monks and priests to conduct their daily services.  The painted and illuminated manuscript is among the greatest artistic triumphs of the Middle Ages, demonstrating social, intellectual, religious and cultural attitudes of medieval life.

  • Inventory# IM-12807