c 1460 Continuous Bifolium Breviary Leaves - 2 Leaves - 4 Pages


Original continuous bifolium leaves from a medieval manuscript Breviary. Ruled for 27 lines of Latin text, written in double columns with dark brown & red ink in fine rounded gothic book hand on animal vellum.  Each leaf measures 150 x 118mm – 5 7/8 x 4 5/8’’ The joined pair measures 5 7/8 x 9 ¼ inches. Northern Italy (Padua?), c. 1460.

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

There are fifteen two-line illuminated initials alternating in red with delicate violet penwork and blue with delicate red penwork – all extending in to the margins.

The two-line illuminated red “I” begins part of John 10:1: “In illo tempore…Amen, Amen…” (And at that time the Lord said to the Pharisees: Amen, Amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, is a thief and a robber). The two-line illuminated blue “A” begins the prayer: “Adsit nobis…” (We beseech thee O Lord, that the virtue of the Holy Spirit may be present unto us: which may mildly both purge our hearts, and also defend us from all adversities).

The two-line illuminated blue “I” (verso) begins part of  John 6:44: “In illo tempore…Nemo potest…” (And at that time Jesus said No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him).

The two-line illuminated red “I” begins part of Luke 9:1: “In illo tempore convocatis…” (And at that time calling together the twelve apostles, he gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases).

A Breviary is composed of many books (prayers, hymns, psalms...) painstakingly but carefully written by hand, & used by monks & priests to conduct daily services. 

Presented in an archival 14 x 11” mat

  • Inventory# IM-12855