c 1460 Book of Hours Leaf, Italy - Hours of the Cross


Original leaf from an Italian Medieval illuuminated manuscript Book of Hours. 12 lines of text, ruled in red, written in Latin with dark brown ink in gothic rotunda  script on animal vellum.

Size: 113 x 84 mm – 4 5/8 x 3 ¼’’

Four two-line illuminated initials  alternating in deep blue with intricate red penwork and red with intricate blue penwork - all with decorative extentions into the margins.

Italy, c. 1460.

The two-line  illuminated “C” begins the hymn for the Office of the Holy Cross – Hour of Terce : “Crucifige…” (At the third hour of the day they crucify him cry, In a purple robe clad him more to mock thereby, Piteously his head was pricked with the crown of thorn, To the place of pain his cross was on his shoulders born).

The two-line illuminated “H” (verso) begins the hymn for the Hour of Sext: “Hora sexta…” (To the cross Christ nailed was the sixth hour of the day, And there hanging with two thieves reputed was as they: Thirsting by torments made with gall they seek to slake…).

Books of Hours are personal prayer books of a devout and status-conscious society and are not only works of art, but cultural documents of their time.  They reveal a unique combination of sacred and secular imagery - made of the finest materials, by the best craftsmen, for a small audience that could both appreciate and afford them.

An attractive and elegant Italian Book of Hours leaf in excellent condition - quarter inch paper strip in inner margin of recto from binding.  Italian Books of hours are scarcer than those from France and Flanders.

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# IM-13283