c 1500 Book of Hours Leaf - David and Bathsheba


Original leaf from a French medieval illuminated manuscript Book of Hours. 13 lines of hand-ruled text written in Latin with dark brown ink in fine lettre bâtarde script on animal vellum with rubrics in red. One two-line illuminated initial in blue and white with an internal floral design on a red ground; four one-line illuminated initials in burnished gold on blue and red ground;  four line extenders in liquid gold on blue, sepia, or red ground. Miniature painting of David and Bathsheba.   The text and miniature painting, recto, are surrounded by an intricate floral border (including strawberries – symbol of perfect righteousness) in red, blue, green on a liquid gold ground. 

Origin:  Paris, France circa 1500.  Size:  110 x 75mm – 4.25 x 2.9 inches, from a diminutive manuscript likely written for a lady.                

The miniature painting (recto) depicts David and Bathsheba: Bathsheba is in the forefront, dress gathered up to her thighs as she sits at the edge of a small pool with her lower legs in the water while a rectangular fountain continues to fill the pool. King David leans out the window behind her with his arms folded.

The two-line illuminated “D” begins Psalm 6: 1-6 (first of the 6 Penitential Psalms): “Domine…” (O Lord, rebuke me not in thy indignation, nor chastise me in thy wrath. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am week: heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled…).

Provenance:   ex-collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art, acquired in 1919.  Deaccessioned and sold to support the museum collection.

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# IM-13254