c 1425-50 Breviary Leaf - Isaiah & Hymn


Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Breviary. 32 lines of Latin text, written in double columns with dark brown & red ink in fine rounded gothic book hand on animal vellum. (117 x 91mm – 4 5/8 x 3 5/8’’)

Italy, c. 1425-50.

One exceptional eight-line initial in burgundy with an interior blue leaf on navy ground and green leaf on yellow ground, sitting on a burnished gold ground and extending into the margin with green and red leaves; seven two-line initials alternating in blue and red.

The eight-line illuminated “S” begins Isaiah 60:1: “Surge…” (Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee). 

The blue illuminated “H” begins the 5th century hymn: “Hostis herodes…” (Why, impious Herod, vainly fear that Christ the Savior cometh here? He takes no earthly realms away Who gives the crown that lasts for aye. To greet His birth the Wise Men went, led by the star before them sent; called on by light, towards Light they pressed, and by their gifts their God confessed. New miracle of power divine! The water reddens into wine: He spake the word: and poured the wave in other streams than nature gave…).

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-12887