c 1500 Book of Hours Leaf - Presentation in the Temple


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 a floral interior on burnished gold ground; one two-line, three one-line illuminated initials, and two line extender in burnished gold on a red and blue ground. The text and miniature painting, recto, are surrounded by an intricate floral border in red, blue, and green on a liquid gold ground. Verso ¼ panel border in colorful floral motif on 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.    

Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary & Joseph took the child to the Temple in Jerusalem (as tradition dictated).  Once there, they encountered Simeon the Righteous who prophesized that the infant would redeem the world. The miniature painting depicts The Presentation in the Temple.  It shows Simeon standing behind the altar facing the Virgin Mary who is wearing deep blue robes. She kneels while holding the Christ Child whose arms are outstretched to Simeon.  Joseph stands behind them looking up at the golden rays emanating from heaven.

The two-line illuminated “D” begins: “Deus in adiutorium…” (Incline unto my aid O God. O Lord make haste to help me…).  

The two-line illuminated “V” begins the hymn:  “Veni creator…”  (Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest, and in our souls take up Thy rest; come with Thy grace and heavenly aid to fill the hearts which Thou hast made).  

The one-line illuminated “M” begins the hymn : “Memento…” (Remember, O Creator Lord, that in the Virgin's sacred womb Thou wast conceived, and of her flesh didst our mortality assume…).                                   

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

A very attractive miniature of the Presentation, also known as Candlemas, small defect noted in the lower outer corner and some smudging in the upper border on verso.

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# IM-13219