Original leaf from a richly illuminated manuscript Psalter/Prayer-book. 24 lines of Latin text. Written in unusual gothic cursive script on animal vellum. (165x135mm – 6 ½ x 5 3/8’’)
For sister leaves see The Blackburn Collection of Manuscript Illuminations, The Cleveland Museum of Art.
North Germany, (Hildesheim?) c. 1524.
Two three-line initials in gold alternating in blue and red ground; three one-line initials in gold on blue or red ground. Elaborate panel borders with (recto) full gold ground strewn with diverse floral motifs – including iris (symbol of the Virgin Mary) and strawberries (symbol of perfect righteousness). In the lower margin putto, having red, blue and yellow wings, stands with a bow and arrow directed to a bird resting on a leaf.
The historiated nine-line initial “E” contains a miniature painting of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The text next to the painting begins: “Ecce tu pulchra amica mea…” (Behold, you are beautiful, my love. Behold, you are beautiful. Your eyes are of doves. As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters…).
The two-line illuminated “Q” begins: “Quae est ista que ascendit…” (Who is this that ascended from the wilderness like a plume of smoke from the spices of myrrh and incense…).
This highly personalized prayer-book was written and illuminated in Germany, as evidenced by the painted Arms of Mansfeld (a prominent North German family) on a leaf, and the inclusion of St. Godehard (d. 1038), bishop of Hildesheim, portrayed as a miniature on another leaf. The date 1524 occurs in two locations in the prayer-book.