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, five one-line illuminated initials and four illuminated line extenders in burnished gold on a red and blue ground; ¼ border (verso) in a colorful floral design 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.
The one-line illuminated “M” continues the popular 9th century hymn Ave Maris Stella : “Monstra…” (Show thyself a Mother, may the Word divine born for us thine Infant hear our prayers through thine. Virgin all excelling, mildest of the mild, free from guilt preserve us meek and undefiled. Keep our life all spotless, make our way secure till we find in Jesus, joy for evermore. Praise to God the Father, honor to the Son, in the Holy Spirit, be the glory one).
The two-line illuminated “M” begins the Magnificat – Luke 1:46-47: “Magnificat anima…” (My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior).
Provenance: ex-collection of Brooklyn Museum of Art, acquired in 1919. Deaccessioned and sold to support the museum collection.