c 1500 Book of Hours Leaf - Flight into Egypt


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, five 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.    

The miniature painting depicts The Flight into Egypt.  The Virgin Mary is shown wearing a blue robe while holding the swaddled Christ Child in a close embrace while sitting on a donkey as they journey down a rock-strewn road.  Joseph, wearing orange robes, walks slightly ahead of them holding reins in left hand and a white bundle on a staff over his shoulder while turning gazing back at them. 

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 “L” begins Psalm 121 (King James 122) 1-4: “Letatus…” (I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the lord. Our feet were standing in thy courts, O Jerusalem…).

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

An attractive leaf from the Nativity cycle, with some devotional wear and staining in the lower border.

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# IM-13226