IM-10292: (180x125mm) Original leaf from a Book of Hours. Red-ruled for 16 lines of Latin text, written with dark brown ink in gothic batarde script on animal vellum. One four-line initial on a burnished gold ground in blue with white tracery with an interior painting of a man in a pink robe kneeling in prayer, and "miserere mei" (Have mercy on me) written above his head; one two-line illuminated initial in burnished gold on a mauve ground with blue interior; Unusual panel border with an owl (attribute of Christ, who sacrificed Himself to save mankind), a Fox (symbol of the Devil), strawberries (symbols of perfect righteousness), and other flowers and berries in red, green, brown, mauve and liquid and burnished gold. French Flanders, c. 1480-1500.
Miniature painting depicts The Nativity – The Christ child is between Mary & Joseph, who are both kneeling in worship of their Son & God. The leaf opens the Hours of the Virgin – Hour of Prime. "Deus..." (Incline unto my aid O God. O Lord make haste to help me...). The two-line illuminated "C" (recto) begins "Concede..." (O Lord God we beseech thee grant us thy servants, to enjoy perpetual health of mind, and body...).
Books of Hours are personal prayer books of a devout and status-conscious society and are not only works of art, but cultural documents of their time. They reveal a unique combination of sacred and secular imagery - made of the finest materials, by the best craftsmen, for a small audience, which could both appreciate and afford them.