IM-9683: (165x118 mm) Original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 17 lines of red-ruled Latin text on animal vellum; line endings in red & blue, with burnished gold. One three-line initial and two two-line initials in blue & white on burnished gold ground with floral infill; four one-line initials in burnished gold on red & blue grounds; Elaborate panel border (verso) in acanthus & diverse floral motifs in colors & liquid gold.
The leaf contains an exceptional miniature painting in the style of Jean Bourdichon – surrounded by an elaborate border, on a liquid gold ground and containing two wonderful whimsical creatures, and strawberries – symbol of perfect righteousness. France, Tours c. 1480-90.
The miniature is a beautiful painting of the Pentecost with Mary and the Apostles standing in prayer beneath the descending rays of the dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit. The Dove radiates the flames of inspiration, mixed with droplets of red representing Christ’s blood. The large floral decorated “D” opens the Hours of the Holy Spirit – Hour of Matins: “Domine labia mea…” (Lord, Thou shalt open my lips…). The two-line illuminated “N” begins the hymn: “Nobis...” (The grace of the Holy Spirit free unto us befall: Wherewhith was overshadowed the maid of maidens all. When the angel Gabriel his salutation said, The Word itself flesh became and the virgin fruitful made).