(127 x 92mm) Original
leaf from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 15 lines of
red-ruled, French text, written with
dark brown ink in gothic book-hand script on animal vellum. One four-line illuminated initial in pink
on a burnished gold ground with a floral interior design in red, orange and
blue extending down the leaf with a bar of burnished gold and blue and into the
margins with a delicate rinceaux design in burnished gold, green, blue and red;
one one-line illuminated initial in
deep blue with delicate red penwork extending into the margin; one illuminated line extender in red,
blue and burnished gold. Northern France (Paris), c.
This leaf begins
one of the most popular 15th century prayers:
the Fifteen Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary: ''Doulce dame de
misericorde...'' (Sweet lady of mercy, mother of mercy, fountain of all that is
good...). The prayer celebrates the
joyous moments of the Virgin Mary's life (The Annunciation, Visitation,
Nativity...ending with the Assumption into Heaven).
- ex G. Barilla of Geneva, and formerly Frederick Fowler collection (England c.
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