(170 x 120mm – 6 5/8 x 4 ¾’’) Original leaf from a medieval Book of Hours. 19 lines of ruled text, written in Dutch with dark brown ink in fine Gothic script, on animal vellum.
One illuminated five-line initial & one illuminated two-line initial in burnished gold alternating with an interior of blue or pink with a blue or pink ground. Recto has a three-quarter burnished gold bar along the text & an intricate border in a floral design in blue, green, red, pink & burnished gold with strawberries (symbol of perfect righteousness) & a fabulous whimsical blue-headed creature nibbling the foliage along the bottom margin!
Netherlands, c. 1460.
Thefive-line illuminated “B” begins The Hour of Compline: “Bekeer…” (Convert us O God our savior…).
The two-line illuminated “G” begins Psalm 131 (King James 132) 1-10: “Ghedenke heer davids…” (O Lord, remember David, and all his meekness. How he swore to the Lord, he vowed a vow to the God of Jacob: If I shall enter into the tabernacle of my house; if I shall go up into the bed wherein I lie: If I shall give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids, Or rest to my temples: until I find out a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. Behold we have heard of it in Ephrata: we have found it in the fields of the wood. We will go into his tabernacle: we will adore in the place where his feet stood. Arise, O Lord, into thy resting place: thou and the ark, which thou hast sanctified…).
The Dutch (Low Countries) were the first to break the tradition of using Latin in Prayer Books and Books of Hours. In England, France and Italy, Latin continued to be the primary liturgical language throughout the 1400’s.