TEXT FROM OBSECRO TE.

(Northeastern France, probably Arras, late 15th century). 146 x 95 mm. (5 3/4 x 3 3/4"). Single column, 15 lines in a pleasing bâtarde hand.

One one-line initial in brushed gold on a red ground, EACH SIDE OF LEAF WITH A BRUSHED GOLD PANEL BORDER, WITH VERY PRETTY ILLUSIONISTIC FLOWERS; WITH ONE SMALL MINIATURE (measuring approximately 40 x 25 mm.) depicting the Virgin and Child. Headlines written in French in a later (18th century?) calligraphic hand. A little general soiling, gold a bit dulled and rubbed, margins with a scattering of (naturally occuring?) freckles and a small wrinkle, underdrawing exposed on the Virgin's hands, face, and torso, as well as on the body of Christ (paint possibly never added in the first place), but still quite an attractive specimen and of interest for its unfinished appearance.

From a charmingly decorated 15th century prayer book, this leaf contains one of the most beloved prayers in the Book of Hours, in which the petitioner addresses the Virign Mary directly. The accompanying image showing the Virgin in prayer with the Child on her lap is common for this section, but on our leaf it takes on new interest due to the lack of paint on much of the figures, exposing the original drawing underneath. Though it is possible that the paint was rubbed away through use or damage, the sharp lines retained by her outer garment suggest that it was either never added, or was perhaps carefully scratched away with the intention to fix or change this part of the image. Whatever the reason, it presents an uncommon opportunity to study the underdrawing that would otherwise be obscured in the final stages of manuscript production. For other leaves from this same manuscript, please check our website.
(ST12668bF)