With Very Lively Inhabitants, and among the Most Attractive Small Hours Leaves We've Ever Had

(Northern France [probably Paris], ca. 1460s). 130 x 98 mm. (5 1/8 x 3 7/8"). Single column, 14 lines of text in a very fine gothic book hand.

Rubrics in red, leaves with variable numbers of one- and two-line capitals in blue with white tracery, the initials on a burnished gold ground and infilled with ivy leaves in blue, orange, and white, ALL OF THE LEAVES WITH A PANEL BORDER ON EACH SIDE, ONE OR BOTH OF THE PANEL BORDERS INHABITED BY AN ANIMAL, A HUMAN, A FANCIFUL CREATURE, OR A FANTASTICAL HYBRID OF THESE, the remarkably charming residents placed amidst a tangle of acanthus leaves, flowers, buds, thistles, fruit, and other vegetation painted in brushed gold, blue, green, pink, and other colors. A very few minor signs of use, but generally IN EXTRAORDINARILY FINE CONDITION, the gold sparkling, the paint uneroded, and the vellum almost entirely clean and fresh.

These leaves come from a large fragment of a beautifully executed little Book of Hours done by very sophisticated artists whose illumination in general--and zoomorphic inhabitation in particular--are extremely (and sometimes immensely) charming. The borders here are the source of considerable delight, containing carnations, thistles, roses, daisies, violets, strawberries, grapes, a variety of berries, insects, squirrels, a hound, foxes, stoats, camels, a cat, and many birds (frequently small birds, but also several peacocks, hens, roosters, and a duck). In addition to the usual plants and birds, a number of borders contain images of fanciful beasts, some winged, some half-serpent, some whose faces morph into musical instruments, and some creatures with human faces. Peopled borders include a crowned individual, a man with a basket on his back playing a flute, and a mermaid. These are certainly among the most attractive and delightful small Book of Hours leaves we have ever offered for sale.

300-$500, depending on decoration with a few exceptional leaves priced higher

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PJP Catalog: 70.428