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


(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, with several line fillers and one-line initials in blue with white tracery, the initials on a burnished gold ground and infilled with ivy leaves in blue, orange, and white, WITH A PANEL BORDER ON EACH SIDE, ONE INHABITED BY A FANCIFUL CREATURE, the remarkably charming resident 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 IN EXTRAORDINARILY FINE CONDITION, the gold sparkling, the paint uneroded, and the vellum almost entirely clean and fresh.

This leaf comes 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; while most of these leaves feature small animals or hybrid beasts, this special leaf includes a particularly delightful merman that can only be described as half fish, half hermit. Leaves from this group are certainly among the most attractive and delightful small Book of Hours leaves we have ever offered for sale. Please check our website for additional offerings from ths manuscript at various price points.

Keywords: Marginalia