WITH A SIX-LINE INHABITED INITIAL.

(France: second half of 13th century). 90 x 65 mm. (3 1/2 x 2 1/2"). Single column, 12 lines in a pleasing gothic book hand.

Rubrics in red, with multiple one-line gilt initials on blue or gold ground and line endings with gold squares surrounded by pink and blue bars highlighted with white pigment, and with one two-line initial similarly decorated, WITH A SIX-LINE INHABITED INITIAL painted pink and filled with burnished gold, on contrasting dark blue ground, with spikey ascender terminating in a curl with gold bezant. Vellum a bit toned and soiled, gilt a little rubbed (somewhat more noticeable on the gilt infill of large initials), a little staining along inner margin, extender partially trimmed, but on the whole still very pretty, the paint quite bright, and the charm still there.

This probably comes from a Psalter-Hours, a personal prayer book that eventually gave way to the Book of Hours, the manuscript companion that would become the vehicle of choice for personal devotions during the late Middle Ages. Although measuring only 90 mm. tall, our leaf contains a surprising amount of illumination, including a large inhabited initial that takes up more than a quarter of the written space on the page. The figure here and on its sister leaves, as well as the decoration, bear a significant resemblance to Walters MS W. 40--described as a Book of Hours executed in the third quarter of the 13th or early 14th century by the Bari Atelier--with multiple initials depicting people in prayer, as here. It seems impossible to say for certain that the Bari Atelier was responsible for our leaf as well, but the similarities do help to substantiate an approximate date and locale, and to provide an intriguing possibility for further research.
(ST15198kC)

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PJP Catalog: RCVF20.001

WITH A SIX-LINE INHABITED INITIAL. AN ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF FROM A. MINIATURE PSALTER-HOURS IN LATIN.