TEXT FROM SEXT IN THE HOURS OF THE VIRGIN.

(Rouen: late 15th century). 190 x 125 mm. (7 1/2 x 5"). Double column, 26 lines in an attractive bâtarde hand.

Matted. Rubrics in red, many one-line initials in gold on red or blue ground, several line enders painted blue or red and highlighted with gold, or in the shape of a branch, four two-line initials and one four-line initial painted gray and white on gold ground and inhabited with flowers, blue bar between the columns, A FULL BORDER ON EACH SIDE, the recto entirely painted gold with blue and red or gray and white acanthus, multi-colored fruit and flowers, and A SMALL BIRD AND A WINGED BEAST; the verso border with branches of different colors on three sides and down the middle of the columns, outer border painted gold and filled with blue, purple, and white pansies, each flower separated by a diagonally positioned branch, painted white. Recto with a bit of light smudging to gold and paint along upper edge and outer corners of border and into the margins, minor chips to paint and other small imperfections, but still a very nice leaf with the majority of the decoration intact, and the bird and beast in excellent condition.

Filled with gold, color, many initials, and some unusual details, this is a lovely, animated leaf from what must have been a highly decorative manuscript. Notably, the text has been split into two columns (it is much more common for Books of Hours to have a single column); there is a profusion of distinctive, notched branches in the decorative program; and there are two inhabitants in the margins--a bird, and a delightful beast with wings. The two borders on this leaf have entirely different designs; one can only imagine the amount of time and creativity needed to decorate an entire manuscript of this caliber.
(ST16379-079)