(France (probably Besançon): 3rd quarter of 15th century). 239 x 165 mm. (9 3/8 x 6 1/2"). Single column, 15 lines in an elegant gothic book hand.

Rubrics in dark pink, line enders in pink and blue with white tracery and gold bezant, four two-line initials in burnished gold on dark pink and blue ground with white tracery, each side with a panel border composed of hairline vines with gold ivy and bezants, a few colorful flowers, and EACH SIDE FEATURING AN UNUSUAL HUMAN HYBRID CREATURE. Margins with a couple of wrinkles, small stains, and tiny holes, lower part of one of the hybrids somewhat smudged, but the remaining marginalia well preserved, and on the whole an excellent specimen.

In addition to the floral decoration and bezants often found in the borders of Books of Hours, this leaf features a duo of delightful inhabitants in the form of two hybrid creatures with human faces. The bodies are indeterminate (shaped rather like a cornucopia), and each wears a red, hooded cloak. The shading and coloring here are quite pleasing, as is the perturbed expression painted onto each face--one of which looks directly out at the viewer. This kind of imaginative work, together with luxurious touches such as the gilt initials, several dozen gilt bezants and ivy leaves in each panel border, and the unusually wide margins point to this manuscript having been a costly production. For additional leaves from this same manuscript at different price points, please check our website.