TEXT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE OFFICE OF THE DEAD.

(France or Low Countries: ca. 1460). 120 x 85 mm. (4 3/4 x 3 3/8"). Single column, 17 lines in a fine bâtarde hand.

Matted. Rubrics in red, 10 one-line initials in gold with purple penwork, or blue with red penwork, one four-line initial in blue on pink ground framed with gilt and infilled with pink and blue ivy on gold ground, recto WITH A FULL BORDER consisting of brushed gold and blue acanthus, strawberries, and blue flowers with green leaves, the ground stippled with black dots, the text framed by a gold bar at the bottom and right sides, filled with pink and blue vines, WITH A FEATHERLESS BIRD EMERGING FROM A SNAIL SHELL AND A BUSHY-TAILED BEAST WITH THE HEAD OF A WOMAN INHABITING THE BORDERS, each painted with pale gray and flesh tones. Fore-edge trimmed quite close (just slightly grazing border near the bottom), a couple of small smudges and hint of thumb-soiling, otherwise in fine condition, the paint fresh and the gold sparkling.

In opposition to its somber text containing the prayers to be said for the dead, this leaf has convivial border decoration that includes two fantastic beasts: one with the head and neck of a woman on the body of a portly beast with two legs and a bushy tail, and another that looks like a plucked chicken emerging from the shell of a snail. Both creatures crane their necks to look toward the fore edge, as though waiting for the reader to turn the page. The predominantly gold and blue color palette is quite pleasing, and is nicely offset by the bright red strawberries, incipit text, and initial penwork decoration.
(ST17769o)