TEXT FROM THE THURSDAY HOURS OF THE HOLY SACRAMENT
AN ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF WITH A SMALL MINIATURE OF A COMMUNION SERVICE, FROM AN ENGAGING LITTLE BOOK OF HOURS IN LATIN
Price: 4,000.00 USD
Northern France [probably Paris]: ca. 1460s. 130 x 98 mm. (5 1/8 x 3 7/8"). Single column, 14 lines in a fine gothic book hand. Attractively matted. Rubrics in red, recto with two two-line initials and three one-line initials in blue with white tracery and enclosing scrolling flower stems of pink, red, and blue, all on a ground of burnished gold; verso with a one-line and a two-line initial in the same style, both sides with a pleasing quarter panel border filled with swirling acanthus and fruit in blue, gold, red, and green, that on the verso inhabited by a pretty green bird; the verso also WITH A PLEASING MINIATURE (measuring 35 x 33 mm.) SHOWING A COMMUNION SERVICE in a lavender-walled chapel with four arched windows, the priest in a blue chasuble holding aloft the communion wafer before a carved wooden altar, an acolyte kneeling behind him holding a very large candle, and A NOBLE LADY IN PINK AND BLACK (no doubt the owner of the manuscript) KNEELING TO RECEIVE THE SACRAMENT. A nearly invisible pinhole in the background of the miniature, otherwise IN VERY FINE CONDITION, quite clean, fresh, and bright. This very pleasing leaf comes from a large fragment of a very appealing Book of Hours with especially charming borders containing human and zoological inhabitants. The miniature here pictures the woman who commissioned the manuscript or for whom it was commissioned. She appears in her distinctive pink gown elaborately brocaded in gold and trimmed in black and with her head adorned by a matching black hennin and lappets. The manuscript in question was textually complex, as it included the Hours for Each Day of the Week, the Hours of the Holy Sacrament (from which this leaf comes), and the Hours of the Conception of the Virgin--texts normally absent from the vast majority of Books of Hours but found in more deluxe versions. Although their measurements are not large, these leaves are characterized by careful painting, an excellent scribal hand, and charming features like the lovely panel borders appearing on every page, many of them inhabited by grotesques or delightful creatures like the bird seen here. Our small Communion miniature is surprisingly detailed: we can see the gilded carvings on the altar, the stonework around the windows, the reverent expressions on the faces of the participants, the clearly defined folds of the robes worn by the priest and acolyte, and especially the subtle golden decoration in the lady's robe.