Flanders, ca. 1475 (165 x 120 mm). Latin. Single leaf. 19 lines of Gothic script (littera textura formata) with well formed hairline descenders of the 2-shaped r; hook-shaped tittle; quadrata feet on minims. One 6-line illuminated initial; three 2-line illuminated initial; eleven illuminated initials alternating in blue and gold. Full border with 3/4 in dense acanthus leaves; gutter-edge border ivy leaves and pen flourishes. Simple pen flourish decoration as border on verso. Bleedthrough of border on verso. Ruled in pink. 31 written in modern pencil on recto. Hair & flesh side obvious.
Text for the Office of Prime (first hour of light) with sections rubricated for ease of navigation.
This leaf from a late 15th century Book of Hours would have guided its owner in their prayers for the early morning at 6 am— not as early as the 3 am Matins prayer or the 5 am Lauds prayer, and not the comfortable 9 am of Terce. Still by candle light in the winter months, the reader would have been invigorated by the red and blue acanthus leaves forming the intricate full border as they read over their prayers, written in a legible Gothic script with very few abbreviations (unlike the tangle of pen strokes forming the scholar’s theological or legal texts). This book represents comfort— spiritual and visual— and demonstrates the height of the conspicuous consumption of Books of Hours.