An exquisitely preserved leaf from a Book of Hours, belonging to the reign of King Philip Augustus (late 12th – 13th cent.). It is executed in red and blue tempera, gold, and liquid gold on vellum. It contains Psalm 108, which starts with an intricately illuminated initial “D” (for Deus). The leaf comprises twenty-one lines of text in the finest angular Gothic script, with pen work ornamentation highlighted by gold leaf. Red ink, blue ink, and gold leaf are used as beautiful line fillers. Although the original patron cannot be identified, the high quality and extensive use of the gold leaf in this piece suggests that it belonged to a member of the court. It was probably produced in North-eastern France, perhaps in the region around Noyons, Soissons, and Lyon, or at least strongly influenced by the court productions of this area.
Date: Circa 1179 - 1223 AD Condition: Extremely fine condition.
The Book of Hours is a literary work of Christian devotion, which gained popularity during the Middle Ages. In addition to their stimulating content, comprising psalms, prayers, and devotional texts, these books are among the most interesting examples of medieval calligraphy and decorative practice. This leaf was almost certainly influenced by manuscripts produced in Ile-de-France, especially those of the Abbey of St. Victor. Comparative material suggests this piece dates from the last part of the reign of King Philip Augustus.
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