Leaf from a Book of Hours. Use of Coutances. Normandy,



Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

Single leaf (c.162 x 112mm). Illuminated manuscript on parchment. Two, two-line initials in blue and red on gold grounds, enclosing coloured foliage, several one-line initials on blue and red grounds in gold, rubricated in red with line fillers and bar down left-hand-side of text column in matching colours, ending in sprays of acanthus leaves, foliage and fruit, bar on recto ending at head with a large green- and red-frilled dragon with a long-billed bird's head and a woody thorn with wings and feet, these with floral shoots emerging from them terminating in coloured and gold leaves, bar on verso ending with blue face with a pointed beard enclosed in acanthus leaves. 

An attractive leaf from an early Book of Hours in Latin, with Psalm 121 ('Letatus sum in hijs que dicta...') beginning at the two-line initial on the recto, followed by Psalm 123 ('Ad te levavi oculos meos...').  In the upper border of the recto, we find a dragon with bird-like features, typical of the grotesques that inhabit such manuscripts; 'illuminated manuscripts collectively preserve more medieval art than any other type of object...these humorous and hideous creatures were a tantalizing suggestion of unknown worlds and unthinkable dangers, at once entertaining and electrifying, funny and frightening' (Bovey, Monsters and Grotesques in Medieval Manuscripts (Toronto, 2002, p.5)). At the foot of the sidebar on the verso is a blue, bearded face, looking to the right, as if guiding the observant reader on to the next leaf. 

Minor adhesive staining at foot of recto, very slight wear to gold and colours but very good condition.

Provenance: From the collection of Roger Martin (1939-2020) (sale, Bloomsbury Auctions, The Roger Martin Collection of Manuscripts and Miniatures, 6 July, 2021). 

Stock Code: 243918

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