Early Psalter-Hours with Rare Secular Imagery
Type: Leaves & Fragments
Psalter-Hours with secular imagery. Two folios on vellum. Flanders, ca. 1300: 88 mm x 63 mm (justification, 57 mm x 43 mm). Single column, 12 lines. Foliated in pencil in upper right: 36, 41. Decoration: six-line historiated initials depicting secular figures in prayer painted in muted colors on gold grounds, with marginal extensions; single-line dentelle initials, and line-fillers of similar execution to the extensions. These leaves come from an uncommonly early Book of Hours, which would have circulated with the Psalms. Secular figures illustrating the Hours are exceptionally rare, and ours resemble those in Walters Art Museum MS W.40, an early Book of Hours from Paris. It seems that depictions of individuals at prayer were among the first to appear in Books of Hours before the common illustrations of Christ’s Infancy and Passion gained prominence and displaced them. Text: None and Terce in the Hours of the Virgin. Condition: fair; the gold leaf is rubbed, showing black from ink offsets, with either scratches or tears.