"O GOD, COME TO MY ASSISTANCE!": EXCEPTIONAL LARGE ILLUMINATED LEAF FROM AN EARLY 15TH-CENTURY FRENCH BOOK OF HOURS, FEATURING A RARE HAND-COLORED IMAGE OF CHRIST CARRYING THE CROSS
(ILLUMINATED LEAF). Illuminated Leaf from a Book of Hours. Likely Paris, France, circa 1420. Single vellum leaf (5-3/4 by 8 inches), illuminated in gold, black, white, gray, red, pink, green, and blue inks; window matted and framed, entire piece measures 11-1/2 by 14 inches. $10,500.
Lovely illuminated miniature from a French Book of Hours, featuring an unusual hand-colored image of Christ carrying the cross, with five lines of Latin text from the Hours of the Cross in Gothic script, a two-line initial, a one-line initial, and two line extenders, beautifully bordered on all sides with flowers, berries, gilt sprigs, and acanthus leaves.
This beautiful illuminated miniature is from a Book of Hours from the early 15th century, likely Paris, France. The Latin Gothic text is from the Hours of the Cross. The subject is unusual—Christ carrying the Cross. While the Crucifixion is the standard subject, more elaborate Books of Hours sometimes featured an illustration such as this one at each hour to depict the full Passion cycle. Here, a haloed Christ, bleeding from the crown of thorns, is shown barefoot, holding the cross against his right shoulder. He leads a procession of three women, his mother in her iconic blue robes at the front. Also included are three men, one of which appears to be playing a musical instrument. While the foreground is simple and grass-covered, the background reveals a European-style medieval castle. There are five lines of accompanying text from the Hours of the Cross, including an elaborate floriated initial "D" on a gilt ground, a gilt one-line initial on a blue and pink filigree ground, and two filigree line extenders. The image is surrounded by two burnished gilt borders, as well as very full border featuring berries, leaves, flowers, acanthus leaves, and gilt sprigs. The unbordered verso features 16 lines of text in black, red, and gilt, as well as one two-line initial and four one-line initials, all in gilt on blue and pink filigree grounds. Tiny stitches in upper margin.
Only slightest rubbing to leaf and very minor soiling to margins. An uncommon subject in near-fine condition.