Parchment leaves from a 15th century Book of Hours (use of Paris), encompassing: "[f]ifteen large miniatures, usually above 3 lines of text in arched compartments, surrounded by full borders of blue and gold acanthus, flowers, green pears, strawberries, and a particularly large number of grotesques, frequently obscene." [Ed. I think the name, 'drolleries', is probably closer to the mark]
"For three hundred years, from c. 1250 to c. 1550, the Book of Hours was the bestseller of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The core of the Book of Hours is the Office of the Virgin Mary, with its set of prayers to be recited at home eight different times, or hours, of the day, just as monks chanted the office during the eight monastic hours. Books of Hours still exist on the market in greater number than any other type of medieval manuscript.
Books of Hours are remarkably varied. Everyday versions were sometimes written on paper with modest ornamentation. Deluxe versions were nearly always copied on fine parchment and richly illuminated with precious gold leaf and lapis lazuli by the best artists of the day. Kings and queens, princes and princesses, doctors, lawyers, merchants, housewives, and even children, who learned to read from them, owned Books of Hours. Wealthy women often received illuminated Books of Hours as dowry presents. Recording in them milestones of family history, they passed them down from generation to generation as heirlooms."
[The Book of Hours website of Les Enluminures]
The elegant illuminated manuscript featured here is thought to have been produced in France in ~1480 for a member of the family of Malet de Graville [W]. Only the first image up top has been cropped back (slightly) from the full page display; the images are otherwise unaltered.
- The leaves above come from HM 1163 (Book of Hours, use of Paris): a manuscript owned by The Huntington Library, California and displayed online through the multi-institutional Digital Scriptorium.
- Guide/description of the manuscript and individual leaves.
- Structure of a Book of Hours (very much worth looking around this site)
- Metafilter post on the Hours produced by Simon Vostre.
- Previously: Bedford Style Book of Hours -<>- Le Livre d'Heures d'Isabeau de Roubaix (and possibly more) & in general: Illuminated posts on BibliOdyssey.
- Elsewhere: Pinboard -<>- Delicious -<>- Twitter.