I had the fortunate pleasure of handling a book of hours that was created in Tours in the second half of the 15th century. Specific information about this book of hours can be found here.
As always clicking on the pictures will provide a larger more detailed look.
Like many books of hours it is not that big.
A small book indeed. Easily fits in your hand.
It is very common for books of hours to have calendars in the beginning of the book. Often you will get first half the calendar on the recto and the second half of the calendar on the verso of that same page. It certainly was the case with this book of hours.
The detail work here is truly inspiring. Interlinear spacing is between 3-5 mm high. The person doing the lining seems to have been doing it without much of a guide because the lines change in spacing on the same page, and from page to page. The letter x height is 2 mm., truly very small work. That illumination on the first half of May? 13 mm wide 7 mm tall and extremely detailed.
Each month had a similar kind of detailed illumination that was the exact same size as this one. Beautiful work with the writing and the illumination.
It was neat to see full page miniatures as well.
We know this is St John the Apostle because of the eagle that is with him. He is writing in a book using a feather quill pen.
The verso of the page reveals something about the base used for this miniature.
As most readers of my blog know, I am a calligrapher and I study these manuscripts as research into codicology. (how books were made and laid out,) as well as the paleography, (how the words and letter are written and change over time and place.)
We are seeing that the text block of the page is actually very small with only twelve (12) lines of script per page and only about 25 character (including spaces,) per line.
This is a beautiful script known as Gothic Littera Bastarda. This beautiful script is a well balanced combination of Gothics strict rigidity with an eye pleasing roundedness. It is instructive to look at a page in its fullness and then at the text block and then in detail about interesting elements and the script.
I’ll be making more posts about the script later. For now, enjoy these pictures of the full page miniature of Mary and Baby Jesus.