Leaf from a lavishly illuminated Book of Hours, with its miniature filled in by a modern artist, in Latin, manuscript on parchment [northern France (Paris), c. 1420, and twentieth century]
Single leaf, with a 3-line initial 'I' (opening 'In principium erat verbum ...') in blue with white decoartion, encased within swirls of coloured ivy-leaf foliage on a brightly burnished gold ground, extending at its corners into a thick text border on three sides of blue flowerhead and mirrored red and blue leaves on gold grounds, these exploding at their heads into realistic foliage with red flowers and an acanthus leaf spray, these emerging from gold and coloured doughnut-like ovals shaded on their upper side, at the foot similar sprays of coloured acanthus and a red and silver trumpet shaped flower (the silver now oxidised), all surrounded with rinceaux foliage terminating in gold leaves and bezants and coloured flowerheads, with two large facing spirals of this in the bas-de-page, 4 lines of text on front, 14 lines on back, the entire miniature of John seated in a writing desk at Patmos a modern embellishment, trimmed on both vertical sides (to the edge of the border on the left-hand side, and with slight damage to the border on the right), this perhaps done during last framing, and twentieth-century '4' in pen on reverse, some scuffing to gold in places, else good condition, 170 by 87mm.
Hartung and Hartung Auction 130, 7 May 2012, lot 30; and thence to European trade. Acquired from them in 2012.
While the miniature is modern, and perhaps painted over a damaged miniature, the borders are of the highest quality and point to the output of the Bedford workshop, which led the book arts of Paris in the first two decades of the fifteenth century.