The Penitent King David from a Book of Hours

November 27, 2019 in Manuscript Studies

Detached Manuscript Leaf with Framed Illustration and Text
King David with Crown and Lyre
at the Opening of Psalm 6 or 37 (38) in Latin from a Book of Hours

At least circa 125 × 160 mm (as framed and matted)

Rouen, circa 1480–90

J. S. Wagner Collection

Continuing our exploration of manuscript fragments, we welcome a new addition to the quest. See the Contents List for this blog for the series of revelations.

From the collection of J. S. Wagner, we offer images from a detached leaf on Vellum in Latin apparently from a Book of Hours.  At present, the leaf is contained within a frame, so only one side is visible.  It might be the recto or verso of the leaf.

It presents the illustrated opening of one of the Penitential Psalms in Latin in the Vulgate Version from a luxurious Book of Hours.  The ambition of its production is manifested by the script, illustration, and decoration, as well as the use of gold and other pigments.  The opening of text upon the page corresponds to Verse 1 of both Psalm 6 and Psalm 37 (38).  At present, given the state of the leaf, we don’t know which.  See below for those options.

Now contained within a frame behind glass, this page might represent the recto or the verso of the leaf.  For example, if the other side (verso) continues the text, it would establish which Psalm is represented.  If the other side(recto) is the formerly previous text, then it might designate some Psalm or otherwise in the liturgical sequence.  Needless to say, problems aplenty can arise when a leaf is excised and dispersed without accompanying information.

Call it detective work, and you would be right on track.  The good thing is that sharing of images and information might yield increased knowledge.

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