Lot 12
  • 12

A Ihesus and Maria Design, miniature on a leaf probably from a Book of Hours or a Prayer book [northern Netherlands (Arnhem), c.1460-70]

2,000 - 3,000 GBP
bidding is closed


single leaf, 132x89mm, vellum, with a miniature as devotional object, recto blank, inscribed in modern pencil ‘Min. 10.20’ and ‘A81’, vellum slightly stained, gold leaf rubbed

Catalogue Note

Ihesus and Maria inscriptions appear in northern Netherlandish manuscripts of the 15th century (see K. Rudy, ‘Words as devotional objects’, Simulacrum, 2, XV, 2007, pp.29-33, esp.p.32-3, fig.4). The present example is remarkable because of the use of the ‘negative space’ for the letters. Rudy described the letters as if they have been cut out of thin strips of vellum and folded into a complicated origami that embellishes and obscures the text. The image may indeed bear a relationship with the rosary; not only because a rose set against a patterned ground forms the centre of the design, but also because of the golden beads that dangle from the end of some letters. The bold decoration with large amounts of burnished gold leaf bouncing off areas painted in rich red and blue is typical of a style developed in Arnhem in the second half of the 15th century. Rudy compares this leaf to some designs in the Hours of Margriet van Uutenham, one of the finest examples of the Arnhem style to have survived and today in an American private collection. These Ihesus and Maria designs are not related to any particular text and Rudy suggested that these designs were created as devotional objects, often presented as gifts and inserted into manuscripts for safe keeping.