Leaf Excised from a Book of Hours: Decorated Initial H

Leaf Excised from a Book of Hours: Decorated Initial H

c. 1470-1480

related to Masters of the Zwolle Bible


Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum

Each leaf: 17.5 x 12.3 cm (6 7/8 x 4 13/16 in.)

The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 1999.134



The difficulty in localizing Dutch manuscripts of the second half of the 15th century is formidable. Many shared or exchanged characteristics are found, particularly in terms of page layout, border decoration, and initial design. The present leaf contains borders embellished with brightly colored flowers (columbines) and acanthus leaves filled in with gold bezants, tiny green leaves, and little black dots. Though different in palette, these elements bear closest resemblance to borders and initials produced by a group of artists associated with the Zwolle Bible (Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek, MS. 31). The original illuminators are believed to have worked within the Monastery of the Canons Regular at Agnietenberg. This leaf is painted in an associated style by an artist who must have been familiar with the Zwolle group.

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