Ink, tempera, silver, and gold on vellum
Leaf: 16.1 x 12.4 cm (6 5/16 x 4 7/8 in.)
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2011.57
Ranging from lavishly decorated by hand with gold leaf to printed on paper with no images, books of hours were customizable and could be highly personalized to an individual’s tastes, budget, and interests.
This leaf survives from what must have been an extraordinarily rich book of hours. The elaborate Passion cycle and Suffrages point to an important commission. Evidence within the calendar and texts suggests that Metz was probably the place of production. Situated on the Moselle River, Metz was the cultural and commercial capital of Lorraine during the 1400s, as well as the location of an important bishopric. It was thus the center of a growing book trade. The illuminations appear to come from the workshop of Henri d'Orquevaulx, a documented Metz manuscript painter. Compositionally, structurally, and stylistically, the miniatures suggest strong links to Netherlandish illumination. Details such as the tub, ewer, towel, and fireplace in the Nativity are typical of the northern love of crowded and unusual compositions, as well as domestic details. It is not known whether d'Orquevaulx came originally from the Netherlands or whether he simply worked or trained there at some point in his career.
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