An original leaf from a medieval manuscript Breviary. 31 lines written in Latin in double columns with dark brown and red ink separated by a bar of burnished gold, deep blue and red. (183 x 135mm – 7 3/8 x 5 ¼’’)
Two two-line illuminated initials alternating in red and white or blue and white, with a floral interior - all on a burnished gold ground; dense rinceaux border surrounding text in red, blue, green, yellow and burnished gold; numerous one-line illuminated initials alternating in dark blue with delicate red penwork and burnished gold with delicate violet penwork.
France, c. 1475.
One eight-line illuminated “S” containing a miniature painting on a red ground with gold penwork, and opening the Sailor’s Psalm. It depicts a man floating on his back surrounded by a large body of water with his left arm raised pleading to God for help. Mountains and land are visible in the background; above him is a dark sky with golden heavenly rays emanating downward.
The Psalm is appropriately Psalm 68 (King James 69): 1-23: “Salvum me…” (Save me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul. I stick fast in the mire of the deep: and there is no sure standing. I am come into the depth of the sea: and a tempest hath overwhelmed me. I have labored with crying; my jaws are become hoarse: my eyes have failed, whilst I hope in my God. They are multiplied above the hairs of my head who hate me without cause. My enemies are grown strong who have wrongfully persecuted me: then did I pay that which I took not away. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my offences are not hidden from thee: Let not them be ashamed for me, who look for thee, O Lord, the Lord of hosts…).