Northern France or Flanders: ca. 1430. 7.5” x 5.75”. Text from the opening of Terce. Beautifully embellished and illuminated manuscript on vellum, with a miniature painting of the Annunciation to the Shepherds. Right border just slightly trimmed, border with a hint of soiling, otherwise in fine condition, the miniature remarkably bright and clean. Single column, four lines of text in gothic “formata” script in brown ink below the miniature (16 lines of text on the verso). Text from the opening of Terce. Verso with one and two-line initials in burnished gilt decorated with blue, pink, and white, line endings in the same colors and gold, and with a panel border of gilt ivy leaves, flowers and fruit; recto with a richly decorated four-line “D” in gold, red-orange, lime green, blue, and pink as part of a very fine baguette with heart-shaped flowers in many colors and burnished gold, unusual flowering plants sprouting from the four corners of the baguette, the whole framed by a full border of gilt ivy leaves on hairline stems as well as other leaves, flowers, an strawberries; in the center, a stepped lunette frame enclosing a striking miniature painting of the annunciation to the shepherds, an angel in a deep blue sky with a scroll inscribed “in excelsis deo” above bread loaf hills with towns on distant peaks, below, two shepherds with long staves amidst their scattered flock, a third figure, without a staff and perhaps tonsured, appearing in a long blue gown at left.
This beautiful leaf was formerly in the collection of Boston University and appears as item #87 in its catalogue “Manuscripts Sacred and Secular,” printed in 1985. As the catalogue indicates, the style of the leaf here is derived from the Master of Gilbert of Metz, who was known to be active in southern Flanders from 1420 to 1440. Item #107056