Book of Hours (Use of Paris)

Joys of the Virgin (in French)


Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Fifty Original Leaves of Medieval Manuscripts (Set 10), no. 30

Remarks by the Editor

Description composed on 5 December 2017, by Caitlin Sanders, as part of Lisa Fagin Davis' LIS 464 "From Charlemagne to Gutenberg" course, Simmons College, Boston, MA, United States.

General Information

Date of Origin 1420 - 1430
Script, Hands

Gothic script, Northern Textualis

General Remarks

This description is for a single leaf, dismembered from the codex.

Original Condition

Page Height 180 – 185 mm
Page Width 125 – 130 mm
Height of Written Area 90 mm
Width of Written Area 60 mm
Number of Columns 1
Number of Lines 14
Ruling red ruling (probably ink or plummet)

ff. 132

Current Condition

More about the Current Condition

Item taped to matte verso side up; evidence of sewing holes on left recto and right verso; cropped text (possibly catchword) on bottom right verso.

Book Decoration and Musical Notation


Illuminated borders and initials. Contains 6 illuminated initials, of 2 size patterns; 2-line initials indicate new prayer initiation sequence, and are decorated with gold and floral patterns; 1-line illuminated initials contain coloration and gold leaf, but no floral illustrations; border: narrow two-part line (exterior gold, interior blue/red) by text on side of page opposite gutter, with sprouting rinceau surrounding ¾ of text. Rinceau with gold trefoil leaves, red/white flowers, blue/white flowers, and spiny green leaves (according to Ege, possibly daisy, thistle, cornbottle, and stock); includes line-fillers: ½ red, ½ blue, gold circle in center, white line pattern.


  • Content Item
    • Content Description

      This leaf is a fragment from the "15 Joys of the Virgin," an accessory text to Books of Hours common in 15th century France. The section contains fifteen two-part prayers: the first part appeals directly to the Virgin Mary, and recounts a happy moment from her life, and the second part entreats the Virgin for personal salvation. This leaf includes the 10-12th of these prayer sequences, as well as the beginning of the 13th "Joy of the Virgin." Moments from the lives of the Holy Family referenced in this leaf include the miracle of five loaves and two fish; the crucifixion; and the resurrection. The text is written in local language (French). As Drigsdahl has observed, much variation between language and content can occur between existing “15 Joys of the Virgin” passages, as scribes can feel inspired to take liberties when writing vernacular prayers in their own language.



Offerred by Bernard Quaritch cat. 240 (1905), no. 230 and cat. 290 (1910), no. 253;

Sold by Quaritch to C. L. Ricketts in 1922;

C. L. Ricketts, in S. de Ricci, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada I:634, no. 116;

Sold by Parke-Bernet Galleries, 23 February 1939, lot 217;

Dismembered by Otto Ege or an associate;

Leaves used as No. 30 in Ege's "Fifty Original Leaves of Medieval Manuscripts" portfolio;

Acquired by Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art at an unknown date