O happy maiden of God, relieve us from the weight of our burdens, and release those who are wearied by the cutting faults of the heavens, that the door to your grace may be open to us.
V: Pray for us, Blessed Genevieve.
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ."
VELLUM LEAF FROM A 15TH-CENTURY BOOK OF HOURS FEATURING A MINIATURE OF ST. GENEVIEVE, PATRON SAINT OF PARIS.
This miniature (on the verso), featuring gilt-work throughout the image and the page’s border, shows St. Genevieve consulting a manuscript in one hand and carrying a taper in the other. Arising from her legendary gift of prophecy, Genevieve’s taper, or candle, is often followed by a demon attempting to extinguish the light. Though in this particular image, an angel is seen rekindling the flame. In the background, a tower sits between hills, possibly evoking the historical Abbey of St. Denis which Genevieve would expand in her lifetime.
The miniature and text are surrounded by an ornately decorated border of acanthus leaves, containing red and blue flowers highlighted on four fields of liquid gold. Two illuminated initials open the passages on this leaf, with the versal ‘M’ historiated with a red rose under one arch and a blue thistle under the other, both on fields of gold. The heading for this prayer is listed on the recto of this leaf, with ‘De saincte geneuiefue’ in rubrics indicating a blend of French and Latin.
The leaf comes from a Book of Hours constructed to aid personal devotion, here containing a prayer, in Latin, addressed to St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, whose feast day is February 3rd. The prayer begins at the top of the page, with the illuminated ‘O’ on a field of red with intricate gold filigree, and reads:
O felix ancilla dei nos pondere pressos exonera et fessos mordacibus exue culpis etheris ut pateat te supplice ianua nobis.
Vers[iculus]. Ora p[ro] nobis beata genouefa.
R[esponsorium]. Ut digni effficiamur promissionibus cristi.
[O happy maiden of God, relieve us from the weight of our burdens, and release those who are wearied by the cutting faults of the heavens, that the door to your grace may be open to us.
Versicle: Pray for us, Blessed Genevieve.
Response: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.]
The prayer of suffrage to St. Genevieve follows a prayer addressed to St. Apollonia, the end of which features on the recto. The oratio for Genevieve’s prayer, beginning with the capital ‘M’, continues to the end of the folio.
Size: 180 x 123 mm (approx. 7.1 x 4.8 inches)
Miniature: 38 x 48 mm (approx. 1.5 x 1.9 inches)
France, c. 1485. Natural toning in the margins with some slight smudging in the border. Housed in a custom presentation folder. Generally, very bright leaf with vivid colours depicting a favourite saint in Medieval France.
Price: $3,500 .