Leaf from a Book of Hours thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10

Leaf from a Book of Hours

Manuscript Cutting
ca. 1440-1450 (illuminated)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This miniature once marked the beginning of the Suffrage to St Giles in a Parisian book of hours. Suffrages were prayers to saints and an important component of these prayer books. St Giles was born in Athens in the mid-7th century; later he lived as a hermit in a forest between Arles and Nîmes in the south of France. The Golden Legend, a famous work containing the lives of the saints, recounts how he survived on milk from a tame doe. One day the king, while out hunting, wounded both the deer and St Giles. This is the scene depicted here in the lower border. In penance for this action, he built a monastery of which Giles became the abbot. This is the famous monastery of St Gilles-du-Gard, near Arles, which was to become an important place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.
The main miniature shows another scene recounted in a 10th-century life of St Giles. According to this source, an angel came down from heaven while the saint was celebrating a mass for the pardon of Emperor Charlemagne’s sins, and delivered a document revealing a sin Charlemagne had never dared confess. Here, Charlemagne is depicted kneeling in prayer behind the saint who is standing at the altar, with his hands joined. An angel is coming down holding a scroll with an inscription outlining that Giles is seeking pardon for Charlemagne.
Three more leaves from this manuscript are in the Museum’s collection, all coming from the book’s Suffrages section.
The scenes in this manuscript are attributed to the Dunois Master, once known as 'The principal associate of the Bedford Master'. The Bedford Master took his name from two outstanding manuscripts made for John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford and brother of Henry V, victor at Agincourt in 1415. The Bedford Master's style was widely practised in Paris. The Dunois Master appears to have adopted most closely the painting style and models of the Bedford Master.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Water-based pigments, gilding and ink on parchment
Brief Description
Leaf from a Book of Hours with half-page miniature showing a scene from the life of St Giles by the Dunois Master; France (Paris); ca 1440-1450
Physical Description
Recto: Rubric: De sancto egidio An[tiphona]'.

Verso: Suffrage to St Giles, introduced by a half-page miniature in demi-grisaille showing St Giles standing at an altar in a church, his hand raised to his cheek. Charlemagne wearing an imperial crown kneels in prayer behind him, an attendant stands by. Chalice on the altar and altarpiece. A horizontal scroll above the saint's head probably bore an inscription with his name. An angel comes down from heaven, holding a scroll with the inscription 'Egidii merito Karoli peccata dimicto'.

In the border: St Giles in a Franciscan habit stands, holding a red book. An archer has shot an arrow into his breast. A hind prances by his side. Marginal decoration of acanthus, fruit and flowers

2-line decorated initial S.

Text: Suscipientes beati Egidii solemnia celebrantes tibi summe pater grates atque...

12 lines.
Dimensions
  • Height: 125mm
  • Width: 90mm
  • Written area height: 65mm
  • Width: 45mm
Gallery Label
LEAVES FROM A BOOK OF HOURS Illuminated by the Dunois Master About 1440-1500 These leaves were once part of a bound Book of Hours, in a section devoted to prayers to a number of saints. On the left-hand leaf is a prayer to St Giles and on the right to St Julian. Both are accompanied with scenes from their lives. France, Paris Ink on parchment, with pigment and gold Museum nos. E.4582, 4583-1910 (24/03/2018)
Object history
Collection of Frédéric Spitzer (1815-1890): his sale, 17 April 1893. Collection of George Salting (1835-1909): acquired with the George Salting Bequest in 1910.

Other leaves from the same manuscript in the V&A collection: E.4580-1910, E.4581-1910, E.4582-1910, E.4583-1910.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This miniature once marked the beginning of the Suffrage to St Giles in a Parisian book of hours. Suffrages were prayers to saints and an important component of these prayer books. St Giles was born in Athens in the mid-7th century; later he lived as a hermit in a forest between Arles and Nîmes in the south of France. The Golden Legend, a famous work containing the lives of the saints, recounts how he survived on milk from a tame doe. One day the king, while out hunting, wounded both the deer and St Giles. This is the scene depicted here in the lower border. In penance for this action, he built a monastery of which Giles became the abbot. This is the famous monastery of St Gilles-du-Gard, near Arles, which was to become an important place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.

The main miniature shows another scene recounted in a 10th-century life of St Giles. According to this source, an angel came down from heaven while the saint was celebrating a mass for the pardon of Emperor Charlemagne’s sins, and delivered a document revealing a sin Charlemagne had never dared confess. Here, Charlemagne is depicted kneeling in prayer behind the saint who is standing at the altar, with his hands joined. An angel is coming down holding a scroll with an inscription outlining that Giles is seeking pardon for Charlemagne.

Three more leaves from this manuscript are in the Museum’s collection, all coming from the book’s Suffrages section.

The scenes in this manuscript are attributed to the Dunois Master, once known as 'The principal associate of the Bedford Master'. The Bedford Master took his name from two outstanding manuscripts made for John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford and brother of Henry V, victor at Agincourt in 1415. The Bedford Master's style was widely practised in Paris. The Dunois Master appears to have adopted most closely the painting style and models of the Bedford Master.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Catalogue of Miniatures, Leaves, and Cuttings from Illuminated Manuscripts. Victoria and Albert Museum. Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, by S.C. Cockerell and C. Harcourt Smith (London: HMSO, 1923, 2nd edition).p. 66.
  • Burlington Fine Arts Club: Exhibition of Illuminated Manuscripts, London: printed for the Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1908.no. 220.
  • Hindman, S., Medieval and Renaissance miniature painting (Bruce Ferrini & Sam Fogg, 1988), pp. 123, 125-7.
  • Marrow, J., The Hours of Simon de Varie, Malibu, 1994, pp. 17, 98 n. 21'
Collection
Accession Number
E.4582-1910

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdDecember 10, 2003
Record URL