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Leaf from a Book of Hours: Scribal Error Corrected
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Leaf from a Book of Hours: Scribal Error Corrected

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description When a scribe forgot to copy a line of text, they had no choice but to write it in the margin, often indicating where it belonged by placing a little symbol, or drawing a pointing hand, at the correct spot in the text. In this instance, the artist decided to have fun with the mistake, and playfully painted a man with a rope about to pull the line of text up the page and into the right position! This finely illuminated and iconographically rich book of hours was made in England at the end of the thirteenth century. The manuscript is incomplete and misbound. Its main artist can also be found at work in a Bible (Oxford, Bodleian Library Ms. Auct. D.3.2) and a psalter (Cambridge, Trinity College Cambridge Ms. O.4.16). The manuscript contains a number of unusual texts, including the Hours of Jesus Crucified and the Office of St. Catherine. The patron of the manuscript is not clear; a woman is depicted as praying in many of the initials, but rubrics in the Office of the Dead mention "freres" (brothers). The imagery is inventive, and the Hours of Christ Crucified are graced with images depicting the funeral of Reynard the Fox in its margins. In the absence of a calendar, it is not possible to locate the origin of the manuscript precisely.
  • Medieval Writing and Calligraphy. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1993-1994.
  • The Saint John's Bible: A Modern Vision through Medieval Methods. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009.
Provenance Purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore, ca. 1930; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, ca. 1930

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ca. 1300 (Gothic)
ink and paint on medium-weight parchment
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Folio H: 10 1/2 x W: 7 3/8 in. (26.7 x 18.7 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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