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Assumption: folio 103v
Title : Assumption: folio 103v Assumption: folio 103v
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Creator : Catholic Church.
Source : Italian Book of hours, c1375 [manuscript]
Date of creation : c 1375
Format : Manuscript
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

In the Adelaide Hours there are 19 thumb-nail sized historiated initials [initial capitals that contain an illustration that is relevant to the particular passage] and which are six lines high and introduce the main sections of the book. These are very elaborate with foliate and knotted motifs, highlighted in white. The predominant colours are blue, yellow, orange, green and pink with a lavish use of burnished gold. These initials contain a story, usually a moment in the life of Christ or of his mother the Virgin Mary. The letters are painted blue and pink, forming the frame for the image; there is often a further line in gold inside the main frame. It is this internal line of gold that is often used to bring the 'action' of the image closer to the reader, by positioning the picture over or beyond the internal frame.

Folio 103v Letter C Assumption: compline. The Virgin Mary is seated face forward gazing directly at the reader. She sits within a blue mandorla (an almond shaped nimbus of light), filled with golden stars and supported by angels. Perhaps more than any other historiated initial in the Adelaide Hours this one of the Virgin's ascension to Heaven is most like a Byzantine icon. It was unusual in the late 14th century for the Assumption to be observed in Books of Hours, more generally appearing in large choir books. The use of such an iconic image in a small personal prayer book is startling, especially given the directness of Mary's gaze.

An elaborate letter P also adorns this page.

The border is typical of others throughout the volume with lavish acanthus foliage; on this page a cherub blows a large horn in the left hand margin. The Gothic border was a development of the late 12th and early 13th centuries, and occupying the margins of the pages, allowed a greater interaction between the text and the illustration. In the Adelaide Hours the use of burnished gold is not restricted to the historiated initial but is used throughout the border decoration.

Subjects
Further reading :

Stocks, Bronwyn 'The Illustrated Office of the Passion in Italian Books of Hours' in The art of the book: its place in medieval worship edited by Margaret M. Manion and Bernard J. Muir Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998

The medieval imagination: illuminated manuscripts from Cambridge, Australia and New Zealand edited by Bronwyn Stocks and Nigel Morgan South Yarra, Vic.: Macmillan Art Pub., 2008 pp. 184-85

Manion, Margaret Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts in Australian collections by Margaret M. Manion and Vera F. Vines; with a foreword by K.V. Sinclair Melbourne: Thames and Hudson, 1984 pp. 70-71

The Cambridge illuminations: ten centuries of book production in the medieval West edited by Paul Binski & Stella Panayotova London: Harvey Miller, 2005

De Hamel, Christopher A history of illuminated manuscripts Oxford: Phaidon, 1986

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