Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination fron Philadelphia Collections
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  Page from a Breviary  
Breviary for Rome Use
France, Paris, c. 1310

Historiated Initial S with Three Marys and an Angel at the Tomb of Christ. This small (2 3/4" x 2"), thick volume is a breviary, a book that contains all the texts necessary for saying the Divine Office (the daily round of prayers recited by priests, monks, and nuns). Despite its size, the illumination is of high quality. Ivy leaves surround the text and the initial letter opening the office for Easter Sunday is filled with minute figures set against a colorful background.

The Free Library of Philadelphia, Rare Book Department, Lewis E 236, fol. 380v

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Leaves of Gold is a collaborative exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries. All materials on this site are copyright 2001 the Philadelphia Museum of Art except as indicated herein.